With Brent Seales
One year later, we bring our listeners up to date on the latest from University of Kentucky Computer Science professor Brent Seales and his computer program for virtually opening unopenable ancient texts. Further work has been done on the carbonized scroll from Engedi that we discussed a year ago, revealing its total contents are the first two chapters of the Old Testament book of Leviticus. New dating, based on the form of the letters in the text, reveals that this book is as old as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
With Clyde Billington
Archaeological work is being done underwater to study the western harbor of Corinth, Lechaion on the Corinthian Gulf. Ancient Corinth profited greatly from the maritime traffic across the isthmus from the western harbor of Lechaion to the eastern harbor of Cenchrae. The work currently underway is looking at construction dating to around 500 A.D. Authorities in Jordan have announced the reconstruction of Herod's mountaintop fortress of Machaerus, where Herod Antipas beheaded John the Baptist (as reported in Mark 6:21-29) after the dance of Salome. We discuss these two news items that were reported in the winter 2016 issue of ARTIFAX magazine.
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 Todd Bolen
Headlines from the New York Times to Fox News report that archaeologists have determined that camels were domesticated around 930 BC in Israel, and that therefore the camels in the stories of the Genesis patriarchs were an anachronism. But not so fast. There are some holes in their case as identified by Todd Bolen, professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, CA, and editor of Bibleplaces.com. In this program we also look at a new pottery database that will help archaeologists refine their dating.
With Michelle Stillinger
This interview with Michelle Stillinger, of the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Rock Magnetism, focuses on how the earth’s magnetic field has been employed to give archaeologists a new dating tool that can be more accurate than the typical tool of ceramic chronology.