The Wise Woman of Abel Beth Maacah

In a world dominated by men, and at a time that saw Israel’s greatest monarch—King David himself—rule over the land and assert his dominance over any and all who might challenge him, it was a woman—a Wise Woman—in the town of Abel Beth Maacah who stood up, stared down the commander of David’s army, […]

Dangling Assyriology
How I studied the Neo-Babylonian Inscription of Nabonidus 300 feet above the ground ... and lived to tell about it! By Rocío Da Riva

In the sixth century B.C.E., the Neo-Babylonian king Nabonidus inscribed imperial propaganda on a cliff at Sela, a mountain fortress in modern Jordan. Assyriologist Rocío Da Riva goes to great heights to study this hard-to-reach inscription.

Digs 2019: A Day in the Life

When the alarm clock blares at 4 a.m., it’s time to get up and start the dig day. Join BAR Editor Robert R. Cargill in his trademark tie-dye shirt as he walks you through a typical day in the life of an archaeological dig participant. It’s always grueling but never dull. And find out what excavation opportunities are available in the Holy Land this summer!

Inside the Huqoq Synagogue

Season after season, archaeologists have uncovered stunning mosaics at Huqoq’s synagogue in Galilee. From Biblical scenes to the first historical episode ever found in a synagogue, the mosaics’ themes never cease to amaze and surprise. Join us on a tour of the Huqoq synagogue—with its vivid mosaics and much more!

Resurrecting Easter: Hunting for the Original Resurrection Image

All of the main events in Jesus’s life are directly described in the New Testament— except for the Resurrection. This central event happens off-screen and is not directly witnessed. As a result, early Christians created two very different depictions of this moment. Join the Crossans as they hunt for the earliest images of Jesus’s resurrection—and attempt to resurrect the original Easter vision.

Zenon’s Flour: Grains of Truth from Tel Kedesh

Ancient documents abound with obscure terminology. Even the names for such staples as wheat can evade modern attempts to match them with the wheat strains cultivated in the ancient world. Grain remains excavated at Tel Kedesh in northern Israel may finally shed light on some of the elusive wheats that appear in the famed Zenon Archive from the third century B.C.E.

Artistic Influences in Synagogue Mosaics: Putting the Huqoq Synagogue in Context

How do the mosaics from Huqoq’s synagogue compare to mosaics from other Late Roman synagogues in Galilee and throughout the Mediterranean world? Their similarities and differences reveal cultural and artistic trends from this period.

Biblical Archaeology 101: The Ancient Diet of Roman Palestine

What did people eat in Roman Palestine? Milk and honey? Olive oil and wine? Food historian Susan Weingarten takes readers on a culinary adventure through historical and archaeological remains to reconstruct the diet of the average person in Roman Palestine.

Reimagining Herod’s Royal Portico

“It is deserving of mention more than any other under the sun.” This is how the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus describes Jerusalem’s Royal Portico in his Jewish Antiquities (15.412). Built along the southern flank of the Temple Mount, the Royal Portico, also known as the Royal Stoa, was one of King Herod’s most ambitious […]

Searching for Portraits of King Herod

What did King Herod look like? Join classical archaeologists Ralf Krumeich and Achim Lichtenberger as they search for the king’s portraits throughout the ancient Mediterranean world. Their discoveries illuminate aspects of Herod’s rule and how he chose to depict himself.

From Pets to Physicians: Dogs in the Biblical World

What roles did dogs play in the Biblical world? A survey of dogs’ portrayals in ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean cultures shows that far from being perceived as “unclean,” dogs served as companions, guard dogs, sheep dogs, hunters, and—surprisingly—physicians. These diverse roles inform our understanding of the famous parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31).

Purity and Impurity in Iron Age Israel

Purification practices of ancient Israelite society before the introduction of mikva’ot remain largely unexplored. Recent excavations at Tel ‘Eton, in the southeastern Shephelah, yielded rich data on household life and practices in the tenth through the eighth centuries B.C.E. A large four-room house at Tel ‘Eton offers a rare glimpse of how Iron Age Israelites coped with the issues of ritual impurity, and it enables the author to reconstruct the purification ritual.

A Rare Torah in the Library of Congress

The oldest Torah manuscripts survive incomplete and barely legible. But not the scroll sheet acquired recently by the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Penned more than a millennium ago, this uniquely preserved parchment represents the oldest complete Torah scroll sheet totally legible by the naked eye. Explore the manuscript’s history and what makes it such a remarkable artifact.

Who Were the Assyrians?

The Assyrians referenced in the Hebrew Bible were a mighty force that exerted power over much of the Near East, including Israel and Judah, in the ninth through seventh centuries B.C.E. Learn about their beginnings over a millennium before they appeared in the Bible and how they expanded their empire from Urartu to Egypt.

The Last Days of Canaanite Azekah

Excavations at Late Bronze Age Tel Azekah reveal various aspects of daily life in this Canaanite city, including its close interactions with Egypt. The gruesome discovery of four human skeletons poses questions about the final days of Azekah and how those dramatic events might be related to the Bronze Age collapse of Mediterranean civilizations.

Baby Burials in the Middle Bronze Age

Almost as soon as people began making containers from clay, they began burying their dead babies in storage jars.1

Commander of the Fortress?
Understanding an Ancient Israelite Military Title By William M. Schniedewind

From Tel Arad to Kuntillet ‘Ajrud to Jerusalem, Biblical scholar William M. Schniedewind guides BAR readers on a survey of ancient Israelite seals and inscriptions with an enigmatic title that has been variously translated “Governor of the City” and “Commander of the Fortress.” Who was this figure? Discover his importance and place in ancient Israelite and Judahite society.

Colossae—Colossal in Name Only?

The once great city of Colossae in modern Turkey has never been excavated. To the untrained eye, the site may appear unimpressive, but great archaeological treasures lie beneath its surface. Join Michael Trainor on an exploration of this ancient city awaiting the spade!

Song of Liberation
Freedom in the Late Bronze Age By Eva von Dassow

Liberty is conventionally thought to be a property of Western civilization. It is given dual genealogies, one biblical and the other Hellenic. The tale of how Israel was liberated from Egyptian domination is conjoined with the tale of how Athenians invented democracy to generate the myth opposing a free West to a despotic Orient. […]

The Legend of Tel Achzib, Arkansas

Excavations are underway at Tel Achzib—meaning “ruin of deception”—in Searcy, Arkansas. Created by archaeologists at Harding University, this artificial tell serves as a Biblical archaeology lab that introduces students to excavation technique and methodology. Especially for students unable to travel and dig in the Biblical lands, Tel Achzib offers a valuable, informative, and fun experience.

Stepped Pools and Stone Vessels
Rethinking Jewish Purity Practices in Palestine By Cecilia Wassén

053 To what extent were Jewish purity practices around the turn of the Common Era related to the Jerusalem Temple?

Baking Bread in Ancient Judah

I am happy to see that people are once again interested in the daily lives of the ancient Israelites. Archaeologists and biblical scholars alike are shifting their attention from the monumental to the mundane. In other words, the stage where the ordinary is lived out day after day is the home, not the temples, […]

Reactivating Remembrance
Interactive Inscriptions from Mt. Gerizim By Anne Katrine de Hemmer Gudme

What went on in ancient sanctuaries? In spite of the information we get from texts such as the Hebrew Bible, from inscriptions and iconography, and from archaeology, we know precious little about what “ordinary people” did when they visited a temple in ancient Palestine. Yet we do have some clues. The dedicatory inscriptions from […]

Secrets of the Copper Scroll

The mysteries of the Copper Scroll, found in one of the Dead Sea caves, have never really been solved. The Copper Scroll seems to contain a list of treasure—and is the kind of find that Indiana Jones could have used to track down vast amounts of gold and silver ingots. Its very substance—fine copper—indicates […]

Blurred Lines
The Enigma of Iron Age Timnah By Mahri Leonard-Fleckman

Tel Batash in the Shephelah is a bewildering and fascinating archaeological site. Excavations there have revealed an Iron Age city that scholars have identified as biblical Timnah. Yet this identification doesn’t tell us who the people were in Timnah or how to delineate them from others. Neither textual nor archaeological sources seem to provide […]

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