Daniel Wallace interview on manuscript finds

Here is a link to a short video interview with Daniel Wallace about New Testament manuscript discoveries in Albania. For more information, visit the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts.


Ancient Galilee Boat

Since my Galilee Boat post from last August is one of the more popular posts people come across through web search or other, I thought I would pass along this information I found when browsing a book I purchased in Bethlehem a couple years ago by Miriam Vamosh, Daily Life at the Time of Jesus. Here is an excerpt about the ancient boat discovered at the Sea of Galilee:

  • In 1986, the outline of a wood boat was discovered mired in the mud on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. But its shell-first, mortise-and-tenon method of construction, pottery vessels discovered with it, and the carbon-14 test, the boat could be conclusively dated to the first century CE. … The 24 by 7 foot-long craft, made of seven different species of wood including cypress and cedar, seems to have been continuously repaired over many years by a master craftsman, but in the end was apparently abandoned on the shoreline. Its burial for two thousand years in a muddy, anaerobic environment allowed for the extraordinary state of its preservation (63).

Jewish Amulet

japd64.jpgThis has been in the news for a few weeks now — an amulet containing the Shema, from Deuteronomy 6:4, was discovered in Austria. It dates from about the third century of our era. “This amulet shows that people of Jewish faith lived in what is today Austria since the Roman Empire.” Universität Wien has more details. The inscription is a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew: ΣΥΜΑ ΙΣΤΡΑΗΛ ΑΔΩNΕ ΕΛΩΗ ΑΔΩN Α (Heb., שמע ישראל יהוה אלהינו יהוה אחד). If you cannot make out the Greek and Hebrew, see the image below.


Galilee Boat

Through Jim Davila I read an article on the “Jesus Boat,” believed to be 2,000 years old. Just a short note — the picture of the wooden boat at Bible Places may give the impression that this is the boat. The Yigal Allon Centre Museum right next to the Sea of Galilee houses the ancient Galilee boat. Here is a picture I took of the boat from last summer:


Etruscan Tomb Found

In the news, an intact Etruscan tomb has been found. Some of the reports can be found here, here (repeated from first link), and here. I’m sure more news will follow as the details unfold. Here is a quick excerpt from the first article:

The tomb, in the Tuscan town of Civitella Paganico, probably dates from between the 1st and 3rd centuries B.C., when Etruscan power was in decline, Andrea Marcocci, who led digging at the site, told Reuters. …

Inside the tomb, a narrow corridor led to a small burial chamber, about 2 meters long and 1.79 meters wide, he said. It housed about 80 objects including vases and mirrors in bronze and ceramic. Urns holding human remains were also found.

From the third article, Science Daily, there is mention that there was also an inscription with the tomb.

Colossal Hadrian

Reports in English are now emerging concerning the recent discovery of the colossal statue of Hadrian. Here are some quick excerpts:

BBC News:

The pieces of this giant monument to Hadrian were found about 5m below ground, among the buried ruins of a bath house on the site Sagalassos, an ancient mountaintop town in southern Turkey.

The statue dates to the early part of Hadrian’s reign. The elaborate decoration on the sandal suggest he was depicted in military garb.

Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project:

The discovery was made by archaeologists from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), who, under Waelkens’ direction, have been investigating the site since 1990. Last month [i.e., June] a new excavation campaign started, and the Belgians resumed work at the Roman Bath, focusing on the southeastern corner of the complex.

In addition to these links, click the following for more:

HT to Duane Smith at Abnormal Interests.

Greek ring of Thrace

In my previous post I mentioned the discovery of various archaeological finds in Bulgaria this past weekend. The ring itself has a clear inscription in Greek. It may have been used as an official stamp, since, from what I can read, the letters are depicted in reverse. The inscription reads: ΤΗΡΗΤΟΣ ΣΗΥΣΑ (Τηρητος Σηυσα). Click on the image for a larger view.

Ancient Mask of Thrace found

Yahoo news reports that an ancient mask of Thrace, among other finds, has been discovered over the weekend. The finds come from Bulgaria.  Here’s the scoop:

SOFIA, Bulgaria – A 2,400-year-old golden mask that once belonged to a Thracian king was unearthed in a timber-lined tomb in southeastern Bulgaria, archaeologists said Monday.

The mask, discovered over the weekend, was found in the tomb along with a solid gold ring engraved with a Greek inscription and the portrait of a bearded man.

“These finds confirm the assumption that they are part of the lavish burial of a Thracian king,” said Margarita Tacheva, a professor who was on the dig near the village of Topolchane, 180 miles east of the capital, Sofia.

Georgi Kitov, the team leader, said that they also found a silver rhyton, silver and bronze vessels, pottery and funerary gifts.

“The artifacts belonged to a Thracian ruler from the end of the 4th century B.C. who was buried here,” Kitov added.

According to Kitov, the Thracian civilization was at least equal in terms of development to the ancient Greek one.

The Thracians lived in what is now Bulgaria and parts of modern Greece, Romania, Macedonia, and Turkey between 4,000 B.C. and the 8th century A.D., when they were assimilated by the invading Slavs.

In 2004, another 2,400-year-old golden mask was unearthed from a Thracian tomb in the same area.

Dozens of Thracian mounds are spread throughout central Bulgaria, which archaeologists have dubbed “the Bulgarian valley of kings” in reference to the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, Egypt, home to the tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs.