Did the Maya believe the world would end in December 2012? That is the question the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (known as Penn Museum) in Philadelphia has taken to exploring in its newest exhibition opening in May.
The theory that the ancient Maya predicted a cataclysmic event at the end of their calendar has been gaining popularity over the recent years. According to the exhibition organizers, some believe that a celestial alignment will bring a series of devastating natural disasters. Others argue that this event will bring enlightenment and a new age of peace. Penn Museum scientists decided to address the issue, and attempt to answer the questions surrounding the mysterious calendar prophecy, especially having observed the public's increased curiosity about that ancient civilization and its knowledge regarding the end of time.
"MAYA 2012: Lords of Time," the exhibition, is set to compare the apocalypse predictions with their supposed origins in the ancient Maya civilization, says a statement released by Penn Museum. For that purpose, the museum mobilized some of its best curators, creating an interactive exhibition complete with sculptures and full-sized replicas of major monuments. more >>
The "Jesus Discovery," presented by archaeologist and professor James Tabor with documentary filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici, claimed to have found the tomb of Jesus and his family in Jerusalem in 2010. However, many remained skeptical. Now, their persistence has unveiled another nearby tomb that is causing renewed debate and controversy.
The new tomb – about 200 feet from the "Jesus Family Tomb" – is marked with the first Christian symbol, the cross. It also has markings allegedly saying "Divine Jehovah, raise up, raise up" and a drawing of a fish with a stick.
"In my assessment, there's zero percent chance that their theory is correct," Andrew Vaughn, executive director of the American Schools of Oriental Research, told MSNBC of the findings. For him, the second tomb does not strengthen the case that the first one is authentic. more >>
An archaeological find by a British excavation team this past weekend might have located the source of wealth for a biblical monarch.
Archaeologist and former British Museum curator Louise Schofield purports to have found a gold mine in northern Ethiopia that would have been the source of wealth for the Queen of Sheba.
Part of the find included a stone slab bearing a sun and crescent moon carving. Other carved items included the Sabaean language, which was the language of the Sheba Kingdom. more >>
Scientists at a university in Israel believe they have discovered an ancient burial box belonging to the family of the high priest who played a part in the crucifixion of Jesus as described in the Bible.
The burial box, or ossuary, was recovered from looters three years ago by the Israel Antiquities Authority.
On close examination the ossuary was found to have a rare inscription mentioning the names "Miriam," "Yeshua," and "Caiaphus." more >>
Participating as a volunteer in an archaeological digs generally comes with a nice price tag. But here's a deal that's really worth looking at. Magdala, the home of a 1st century synagague. This incredible archaeological site where several months ago the oldest known engraving of a seven branch menorah from the 1st temple period was discovered, is situated on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee just south of Ginosar, will soon be hosting its own on site dig and is looking for volunteers. And get this - its free. Read on.
According to the magdala dig blog - The dig will finance accommodations (meals and transportation) for volunteers for up to one month, if you wish to stay more, a special price will be made. The accommodations will be in Tiberias, a town 5km /3 mi from Migdal. According to our discussions with Father John Solana, director of the Pontifical Institute of Jerusalem, the entity that owns the project (which is being developed as a 120 plus rooms Christian guesthouse and multi media center, known as Magdala Center) -accommodations are being made for dig volunteers to reside in the center of town, within a home owned by the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. . The Insitute has rented the home and is now refurbishing the quarter to include guest rooms which will come equipped with air conditioning, internet and a couple of small kitchenettes.
Approximately 3 hectares of land are being excavated at Migdala and Marcella Zapata, is the Mexican archaeologist who is directing the program. Anáhuac México South University, located in Mexco, obtained the excavation license from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) which is providing local oversight. Thedig is being done in cooperation with the Archaeological Investigation Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico and it represents the first project in which Mexico will be directing in the field of Biblical Archaeology in Israel. more >>
Archaeologists in Israel recently discovered a Philistine temple at the site where the giant warrior Goliath’s hometown would have been.
The temple ruins are located in the ancient city of Gath and dates back to the 10th century B.C., according to Prof. Aren Maeir of Bar Illan University’s Martin Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology. The uncovered temple has a similar architectural image to the one described in the Bible story of Samson who pulled down the Philistine temple of Dagon on himself.
“We’re not saying this is the same temple where the story of Samson occurred or that the story even did occur,” said Maeir, who has directed the excavation at the site for the past 13 years, to The Jerusalem Post last week. “But this gives us a good idea of what image whoever wrote the story would have had of a Philistine temple.” more >>