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 >>
Have you ever floated in the Dead Sea or emerged from the salty waters with baby soft skin only to think what a wonder it was? That very same body of water is up for a vote now to become one of the world's new seven wonders in an international campaign.
"The Dead Sea is one of Israel's natural and tourism treasures that offers an experience rich in history, archaeology and wellness to its many fans around the world who have been casting their votes since the campaign began," said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov,
Visitors to Israel have long known that the Dead Sea has much to offer besides a proverbial view of Lot's wife who turned to view the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra and turned into a pillar of salt. The sea, with a high salt content of 30 percent that enables swimmers to float effortlessly, is also rich in minerals that are therapeutic for bones, muscles and skin. In fact, some people stay at the Dead Sea resorts for a week of therapy for various conditions. more >>
You can't drive for five minutes in Israel without seeing a sign directing you to a "tel." Tel is Hebrew for an archaeological hill. When a civilization died off or deserted an area, the new inhabitants built their town right on top of the old one. This pattern continued over thousands of years, leaving us with an archaeological gold mine; keep digging, and you will remnants of older and older civilizations.
One of the most intriguing of these sites may not be a tel at all. Tel Arad, located west of the Dead Sea, is located near the modern-day city of Arad. "Arad" first appears in the Bible in Numbers 21, as the Israelites are ending their 40-year sojourn in the desert. The "King of Arad" hears that they are approaching and attacks them; the Israelites fight back and destroy Arad. Arad is mentioned later in Judges 1, as the place where the Kenites settled. However, some archaeologists that Tel Arad is not an authentic tel, because two separate settlements have been found at the site, rather than one atop the other.
The upper settlement was an ancient Canaanite settlement. First inhabited around 4,000 BCE, it was an important trading post, due to its strategic location at a crossroads. Much trade was conducted with Egypt, as attested to by the Egyptian pottery shards found at the site. Bitumen, a material found in abundance in the Dead Sea, was useful as a sealant for ships and storage jars, and many conjecture that it was also used in the mummification process. The bitumen brought in much business from Egypt, and Arad prospered. Remains of houses were found, all built in a similar style. A larger structure, believed to be the temple, was also discovered. more >>
The New York-based World Monuments Fund (WMF) has placed the Cathedral of St. James in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City on its 2010 watch list of 93 cultural heritage sites at risk in 47 countries. The list, which is the WMF's flagship advocacy program, is intended to call international attention to threatened landmarks. The 2010 Watch ranges from famous sites like Machu Picchu, Peru to the unexpected like the Merritt Parkway, Connecticut. The Old City of Lod is the second Israeli site on the newly-released list.
"The 2010 Watch makes it clear that cultural heritage efforts in the 21st century must recognize the critical importance of sustainable stewardship, and that we must work closely with local partners to create viable and appropriate opportunities to advance this," said WMF president Bonnie Burnham in a press release. "The sites on the 2010 Watch list make a dramatic case for the need to bring together a variety of sectors -economic, environmental, heritage preservation, and social - when we are making plans that will affect us all. Greater cooperation among these sectors would benefit humanity today, while ensuring our place as stewards of the Earth for the next generation."
"The World Monuments Watch has evolved since its inception 14 years ago," added Erica Avrami, the WMF's research and education director. "With a greater number of urban centers and cultural landscapes, this year's watch reflects a growing understanding that heritage cannot be preserved in isolation, but rather must be addressed as part of a broad physical and social context. Not all sites on the watch list are in imminent danger. Many face challenges on the horizon, providing the opportunity to engage in dialogue and decision making now, so as to avoid problems in the future. Heritage conservation can be an effective tool for community development, economic growth, and sustainable land use." more >>
Despite the notable lack of significant evidence, the media and the blogosphere are abuzz over the cries of a team of Chinese and Turkish explorers who claim that the wooden structure they found on Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey is none other than Noah’s Ark.
Experts in history, archaeology, and bibliology, meanwhile, are making note of the claim but not taking the bait.
They say they’ve heard the cries before and will need a lot more than the confirmation of 4,800-year-old wood to take the claims seriously. more >>
The Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS) has released a series of lecture DVDs featuring Dr. William G. Dever, a retired biblical archaeologist and now frequent author on questions relating to the historicity of the Bible.
The eight-part DVD series, How Archaeology Illuminates the Bible, is an exclusive lecture series crafted especially for BAS and addresses such questions as:
• Did the Israelites escape slavery in a mass exodus from Egypt? • Was there a King David who established the United Monarchy in Jerusalem? • What was everyday life like in ancient Israel? more >>