Did I Find King David’s Palace?

There can be little doubt that King David had a palace. The Bible tells us that Hiram of Tyre (who would later help King Solomon build the Temple) constructed the palace for David: “King Hiram of Tyre sent envoys to David, with cedar logs, carpenters and stonemasons; and they built a palace for […]

Edom & Copper
The Emergence of Ancient Israel’s Rival By Mohammad Najjar, Thomas E. Levy

Did King David do battle with the Edomites? The Bible says he did. It would be unlikely, however, if Edom was not yet a sufficiently complex society to organize and field an army, if Edom was just some nomadic Bedouin tribes roaming around looking for pastures and water for their sheep and goats.

Did Theseus Slay the Minotaur?
How Myth and Archaeology Inform Each Other By Jeremy McInerney

In 876, Heinrich Schliemann completed a season’s excavation at Mycenae, where his faith in Homer’s text was repaid with spectacular success. Having excavated one of the shafts in grave circle A, close by the Lion Gate, Schliemann had come down on a burial containing the remains of a man whose face in death had […]

Where Is the Hazor Archive Buried?

An archive of clay tablets written in cuneiform signs has never been found in what was to be the Land of Israel, although at numerous other sites in the ancient Near East archives holding hundreds and sometimes even thousands of tablets have been discovered. The illustrious Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin, who excavated Hazor for […]

Qumran—The Pottery Factory
Dead Sea Scrolls Not Related to Settlement, Says Excavator By Hershel Shanks

Qumran, that desolate, supposedly monastery-like site with its ritual baths and communal dining room overlooking the Dead Sea, had nothing to do with the Dead Sea Scrolls found in nearby caves, according to a just-released study. Your vision of a couple hundred celibate Essenes padding around praying whenever they were not copying scrolls in […]

Satan’s Throne
Revelations from Revelation By Adela Yarbro Collins

In the Book of Revelation, a prophet named John experiences a vision of the risen Christ, who asks him to convey a message to each of the seven Christian congregations of Asia Minor—Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamon, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodikeia. To the 028Pergamon congregation, this is the message: And to the angel of the […]

Guide to Sites

Ask almost anyone who has ever worked on a dig and they’ll tell you it was the experience of a lifetime. As we do in every January/February issue, we list here those digs looking for able-bodied and eager volunteers in the coming year. Whether you’re interested in ancient Israelite remains or early Christian sites, […]

Royal Palace, Royal Portrait?
The Tantalizing Possibilities of Ramat Raḥel By Gabriel Barkay

The first Judahite royal palace ever exposed in an archaeological excavation is bei ng rediscovered. And with this renewed interest come echoes of what is probably one of the bitterest rivalries in the history of Israeli ar chaeology—between Israel’s most illustrious archaeologist, Yigael Yadin of Hebrew University, and his younger colleague Yohanan Aharoni, who […]

The Spade Hits Sussita
BAR Article—“Sussita Awaits the Spade”—Leads to Excavation By Arthur Segal, Michael Eisenberg

Fifteen years ago, I (Arthur Segal) sat in my study reading an article in BAR by Vassilios Tzaferis about Sussita, a dramatic site overlooking the Sea of Galilee that had been destroyed in a violent earthquake in 749 C.E. and had never been resettled. The columns of a church at the center of the […]

Mysterious Standing Stones
What Do These Ubiquitous Things Mean? By Doron Ben-Ami

038 Standing stones are still a puzzle. They’re hard to understand. Standing stones have been found in the Near East from as early as 10,000 B.C.E.,a and they continue through the Biblical period. Massebah (plural masseboth) is the Hebrew word usually translated “standing stone(s).” Massebah and its variants appear 34 times in the […]

Wrestling with Scripture
Phyllis Trible Obtains a Blessing, but It Comes at a Cost: She Limps By Hershel Shanks

Phyllis Trible is surely one of the most distinguished feminist Biblical scholars in the world. In 1994, she served as president of the Society of Biblical Literature, only the second woman to serve in that capacity since the organization was founded in 1880. (And only two other women have subsequently received this annual honor.) […]

Islam on the Temple Mount
In Muslim Tradition the Dome of the Rock Restored Solomon’s Temple By Moshe Sharon

In 38 C.E. Christian Jerusalem fell to a minor Arab officer by the name of Khalid ibn Thabit from the clan of Fahm. The patriarch of Jerusalem, Sophronius, had by then lost all hope of relief from Constantinople, since all the major cities of Syria (including Damascus) had opened their gates to the invading […]

The Road More Traveled
The Onomasticon of Eusebius By Dennis E. Groh

The Onomasticon by Eusebius of Caesarea, Palestine in the Fourth Century A.D. Translated by G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville, indexed by Rupert L. Chapman III, edited and introduced by Joan E. Taylor (Jerusalem: Carta, 2003), 206 pp. + 8 maps. $44.95 She had traveled to ancient Palestine to tour the holy places, and now, after three […]

Engraved in Memory
Diaspora Jews Find Eternal Rest in Jerusalem By André Lemaire

When Oded Golan first invited me to his home in April 2002, it was to examine an inscription on a bone box—but not the one bearing the now-famous inscription, “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.” That one was not even in Golan’s apartment at that time. He showed me only a picture of […]

Who Did It, Who Didn’t and Why By Philip J. King

Pottery is probably the archaeologist’s most important diagnostic tool, not only for dating a stratum of an excavation, but also for determining the culture and ethnicity of the ancient people who lived there at the time. In 1969, however, at the excavation of Tel Gezer, where I served as an area supervisor, a most […]

Where Mary Rested
Rediscovering the Kathisma By Hershel Shanks

For many centuries the Protoevangelium of James was an enormously popular and influential apocryphal gospel. Written in the latter half of the second century, purportedly by Jesus’ brother James, it tells the story of the birth of Mary and, later, of Jesus. It is charming and moving and in the best gospel tradition. In […]

Fleeing the Romans
Judean Refugees Hide in Caves By Roi Porat, Hanan Eshel

The Second Jewish Revolt against Rome, also known as the Bar Kokhba Revolt after its almost legendary leader, lasted from 132 to 135 C.E. Like the First Jewish Revolt of 66–70 C.E., it was brutally crushed. But, unlike the First Revolt (in which the Temple was destroyed), there was no Josephus to record […]

Abraham Isaac & Jacob Meet Newton, Darwin & Wellhausen

Israel first appears in an epigraphic source (that is, in a surviving ancient document) around 1200 B.C.E.,1 in a stone victory stele of the Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah. At the end of this long inscription, almost as an afterthought, the intrepid king informs us that he put an end to “Israel,” a group located […]

Hadrian’s Legion
Encamped on the Temple Mount By Eilat Mazar

After the Romans destroyed the Temple and burned Jerusalem in 70 C.E., the Xth Legion (Fretensis) of the Roman army camped on the southwestern hill of the city, in the area known today as the Citadel, by Jaffa Gate.1 This was not, however, enough to stifle the resurgence of Jewish nationalism. In 132 C.E. […]

Hyrcania’s Mysterious Tunnels
Searching for the Treasures of the Copper Scroll By Oren Gutfeld

I was hardly in a position to say no. After all, in 1999 I was a mere graduate student. So when Professor Amihai Mazar, the head of the department of archaeology at the Hebrew University, asked me if I would talk to an American who wanted someone to undertake an excavation, I, of […]

Your Career Is in Ruins
How to Start an Excavation in Five Not-So-Easy Steps By Eric H. Cline, Assaf Yasur-Landau

A dig can start in the most casual of ways. Our partnership, for example, was hatched during a chance meeting in the summer of 2004. The encounter lasted less than a minute: Assaf: “Hi, Eric! Good to see you again. Want to reopen the excavations at Kabri with me?” Eric: “Hi, Assaf! Sure, sounds […]

The Volcano Explains Everything—Or Does It?
Does this crater from an ancient volcanic eruption hold the answer to the mysteries of the Exodus? By Manfred Bietak

Canadian documentarian Simcha Jacobovici, in cooperation with James Cameron, director of Titanic, has master-minded a two-hour TV special dealing with the oft-treated—and oft-mistreated—Exodus narrative. The Biblical account provides the principal pillar of the script. Every sentence of the Biblical text is taken literally in quite a fundamentalist fashion. Until now, Biblical scholars have not […]

Assessing David & Solomon
From the Hypothetical to the Improbable to the Absurd By Michael D. Coogan

056 David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible’s Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman (New York: Free Press, 2006), 343 pp. $26.00 David son of Jesse—warrior, king, poet, sinner—has fascinated writers, artists and scholars for more than three millennia. More space is devoted […]

When a Woman Ruled Egypt

Two centuries before the traditional date of the Exodus, a female pharaoh ruled Egypt. Very few women in the ancient world wielded any real political power. The greatest of these in ancient Egypt was Hatshepsut, who ruled for more than two decades (c. 1479–1458 B.C.) during the early part of the New Kingdom (c. […]

What Did Jesus’ Tomb Look Like?

According to the Gospels, Jesus died and was removed from the cross on a Friday afternoon, the eve of the Jewish Sabbath. A wealthy follower named Joseph of Arimathea requested Pontius Pilate’s permission to remove Jesus’ body from the cross and bury him before sundown, in accordance with Jewish law. Because there was no […]

Did God Have a Wife?

Did God Have a Wife? Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel

The Rugged Beauty of Crusader Castles
Holy Wars in a Holy Land By Adrian Boas

Nothing is more evocative of the Crusader period in the East than the often-imposing castles built by the Crusaders in what is today modern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Cyprus. Well over a hundred castles were constructed in the 12th and 13th centuries, ranging from simple isolated towers to huge, complex fortresses with […]

First Person: Archaeology as Peep Show
Promptly releasing images of archaeological finds would benefit scholars, scholarship and the public. Try it. By Hershel Shanks
First Person: Sensationalizing Gnostic Christianity
Is all the recent hype about the Gospel of Judas really justified? By Hershel Shanks
First Person: Indictments Can Kill
Conspiracy of five that became conspiracy of four now becomes conspiracy of two By Hershel Shanks
First Person: Introducing the New BAR
We’ve added special features and expanded our coverage to appeal to an ever widening audience. By Hershel Shanks
First Person: Probing for “Why?”
The arguments on which the forgery accusations rely are about to fall apart. By Hershel Shanks
First Person: Covering Controversy
Scholarly debates help us better understand the Biblical world By Hershel Shanks
Mari (Tell Hariri), Syria


New Finds
Gath Inscription Evidences Philistine Assimilation
New Acquisitions
Renaissance Masterpieces Go for Millions
Special Collections
Antiquity & Photography: Early Views of Ancient Mediterranean Sites