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August 13, 2013

CONTACT: Megan E. Sauter
The Biblical Archaeology Society
Phone: 1.800-221-4644 ext. 242
Fax: 202-364-2636


WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 13, 2013)—BAR Editor Hershel Shanks investigates new evidence that has surfaced regarding the dating of Hezekiah’s Tunnel in Jerusalem. In Will King Hezekiah Be Dislodged from His Tunnel? he questions whether the tunnel was built during the reign of King Hezekiah to protect the city’s water supply during the Assyrian siege of 701 B.C.E.

Shifting 30 miles southwest in Israel—but staying at the subterranean level—Ian Stern explores the manmade underworld of Maresha in A World Below: The Caves of Maresha. During the Hellenistic period, the city existed on two levels—one above ground, the other a system of caves below. The multi-ethnic community of Nabateans, Edomites, Phoenicians and Judeans at the site utilized these caves for a variety of purposes: columbaria for raising doves, cisterns for water, baths, animal stables, textile factories and storage.

Irit Ziffer addresses the scarcity of portraits of Iron Age kings from Israel and Judah. In Portraits of Ancient Israelite Kings? she analyzes two images that might be visual portraits of Israelite kings: One contender is on the famous Black Obelisk from Nimrud, and another more recent candidate is an image from a wall painting at Kuntillet ‘Ajrud, a remote site in the Sinai desert.

The Biblical heroine Rahab—traditionally viewed as a harlot—harbored two Israelite spies and helped them escape from Jericho, according to the Book of Joshua. In Was Rahab Really a Harlot? Anthony J. Frendo probes: Was Rahab a prostitute, or was she an innkeeper? Did she live on the city wall or in it?

In her Scholar’s Update, Jodi Magness reveals a new portrait of an Israelite judge. Another Samson mosaic was uncovered during the 2013 excavations at the Huqoq synagogue in Galilee, along with a mosaic that might depict a scene from the Apocrypha.

In his First Person, Hershel Shanks encourages archaeological sites to use security cameras, thereby ending looting once and for all. Leonard Greenspoon looks at how the “burning bush” has been used by the media in The Bible in the News. Marc Zvi Brettler encourages dialogue between religious communities and modern Biblical scholarship in Biblical Views, and in Archaeological Views, Baruch and Judy Taubes Sterman study God’s chosen color—tekhelet, or Biblical blue. Additionally, the 2013 BAR Publication Awards are presented in the September/October issue.

Featured online at Bible History Daily is a BHD-exclusive analysis of the dating of Hezekiah’s Tunnel by Aren Maeir and Jeffrey Chadwick, an eBook about Genesis and a collection of articles about Maresha’s Dig-for-a-Day program and the unique inscription discovered there.