Top Three News Reports in Biblical Archaeology – January 2019

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Every year I sift through over 200 news reports from the world of biblical archaeology in order to write my weekly Current Events updates for the Associates for Biblical Research (ABR).  You can follow them here:

I’ll be highlighting the top three news monthly news reports in biblical archaeology here at my blog as well.  Basically, these will be brief summaries of the current events posts I write for ABR, with links to the original Current Events posts.  I should note that occasionally, due to the timing of an announcement or the timing of my Current Events post for ABR, the news is from a previous month.

Here then are the top three news reports from January:

3. 2000-Year-Old Ring Discovered in Ancient Mikveh in Jerusalem

Israeli archaeologists at the City of David Sifting Project recently discovered a 2000-year-old ring in dirt that had been excavated from an ancient mikveh (ritual bath) along the Pilgrim Way. The ancient roadway runs from the Pool of Siloam up to the Temple Mount, and is thought to have been one of the main streets pilgrims took as they approached the Temple. Archaeologists believe a worshiper on his way to the Temple likely lost the ring during his ritual purification in the mikveh.

A 2000-year old ring discovered in an ancient ritual bath in the City of David National Park in Jerusalem. Photo Credit: City of David

2. Climbers and Archaeologists Survey Nabonidus Inscription in Sela, Jordan

A team consisting of elite climbers and archaeologists recently surveyed the ancient Edomite mountaintop fortress of Sela. Included in the mission was a 90-meter climb to measure and photograph a sixth-century BC relief and inscription, believed to have been commissioned by the Babylonian king, Nabonidus. In the Bible, Daniel lived through Nabonidus’ reign in Babylon and read the writing on the wall for his son and co-regent Belshazzar (Dan. 5) on the night that the Babylonian empire fell to the Medes and Persians.

nabonidus inscription
Climbers inspect and photograph the relief and inscription thought to have been left by the Babylonian King Nabonidus in Sela, Jordan. Photo Credit: EL PAÍS

1. Geological Study Confirms Earthquake Mentioned by Amos

A new article published in the journal Tectonophysics details evidence of a significant earthquake in Israel in the middle of the eighth century B.C., as described by the prophet Amos. While there is archaeological evidence for an earthquake in the days of Amos at numerous sites (Hazor, Deir ‘Alla, Gezer, Lachish, Gath, Tell Judeideh, and ‘En Haseva), this is the first time paleoseismic evidence (core samples and sediment layers) dating to this period has been revealed. The book of Amos begins with the words, “The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake” (Am 1:1).

uzziah inscription
A first-century AD inscription describing the reburial of King Uzziah. It reads, “”Hither were brought the bones of Uzziah, king of Judah. Not to be opened.” Photo Credit: yoav dothan / Wikimedia Commons / GNU License 1.2


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