Tag Archives: Archaeology

Egypt Asks for Rosetta Stone Back

Story here. After winning a battle with the Louvre over frescoes taken from the Valley of the Kings, and setting a precedent, in his opinion, Zawi Hawass has asked the British Museum to loan the Rosetta Stone to Egypt until after the opening of Egypt’s Grand Museum in 2013. Said Hawass, “Its original place should be in Egypt. We can give the British Museum an artefact in its place.” A spokesperson for the British Museum said they would consider the proposition.


Discovered: Nero’s Revolving Restaurant

An AP article (through Yahoo here) mentions that a part of Nero’s banquet hall in Rome was unveiled today by archaeologists that was built partially on a mechanism that revolves in order to imitate the earth’s rotation. Interesting.


Discovered: Roman Statues in Capri’s Blue Grotto

According to this Discovery Channel article, several first century CE Roman statues were discovered underwater on the Italian osland of Capri. The Blue Grotto was Tiberius’ old swimming hole. The statues depict different Roman deities, like Triton in the photo above.


Joseph-Era Egyptian “Coins”

Jim West and Jim Davila (and Tyler Williams) have comments up about a recent article from the Middle East Media Research Institute claiming Joseph-Era Egyptian coins have been discovered bearing his likeness and name. To the left you can see a photo from the article that appears to show the discovered “coins.”

As an undergrad I worked for two years gathering images and doing charts and some illustrations for an illustrated introduction to the Old Testament, so I feel like I’ve seen just about every photo ever taken of artifacts from the ancient Near East. I recognize a few of the scarabs in the photo on the left (yeah, they’re scarabs, not coins). I can’t find pictures of all of them, but I did find pictures of the two bigger ones on the bottom left and right:

The article says the Qu’ran claims there were coins in Egypt during the time of Joseph, which leads me to believe the article is meant to act as apologetic aimed at substantiating that claim. If the photo is really of the claimed coinage then it’s clearly a hoax.

UPDATE: Michael Heiser weighs in as well with some more detailed concerns.


Second Temple-Era Miqveh Discovered in Jerusalem-

The IAA announced today that a miqveh, or ritual bath, dating to the Second Temple Period was recently discovered near Jerusalem’s Western Wall.

In a statement released Wednesday, the authority said the ritual bath was found inside a building containing three halls dating back to the Second Temple period, not far from the Western Wall.

The edifice is built of delicately dressed ashlar stones and the architecture is similar to compounds King Herod built on the Temple Mount, and Hebron’s Cave of Patriarchs, the authority said.

Cool stuff.

(Photo snaked from Jim West)


Archaeologists Find Trojan War-Era Couple

Via Reuters. Archaeologists, led by University of Tubingen professor Ernst Pernicka, have found a burial dated by nearby pottery fragments to around 1200 BCE. Radiocarbon dating is expected to confirm that dating. Pernicka believes the location of the burial (near a mote) supports a larger perimeter for the city of Troy than previously theorized. Interesting stuff.


Second Temple Synagogue Discovered

Center Stone with EngravingsVia Jim West. The IAA is reporting here that a synagogue was discovered during excavations at Migdal beach that dates to the Second Temple Period:

A synagogue from the Second Temple period (50 BCE-100 CE) was exposed in archaeological excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting at a site slated for the construction of a hotel on Migdal beach, in an area owned by the Ark New Gate Company. In the middle of the synagogue is a stone that is engraved with a seven-branched menorah (candelabrum), the likes of which have never been seen. The excavations were directed by archaeologists Dina Avshalom-Gorni and Arfan Najar of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

One of the most interesting parts of this story:

This is the first time that a menorah decoration has been discovered from the days when the SecondTemple was still standing. This is the first menorah to be discovered in a Jewish context and that dates to the Second Temple period/beginning of the Early Roman period.

I’m curious if this stone served some kind of liturgical purpose.


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