The Storm over the Bone Box

On June 18, 2003, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) held a news conference at which it announced its conclusion that two inscriptions that have recently surfaced on the antiquities market are forgeries—the ossuary inscribed “James, the son of Joseph, the brother of Jesus” and the so-called Jehoash (also spelled Yehoash) inscription describing repairs to […]

Summary Report of the Examining Committees for the James Ossuary and Yehoash Inscription

20 June 2003 [released July 16, 2003] To: Shuka Dorfman, Director-General, Israel Antiquities Authority The Committees’ Establishment and Selection of Members

Observations on the IAA’s Summary Report

On some things we can all agree: 1. If authentic, the James ossuary inscription and the Jehoash inscription are immensely important. 2. If modern forgeries, we all want to know. 3. Every effort should be made to determine whether they are forgeries or authentic.

Is Oded Golan a Forger?

Israeli antiquities collector Oden Golan is the target of an intensive investigation by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) regarding a series of high-end artifacts that are suspected of being forgeries. Golan has been intimately connected with at least five or six extremely important, but now questionable, antiquities. Golan is best known as the owner […]

Paleography—An Uncertain Tool in Forgery Detection

Until recently, paleography—the study of the form and slant of the letters of an ancient inscription—was the chief means of determining whether an inscription was authentic or a modern forgery. The shape of each ancient letter has developed throughout history. Every 25 or 50 years, the way a letter is written changes slightly. To […]

What About the Jehoash Inscription?

The stone tablet that purports to have been commissioned by Jehoash, the ninth-century B.C.E. king of Judah, raised questions from the start. The first line of the inscription is missing, including the name Jehoash; the top of the plaque is broken off. The first letter of Ahaziah (Ahazyahu in Hebrew) with which the inscription […]

Israelites Found in Egypt
Four-Room House Identified in Medinet Habu By Manfred Bietak

The history behind the biblical tradition of Israel in Egypt has always excited scholars and laymen alike. The subject may seem somewhat worn out, however, especially in view of the current “minimalist” tendencies in scholarship. I do not claim to be a Bible scholar myself—I am an Egyptologist. But sometimes an outsider can shed […]

Eyewitness Testimony
Parts of Exodus Written Within Living Memory of the Event By Baruch Halpern

How old are the Bible’s narratives of the Exodus from Egypt? Can we really date the texts that preserve those narratives? And if so, what is the oldest Biblical text that discusses the Exodus?

Charles Warren vs. James Fergusson
Where Was the Israelite Temple Located? By David Jacobson

In case you think that only modern archaeologists are prone to controversy and disagreement, you should revisit the bitter dispute between James Fergusson and Charles Warren, two giants of their day, involving nothing less than the location of Solomon’s Temple and Christ’s Tomb. Today Fergusson is the less well-known of the two, but in […]

Warren’s Shaft
Yes, It Really Was Used to Draw Water By Avraham Faust

So many articles have been written about Warren’s Shaft, the ink would probably fill it to overflowing. Yet the puzzle remains unsolved. By far the most intriguing suggestion that has been made about this 40-foot-deep1 vertical rock chimney is that King David’s general Joab climbed it to get inside Jerusalem and surprise the Jebusites […]

Cuicul, Algeria