Biblical Archaeology

Was One of Jerusalem’s Greatest Archaeological Mysteries Solved?

Leen Ritmeyer reports:

Today the Israel Antiquities Authority announced:

A fascinating discovery recently uncovered in archaeological excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting in the Givati parking lot at the City of David, in the Jerusalem Walls National Park, has apparently led to solving one of Jerusalem’s greatest archaeological mysteries: the question of the location of the Greek (Seleucid) Acra–the famous stronghold built by Antiochus IV in order to control Jerusalem and monitor activity in the Temple which was eventually liberated by the Hasmoneans from Greek rule…

Read on here.

 

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Bible Archaeology

Ancient Winery Discovered in Central Israel Region During Storm

Large 1,500-year-old winepress unearthed in area once known for wine production.

In the Jerusalem Post:

Israel antique winepress

A large, well-preserved 1,500-year-old winery has been exposed during a violent storm in the Sharon Plain region, located between the Mediterranean Sea and Samarian Hills, the Antiquities Authority announced Monday.

According to IAA archeologist Alla Nagorski, the discovery was made off the Eyal Interchange several weeks ago when flooding and hail disrupted an excavation at the site, where natural gas lines are scheduled to be embedded.

The northern part of the Sharon Plain is considered the most historical wine region in Israel, and is where the first roots of Israeli wine were planted in modern times.

When water was pumped from the site, Nagorski said the well-preserved winery was found. She described it as impressive and rare.

“It is evident that great thought was invested in the engineering and construction,” she said. “The wine press is huge – 3 meters in diameter and 2 meters deep, and could accommodate 20 cubic meters of wine.”

More here.

 

Church

Where Did Jesus Turn Water into Wine?

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.”

 —John 2:1-4

Bible History Today:cana-of-galilee

Jesus’ first miracle was performed in Cana of Galilee. When the wedding party in Cana ran out of wine, Jesus commanded the servants to fill up six stone jars with water. After he is offered a cup from one of the jars, the chief steward of the wedding discovers that he is drinking wine (John 2:1–11).

Where did Jesus turn water into wine? Where is Cana of Galilee? There are at least five candidates for Cana in the Bible, but, according to archaeologist Tom McCollough in “Searching for Cana: Where Jesus Turned Water into Wine” in the November/December 2015 issue of BAR, only one site offers the most compelling evidence…

More on that site here.

Archaeology

ISIS Blows Up Arch of Triumph in Syria’s Palmyra

Discovery News is reporting:

Islamic State extremists have blown up the famous Arch of Triumph in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, the country’s head of antiquities said Monday, as the jihadists press their campaign to tear down the treasured heritage site.

ISIS’ destruction of art in Iraq’s Mosul Museum generated a lot of outrage. Was there an ideological reason for the raid or was it vandalism?

“We have received news from the site that the Arch of Triumph was destroyed yesterday (Sunday). IS bobby-trapped it several weeks ago,” antiquities director Maamun Abdulkarim told AFP.

IS has carried out a sustained campaign of destruction against heritage sites in areas under its control in Syria and Iraq, and in mid-August beheaded the ancient city’s 82-year-old former antiquities chief.

The jihadists have already destroyed the shrine of Baal Shamin and the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel, regarded as Palmyra’s masterpiece, since overrunning the citadel in May.

The Arch of Triumph, situated at the entrance of the ancient ruins’ historic colonnaded street, was an “icon of Palmyra,” Abdulkarim said, warning that IS fighters have already laid explosives in other monuments.

“This is a systematic destruction of the city. They want to raze it completely,” he said.

“They want to destroy the amphitheatre, the colonnade. We now fear for the entire city,” he added, calling on the international community to “find a way to save Palmyra.”…

Rest here.

I’m afraid it may already be too late for the site by now.

Archaeology

Mona Lisa’s Bones Found?

It’s on Discovery News, so don’t get your hopes up…

Italian archaeologists trying to solve the mystery behind the identity of one of the world’s most famous models said Wednesday that they had found shards of bone which could have belonged to Mona Lisa.

The team is certain that Florentine Lisa Gherardini was the mysterious woman who sat for Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait, but after years of research on skeletons unearthed in the Tuscan city, they have just one bit of femur that might match — and even that is too damaged for DNA testing.

Shards of bone? They could belong to anyone. No, they’re grabbing at straws here, I’m afraid.

Church

The Wine in a Middle Bronze Age Palace in Israel

BibleX:

Wine is referenced over 230 times in the Bible. So some readers might be interested in this post from the Smithsonian blog on the chemical analysis of the contents of large jars found at Tel Kabri, tentatively identified as a wine cellar of a Middle Bronze Age palace. The blog post summarizes more extensive and technical discussion found here.