Searching for Roman Jerusalem

The Romans destroyed Jerusalem at the end of the summer of 70 C.E. Under the command of the Roman general Titus, they burned the city and dismantled the Temple, thus ending the First Jewish Revolt (66—70 C.E.)—the so-called Great Jewish Revolt. The Romans were not content simply to defeat the Jews. They pursued a […]

Aelia Capitolina: Jerusalem No More

Unlike the First Jewish Revolt against Rome (66–70 C.E.), which was chronicled in detail by the first-century historian Josephus, the Second Jewish Revolt, the so-called Bar-Kokhba Revolt (132–135 C.E.), is known only from scraps of ancient literature.1 Archaeology alone can fill in the gaps. And it has been doing so in an amazing […]

Hadrian: A Portrait in Bronze

Vigorous, muscular and armorclad, Emperor Hadrian—in the rare bronze sculpture featured on the cover of this issue—appears as the adept military leader who dominated the Mediterranean world from 117 to 138 C.E. His commanding appearance is recognizable from marble statues, reliefs, coins and even ancient texts. The portrayal of Hadrian in the Historia Augusta, […]

Iter Principis: Hadrian’s Imperial Tour

The early Greek rulers did it. And the Roman emperors followed suit: making a royal tour of the provinces, showing the flag, as it were, accepting the plaudits of the crowds at each stop and connecting with the people according to carefully prescribed customs and rituals. The Romans called it the iter principis, […]


Archaeologists are losing ground in an increasingly violent struggle with ultra-Orthodox Jews over the excavation of bones in Israel. Willing to use any means at their disposal, the ultra-Orthodox have recently turned to death threats and political pressure to stop digs. Their tactics, archaeologists claim, are already limiting our knowledge of ancient man and […]

Fierce Protest Over Bones Threatens to Halt Archaeology in Israel

Archaeologists in Israel are feeling more and more besieged as they face increasingly violent attacks from the ultra-Orthodox community as well as government interference in their work. Many archaeologists say their field is in crisis. Employees of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) are routinely harassed at work and at home. Violence against IAA workers […]

Politics—Not Religious Law—Rules Ultra-Orthodox Demonstrators

Political power, not religious law, motivates the ultra-Orthodox in Israel who violently protest archaeological excavations, claiming that ancient Jewish graves are being desecrated. Jewish religious law (halakhah) does not prohibit moving tombs, if it is done with dignity and respect. The sages were well aware of the necessity to relocate graves and their contents, […]

Three Shekels for the Lord
Ancient inscription records gift to Solomon’s Temple By Hershel Shanks

Two extremely important Hebrew inscriptions have recently surfaced on the antiquities market. One appears to be a receipt for a donation of three silver shekels to the Temple of Yahweh, pursuant to an order of the Israelite king. This is the oldest extra-Biblical mention of King Solomon’s Temple ever discovered. The other inscription […]

Leading Archaeologist Chastised for Publishing Artifacts in Private Collections
Debate over antiquities market continues By Hershel Shanks

Cyprus’s most distinguished archaeologist, retired Antiquities Department director Vassos Karageorghis, has been harshly criticized for publishing privately owned artifacts obtained on the antiquities market and lacking known provenances in a catalogue of Cypriot terra-cotta figurines. Karageorghis’s “inclusion of a large amount of material from private collections raises several difficult issues,” declares Ellen Herscher, chair […]

Golden Anniversary of the Scrolls

There, on a moonlit night beside the ruins of Qumran, was the voice of Yigael Yadin, Israel’s most illustrious archaeologist, dead these 13 years, reading in the original language from a letter by Shimon bar Kosiba, better known as Bar-Kokhba, leader of the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome (132–135 A.D.). Yadin’s voice, recorded in […]


Herakleion, Crete