New Light on the Priestly Blessing from Ancient Judah

Since this text associates this blessing with the Israelite priesthood, both Jewish and Christian traditions refer to it as the “priestly blessing.” Jewish and Christian literature shows that the blessing came to hold a central place in the liturgies of both […]

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The King’s Feast: Power and Propaganda at the Neo-Assyrian Royal Table

Banqueting is a powerful means of communication. Throughout human history, men and women have always done their best to enjoy food as much as possible in social settings in order to communicate […]

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The Daily Stew? Everyday Meals in Ancient Israel

What did the ancient Israelites eat and how did they cook? Unfortunately, the Hebrew Bible doesn’t contain as much information on daily cooking and meals as one would like. The limited amount of information […]

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The Present and Future of Curating the Past

The corrugated steel garage door clamored as it rose. We stood on a dusty road in a small town in Turkey and peered into the darkness of our excavation depot. Anxious to get reacquainted with our artifacts […]

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The Beni Hasan Tomb Painting and Scholarship of the Southern Levant

Sometimes a single image can be made to carry more weight than it was intended. For over a century, one painting in the Middle Kingdom tomb complex at Beni Hasan—located […]

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Shaping Welsh identity? – Egyptian Objects and Intangible Heritage

There is a dream of anyone working in a museum to find a forgotten object or even an overlooked collection. Amazingly this dream has come true for me, twice. But once […]

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A Brief History of Sumerology

Sumerian is the language of ancient Sumer, that is, southern Mesopotamia, during the third millennium BCE. But what is Sumerian, really? A short glance at any modern Sumerian grammar comes across […]

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Salut and the Future of Archaeology in Oman

Interest in the archaeology of South East Arabia arose a little more than fifty years ago. The region – the gateway to the Indian Ocean – had previously been left at the margins of Ancient Near East’s history […]

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“So it is Written, So it Shall be Done:” The Ten Commandments at 60

Who was Moses and what was the Exodus? The Book of Exodus contains 40 chapters but the very human desire to express these narratives in imagery has been evident for millennia […]

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The Role of Biblical Archaeology in Exegesis: An interview with Professor Israel Finkelstein, Part 2

Manetho had already known about the Exodus tradition, so I doubt whether his work can help solve the riddle of Exodus. As far as I can judge, the Exodus traditions […]

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Does the Bible Claim that the Sun and Moon stopped in their Tracks?

The sun and moon have been in the news lately; Pastor John Hagee has claimed that recent blood moons have biblical significance of cataclysmic proportions concerning modern day Israel […]

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Jesus as a Security Risk: Intelligence and Repression in the Roman Empire

Intelligence personnel tend to have a view of events that differs from historians, even other people in government, and certainly from the general public. They are often accused of being realpolitikers […]

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Trash and Toilets in Mesopotamia: Sanitation and Early Urbanism

The recent celebration of World Toilet Day in November 2015 shone a spotlight on the variety of modern sanitation systems. Some 35% of the world’s population has no access to clean […]

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The Role of Biblical Archaeology in Exegesis: An interview with Professor Israel Finkelstein, Part 1

Many, but not all, excavations demonstrate that text and spade point in different directions. If, therefore, archaeology is allowed to tell its own story some parts […]

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Reconstructing Tell er-Rumeith

In the spring of 1967, a team of archaeologists led by the late Paul Lapp concluded excavations at the small Iron Age site of Tell er-Rumeith in northern Jordan. Nearly 50 years later, his widow, Nancy Lapp, and I published the final report of […]

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Unearthing the Past at Ancient Harran and the Wells of Paddan-Aram

Many know Harran from the biblical story of Abraham and his family’s wanderings. Today the huge tell of Harran, the mound of the ancient city, measures over one kilometre across and is surrounded by ancient walls […]

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Akkadian Prayers in Ancient Mesopotamia

Prayer is ubiquitous in human societies, including ancient Mesopotamia, but it often appears alien or distant to our modern sensibilities. A closer look shows that this seemingly arcane topic tells us much about Mesopotamian hopes, fears […]

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What names teach us about Iron II society in the Land of Israel

Names send messages about identity. Today, many African-Americans have first names that are totally different from those of white Americans. But until the early 1970s there was a great similarity […]

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Head Injuries in Ancient Mesopotamia: What do we Really Know?

Three millennia of documented history of Sumer, Akkad, Babylonia and Assyria are dominated by the accounts of war, and violence seems to have been present in the everyday life of all Mesopotamians. What do […]

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Nimrud Rising: An Immersive Virtual Reality Recreation of a Lost Site

In March, 2015, reports from the Iraqi Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities confirmed that agents of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had attacked the ancient Assyrian capital city of Nimrud in northeastern […]

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