09
Jul
08

BAR Highlights: 7/9/08

Recent archaeological news from Biblical Archaeology Review:

A Risen Messiah Before Jesus?
BAR Special News Report
The news media has been reporting on an important ancient text—like the Dead Sea Scrolls, but written on a stone tablet—that may challenge our understanding of the concept of messiah among Jews and Christians in ancient times. The first popular article on this intriguing tablet, called “Gabriel’s Vision,” appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review; read the article here, as well as a transcription and translation of the 87-line text.

Oldest Church Found?
BAR Special News Report
Excavators in Rihab, northern Jordan, say the have uncovered a cave underneath a third-century church that they believe was used by the very first Christians between the years 33, about when Jesus was crucified, and 70 A.D., when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans.

“May His Bones Rot”
July 8, 2008
That’s what the Talmud said of the Roman emperor Hadrian, and understandably so considering his ruthless suppression of the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome. But Hadrian’s many accomplishments, good and bad, long ago secured his place in history, as shown in this review article of an upcoming British Museum exhibit.

F Is for Fake
July 6, 2008
The Brooklyn Museum has announced that it believes about one third of its Coptic (Egyptian Christian) objects are fakes—and it plans to put them on exhibit to highlight the problem of forgeries.

Back Home to Egypt

July 5, 2008
A 2500-year-old wall relief has been returned to Egypt after it was pulled from an auction house sale in England. The relief had been looted from a pharaoh’s tomb in Luxor.

Brush Up Your Syriac
July 4, 2008
Brigham Young University and Catholic University of America have joined forces to produce the Syriac Studies Reference Library, a valuable online resource for the study of early Christian texts.

Baghdad Eyewitness
July 3, 2008
Former Iraq Museum director Donny George, who was present during the looting of the museum in the wake of the American invasion in 2003, describes in a video interview those calamitous days and what it was like working for Saddam Hussein.

Uncovering Urban Egypt

July 2, 2008
The widely-held view that the land of the pharaohs was a civilization without cities is being upended by new discoveries south of Luxor.

Authentic Imitations
July 1, 2008
A Nevada natural history museum has received a gift of reproductions of King Tut’s treasures. The gifts came from Luxor—Luxor, Las Vegas.

What Took You So Long?

June 30, 2008
Thanks to clues in the Odyssey and the timing of an ancient solar eclipse, two scientists think they know when Odysseus was finally reunited with his beloved Penelope.

Palmyra Before Palmyra

June 29, 2008
Thanks to its spectacular remains, the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria is one of the most striking Roman sites in the Middle East. But now Austrian, German and Syrian archaeologists have uncovered an earlier incarnation of the city, which dates to the Hellenistic period.

On the Ropes
June 28, 2008
A manmade cave on the Red Sea coast has yielded more than 30 coils of rope wrapped by Egyptian sailors 4,000 years ago. The discovery is providing insights into ancient Egyptian sailing and shipbuilding techniques.

Handling of Greece’s Heritage Creates Scandal
June 27, 2008
The Greek government is coming under increasing criticism for neglecting the country’s archaeological heritage—many sites are poorly maintained or not accessible to visitors. The site of Akrotiri, on the volcanic island of Santorini, for example, is closed for the third straight summer because the roof over the remains collapsed and has yet to be replaced.

Forget Xbox, Play the Royal Game of Ur

June 26, 2008
A British Museum curator has had a lifelong obsession with ancient Mesopotamia’s most popular board game. Deciphering cuneiform texts, he discovered how the game was played and even convinced former chess champion Garry Kasparov to try his hand at it.

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