Synagogues: Before and After the Roman Destruction of the Temple

Were there synagogues while the Temple still stood in Jerusalem? Nearly 200 ancient synagogues have been discovered by archaeologists at numerous sites in the Land of Israel as well as in the diaspora.

Was Eve Made from Adam’s Rib—or His Baculum?

The Book of Genesis tells us that God created woman from one of Adam’s ribs. But our author says that the traditional translation of the Biblical text is wrong: Eve came from a different part of Adam’s body—his baculum.

Digs 2015: Blast from the Past

Every year they come—from diverse corners of the world and different walks of life: students, professionals, enthusiasts, retirees, travel lovers, adventure seekers and more. They put their lives on hold for a couple of weeks or even months, and they dig! Volunteer participants are an essential part of most academic excavation teams. These volunteers […]

The Puzzling Doorways of Solomon’s Temple

The Bible tells us that the doors of the inner shrine of Solomon’s Temple had five mezuzot (singular mezuzah) (1 Kings 6:31). Whatever they were, the Bible is not referring to the little parchment texts in a case posted on the doorposts of Jewish houses that are called mezuzot. The word mezuzah is often […]

Biblical Archaeology: Whither and Whence
Looking back with Eric and Carol Meyers By Hershel Shanks

Duke professors Eric and Carol Meyers gained national prominence when they discovered the Torah ark at Nabratein, Israel, in 1981. But that’s only part of their story. On December 22, 2014, I sat down and talked to them about their past 40 years in Biblical archaeology.

Searching for Cana: Where Jesus Turned 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 […]

Excavation Opportunities in 2015

Whether you’re seeking a field school or just an adventure, this section will help you get started on finding an archaeological excavation that’s right for you. There’s even more on the Biblical Archaeology Society website at www.biblicalarchaeology.org/digs, which we developed to share excavation opportunities with our readers. The chart below provides key information on […]

Iconoclasts and Fishermen: Christian Symbols Survive

This short article is a kind of pushback against the iconoclasts of the eighth century C.E. who gouged out images of people and animals in churches and synagogues. They offend me. I am going to explore the meaning of two mosaic medallions involving fish and fishing that the iconoclasts partially destroyed in a church […]

Kadesh-Barnea—In the Bible and on the Ground

Kadesh-Barnea, Tell el-Qudeirat, hasn’t been excavated since the 1980s, but a new pottery analysis indicates a settlement was there at the time of the Exodus.

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament

What do the Dead Sea Scrolls tell us about the New Testament? One possible answer is: Nothing.

Pan at Hippos: Face of Greek God Unearthed

“You have never seen such a find!” yelled Alexander Iermolin at Antiochia Hippos (Sussita),a located a thousand feet above the Sea of Galilee. A group of 15 of us were excavating the site’s outworks in November 2014. We hurried over as Alexander pulled out a large piece of metal covered in dirt near one […]

Missing Link in Hebrew Bible Formation

New analysis of a previously known scrap of a Biblical text provides fascinating insight into the formation of the Hebrew Bible. Known as the Ashkar-Gilson Hebrew Manuscript #2, the text is a remnant of a Torah scroll from the seventh or eighth century C.E. and contains a crucial section of the Book of Exodus. […]

Hero or Thief? Constantine Tischendorf Turns Two Hundred

Two hundred years after Constantine Tischendorf’s birth, questions remain as to the conditions of his removal of Codex Sinaiticus from St. Catherine’s Monastery. Stanley E. Porter contends that Tischendorf should be considered a hero, not a thief.

Where Are They Now?

Tracy Hoffman, 1994

A Short History of the Dead Sea Scrolls and What They Tell Us

I want to say here and now how grateful I am to the original team of Dead Sea Scroll scholars who failed to publish the bulk of the scrolls for nearly 40 years and refused to let other scholars see them in the meantime. But for them, I would never have had the exciting […]

Did Akhenaten’s Monotheism Influence Moses?

In late spring, 1349 B.C., the chariot of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten drew up in an open space before a dazzling white inscription on a cliff face overlooking the Nile. There Akhenaten and his queen Nefertiti made lavish offerings to the solar god Aten. Then the pharaoh addressed his assembled courtiers: “I shall make […]

2014 Scholarship Recipients Go Digging

Straight from the field to you, hear from some of the individuals who were awarded BAR scholarships in 2014. They offer insight into what fieldwork at an archaeological excavation really looks like and whether the experience was worthwhile—all the while recognizing that their summer expeditions would not have been possible without the generous donations of the people who funded their scholarships.

The Saga of ‘The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’

Although he is not an archaeologist, Canadian/Israeli TV journalist and producer Simcha Jacobovici (pronounced Yacobovitch) has made some remarkable archaeological discoveries.

The Gospel of Thomas: Jesus Said What?

Jesus said, “Blessed is the lion which the man eats, and the lion becomes man.” Jesus said, “Be passers-by!”

Predilections—Is the “Brother of Jesus” Inscription a Forgery?

Although the famous “Brother of Jesus” inscription on an ancient ossuary (bone box) has been authenticated by two world-class paleographers, American paleographer Christopher Rollston has judged the inscription 75–85 percent a forgery on an Easter-time TV program. Is his judgment based solely on his predilection against unprovenanced inscriptions?

Predilections—Is the “Brother of Jesus” Inscription a Forgery?

Although the famous “Brother of Jesus” inscription on an ancient ossuary (bone box) has been authenticated by two world-class paleographers, American paleographer Christopher Rollston has judged the inscription 75–85 percent a forgery on an Easter-time TV program. Is his judgment based solely on his predilection against unprovenanced inscriptions?

Coptic: Egypt’s Christian Language

The Coptic language has been in the news recently. Loudly. And everywhere; also in BAR.a Perhaps more than is good for it. Remember the Coptic “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife,” whose claim to authenticity trumpeted worldwide by elevated authorities was promptly pulverized into subatomic particles and laughed off the stage? But about that, not here. […]

The Mystery of the Missing Pages of the Aleppo Codex

The world’s oldest and most authoritative copy of the Hebrew Bible reposed for more than half a millennium in a synagogue in Aleppo, Syria, before it was desecrated in riots that followed the United Nations vote in 1947 calling for a Jewish state and an Arab state in the British mandate of Palestine. Known […]

Has Jesus’ Nazareth House Been Found?

What was Nazareth like when Jesus lived there? The evidence is sparse but intriguing.

Is It Possible to Protect Our Cultural Heritage?

We all condemn looting. But there is little talk about what can effectively be done about it. Telling people not to buy what may be looted antiquities makes the authorities feel good but has virtually no effect on looting.

Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible

After two decades toiling in the quiet groves of academe, I published an article in BAR titled “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible.”a The enormous interest this article generated was a complete surprise to me. Nearly 40 websites in six languages, reflecting a wide spectrum of secular and religious orientations, linked to […]

Anastylosis at Machaerus

This is the story of the re-erection of two ancient Herodian columns—one Doric, the other Ionic—on the basis of the principle of anastylosis at the archaeological site of Machaerus in Jordan.

Renowned Collector Shlomo Moussaieff Dies at 92

Shlomo Moussaieff of Herzliya, Israel, and London, England, who owned the world’s largest private collection of Near Eastern antiquities, surpassing that of many major museums, died in Israel on June 29, 2015, at the age of 92.

Commemorating a Covenant

More than 40 years after re-excavating Tel Gezer’s dramatic “High Place,” archaeologist William Dever has now published his final excavation report. It is indeed welcome.

Tenochtitlan, Mexico
Cuma, Italy
Chiapas, Mexico
Myrina, Isle of Lemnos
Gyeongju, Korea