With Clyde Billington
Every year we draw attention to all of the interesting excavations in Biblical Archaeology by highlighting ten of the most exciting discoveries or announcements of the previous year. This year the top discovery on the list goes right to the heart of the Christian faith, the opening up of the traditional tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. There are nine more on the list, one all the way at the other end of the Roman Empire.
With Darrell Bock
Archaeologists and conservators in Jerusalem are repairing the edicule, a small structure that covers the traditional location of the tomb of Jesus in the rotunda of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. During a 60-hour period they were able to remove the marble covering of the stone tomb and observe for the first time in four and a half centuries the actual stone bench on which the body of Jesus is believed to have lain. But could this actually be the Tomb of Jesus? There are questions about which site is right so we went to Darrell Bock, Research Professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary to seek some answers.
With Clyde Billington
015 appears to have been a fairly productive excavation year in Israel, particularly in the Galilee, where two different excavations reported major mosaic developments. In the excavations at Huqoq, overlooking the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, archaeologist Jodi Magness (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill) continues to excavate a fifth century synagogue with stunning beautiful mosaics. Additional work was done this summer on a mosaic which appears to illustrate the tradition that describes a meeting between Alexander the Great and the Jewish high priest in Jerusalem. At the same we report on the University of Hartford excavation of the Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, which uncovered a more plain (crosses, for instance) mosaic dating about a century earlier. The mosaics are about six feet below the current floor level, and plans call for a glass window installation so visitors can see the mosaics. Additional news reported in this program, with my ARTIFAX co-editor Clyde Billington, a first century miqva discovery in the Ein Kerem area of Jerusalem (traditional home of the parents of John the Baptist) and tensions over the new carpet installation at the Dome of the Rock.
With Ken Dark
In this two-part interview Ken describes a possible site that may have been the childhood home of Jesus, revealed by careful study of never-before-published archaeological records of excavations over 100 years ago.
With Father Eamon Kelly
The excavations at Magdala began as a salvage excavation, as a Catholic order began plans to build a retreat center along the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Father Eamon Kelly, the assistant director of the Magdala Center, says that they prayed that there would be no archaeology found, or if there was, that it would be something good like a Byzantine church. What was actually found exceeded everyone's expectations, the intact ruins of a first century city from the time of Jesus.