From the text to the trenches: The Philistines hung King Saul’s lifeless, headless body on Beth Shean’s wall, according to the Bible. A major city of King Solomon’s administrative districts was located here too. So what can archaeology tell us about Beth Shean? In “Was King Saul Impaled on the Wall of Beth Shean?” excavator Amihai Mazar reviews 6,000 years of history at the site and shares some of the most fascinating finds, including “grotesque”
Turning next to a region in Jordan, southeast of the Dead Sea amid the barren wilderness in the area the Bible calls Zoar, thousands of human burials (some more than 4,500 years old) have been discovered, making it perhaps the largest burial ground in the ancient world. As archaeologist Konstantinos Politis reveals in “Death at the Dead Sea,” the burials shed light on the panoply of cultures and religions living here from the Early Bronze Age and thereafter, including Nabateans, Jews and Christians. In addition, hundreds of ancient tombstones have been discovered with the burials in Biblical Zoar. The names, epitaphs and decorations of the stones offer an intimate and detailed portrait of Zoar’s thriving Christian and Jewish communities during the Byzantine period, as explained by Steven Fine and Kalliope I. Kritikakou-Nikolaropoulou in “Tales from Tombstones.”
Online at Bible History Daily, read up on the Dead Sea museum Konstantinos Politis is opening, and access daily articles on key Biblical archaeology topics, the latest news, book reviews and dozens of free eBooks. There are also updates in the Scholar’s Study about whether Biblical minimalism is really dead. The Find a Dig site has comprehensive info about dozens of excavation opportunities this summer, as well as scholarships and a free eBook about the dig volunteer experience. And the BAS Library features easy access to all footnoted articles in BAR Notables and new Special Collections each month.
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The Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS) was founded in 1974 as a nonprofit, nondenominational, educational organization dedicated to the dissemination of information about archaeology in the Bible lands.