The Wall That Nehemiah Built

Even before Nehemiah came from Babylonia to Jerusalem in the middle of the fifth century B.C.E., he knew that he wanted to rebuild the broken-down walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:3). When he arrived, he promptly made his famous night journey around the city, surveying the dilapidated city wall (Nehemiah 2:11–15). On the eastern slope, […]

Double Identity
Orpheus as David. Orpheus as Christ? By Jas’ Elsner

A splendid mosaic now in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum is said to portray Christ as Orpheus playing his lyre. A similar figure in a synagogue mosaic discovered in Gaza in the 1960s—resembling the traditional form of Orpheus but labeled “David”—may be thought to support this interpretation of Orpheus as Christ. But on closer […]

Rare Magic Inscription on Human Skull

Not long ago, the well-known collector Shlomo Moussaieff acquired two earthenware bowls, the open ends of which were adjoined to form a kind of case—inside the case was an ancient human skull. A magic incantation, written in Aramaic, was inscribed on the skull. BAR readers already know about the more than two thousand magic […]

A Tiny Piece of the Puzzle
Six-Letter Inscription Suggests Monumental Building of Hezekiah By Hershel Shanks

Ancient Jerusalem sometimes reveals itself in little bits. In this case, it is a tiny inscription with only six letters preserved. So little remains of ancient Israel in the City of David (the 12-acre ridge where the oldest inhabited part of Jerusalem is located) because later inhabitants continually destroyed evidence of earlier occupation. Over […]

Archaeological Views: Who Pays for Excavations?
Religious and Political Agendas in the Funding of “Biblical” Archaeology By Rachel Hallote