Bible Archaeology

An App for Archaeological Sites in Israel

Using advanced augmented reality technology, Architip lets users visualize ancient sites in their original form.

This is fantastic! Times of Israel reports:

Visitors to Israel’s many archaeological sites are often told to come equipped with a camera, and an imagination. The camera is to take photos of themselves and their companions at these famous sites — and the imagination is supposed to help them visualize what many of the faded, ancient, and time-worn places looked like during their heyday.

There are loads of aids to help prompt those imaginations, from guidebooks to audio recordings to professional guides. But Architip, a new app created by a team of image and archaeology professionals, takes a decidedly high-tech approach to the issue. Using augmented reality (AR) technology, the app lets users see what sites actually looked like long ago, bringing to virtual life a view of the ancient world.

Augmented reality is a technology that uses mathematics, models, location services, camera technology, and advanced algorithms to impose a virtual image that melds into a real-life one. “For example, you might look at an ancient mosaic on the floor of a synagogue or church, and barely see the decorations on it because of the fading,” said Yaron Benevisti, CEO of Architip, which is located in Jerusalem and has been operating for about six months. “With Architip, you would see the mosaic in full color, with all its drawings intact.”

Because each site needs to be mapped and augmented separately, Architip is being marketed as a “white label” engine, which will be used at specific sites. As a pilot, the Architip R&D team, led by Israeli AR and computer vision pioneer Sagiv Philipp, has mapped and “virtualized” the Tel Lachish archaeological site in central Israel. Tel Lachish was a fortified city surrounded by towers, and had many stately buildings, but looking at the site today, it’s hard to visualize the city as it was. With Architip, users can see the site in all its ancient glory just by holding up their smartphone’s camera at the location and looking at the screen.

“With Architip, you can see Tel Lachish as it was,” Benevisti said, “walking through its streets and seeing the reconstruction through your device.” All a user has to do is point their device at a specific point, and Archtip’s technology does the rest.

AR technology, of course, has a million and one uses, and the engine developed by the team does as well. But Benevisti has a soft spot for archaeology — one of the reasons he convinced the team to gear their first commercial application to it. “Archaeology is my passion,” said Benevisti. “We wanted to help bridge the ‘imagination gap,’ between what you see and what’s behind the plain view. People want to experience more, and our technology is perfect for that.”

Archaeology — applied to sites that attract tourists — is also the basis of Architip’s business model. “Sites will want to use our technology to enhance the visitor experience. They can offer the download for a few dollars, or make it a part of the admission package, and give every visitor the experience of having a personal guide.” Adding voice to the app would also be possible, he said, so the Architip app could be used as a substitute for real-life tour guides.

Philipp has been working in the AR area for a decade, and on Architip’s technology, but the company started marketing the app only late last year. The company, so far self-funded, recently got its first customer, a tourist site in Jerusalem —  Benevisti declined to identify the site – and the app will be available in the summer…

HT

 

Bible Archaeology

Byzantine-era Church Unearthed in Gerasa (Jerash) Jordan

Gerasa was one of the cities of the Roman Decapolis. Ammon News reports:

 

Looting of archaeological sites in Jordan is a widespread problem, yet this time it has brought to light the mosaic floor of a previously undiscovered Byzantine-era church near the Roman city of Jerash.

“Underneath about a metre of soil, the mosaic floor of Kanisat Qirmerl was almost perfectly preserved,” Jacques Seigne, director of the French Archaeological Mission at Jerash, told The Jordan Times.

The floor, around five by seven metres in size, is in full colour and depicts an unusual scene of men climbing up trees to hide from bears and lions.

According to the inscription, which mentions the patron and mosaicist of the floor, the mosaics date back to AD 589-590.

The remains were found outside the ancient city of Jerash, located around 40km north of Amman, on private property, Seigne said.

Jerash, known as Gerasa during the Greco-Roman period, reached its greatest size in the 6th century AD as part of the Byzantine Empire.

The Department of Antiquities (DoA), under the leadership of its Jerash director, Rafe Harahshah, has just concluded a 45-day rescue operation to uncover and secure the site with the help of Seigne and his team.

“Looters were digging in the night and discovered the mosaics by chance,” Harahshah and his colleague Ali Al Owaisi told The Jordan Times…

Rest here.

 

Church

Good Sermon, Father

Dear Father X,

Every Sunday, as we walk out the door, we shake your hand and say, “Good sermon, Father.” We’re not lying. We’re usually fairly satisfied with what you have to say, but no one is perfect. Even Kobe Bryant misses the occasional easy layup.

You studied preaching in seminary, and presumably your professors gave you tips. We wonder, though, if you know what the average person in the pew is looking for in a homily. Maybe you’d appreciate some feedback. If so, here are some thoughts for your consideration.

First off, your sermon is very important to us. We know that we should read the Bible on our own and maybe participate in a prayer or study group. That’s not possible right now, though, so your homily is basically all the religious instruction we get. Please make it your priority. We understand that you have many demands on your time, but we’re not asking for a 30-minute Billy Graham production. The Vatican says a homily should be about eight minutes long, and that sounds good to us.

One reason we don’t read the Bible on our own is that some passages are confusing. Why did Jesus curse the fig tree for not producing fruit when it wasn’t the season for fruit? Why did Paul send the runaway slave back to his owner? Isn’t slavery wrong?

So, if the Sunday lessons include a difficult passage, please help us understand it. We don’t need a long history lesson, but we appreciate a little background. John 10 makes so much more sense now that you’ve explained how shepherds made a circle of stones, led the sheep inside and lay across the opening to protect them through the night. That is just like Jesus laying down his life for us. Thanks.

Many books on how to give a speech suggest opening with a joke. That’s not necessary, especially if you don’t normally crack jokes. On the other hand, people always like stories. That’s probably why Jesus told so many. If you’ve got a good story that illustrates your point, we’d love to hear it.

Some priests claim that Protestant ministers have the edge in storytelling because they’re usually married with children. True, but you grew up in a home with parents and siblings. You went to school. You have friends and favorite sports teams. Surely you’ve seen how God acts in everyday circumstances. Tell us about that.

The story doesn’t have to be about you. It can be something you saw on TV or overheard while shopping. For example, Pope Francis recently preached on Luke 24 (the road to Emmaus). He said some people spend so much time complaining about life’s disappointments that they don’t notice Jesus is walking beside them. That’s a clear, simple illustration of how a Scripture passage applies to our everyday life.

We like knowing something about your personal faith, but spare us your pet peeves. Don’t make every homily about the evils of abortion or how we should all tithe. Don’t scold us. Don’t grumble about the people who don’t come to church. We’re here, aren’t we?

Theology is important, but, honestly, we spend very little time pondering the Trinity or the mystery of transubstantiation. Mostly, we worry about our kids, our parents and our jobs. We struggle to forgive those who have hurt us. We wonder why the world is such a mess. We feel guilty that we don’t do more for others. Show us how Christ can help us with these issues right now, and we’ll bless your name. Who knows? We might even tithe.

Respectfully,
Your Parishioners

Source

HT