According to the February 10th 2006, All Things Considered on NPR:

Dr. Lorelei Corcoran discusses with Robert Siegel the recent findings from the archeological dig at Valley of the Kings in Egypt. The Egyptologist and the director of the Institute for Egyptian Art and Archeology was at the site today and is the academic sponsor of the dig.

Full story and listen to the original broadcast

New Tomb in the Valley of the Kings web site

Wooden mummy cases are shown with ceremonial storage jars in a newfound tomb on February 10, 2006. The tomb is the first discovered in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings since 1922. Source


According to NPR on All Things Considered, June 2, 2006:Figs

The discovery of figs in an 11,400-year-old house near the ancient city of Jericho may be evidence that cultivated crops came centuries before the first farmers planted cereal grains.

Full story and listen to the original report

According to NPR, July 17th, 2006 – Morning Edition

The University of Chicago is fighting an attempt to seize thousands of ancient, clay tablets from their Oriental Institute. The tablets were brought to Chicago for study in 1937. American survivors of a bombing in Jerusalem nearly a decade ago want the tablets auctioned off as compensation for the attack, which they blame on Iran. But both Iran and the U.S. government say current law does not permit the tablets to be sold.


The OIM web site says this about their tablets: “The collection comprises thousands of original clay tablets inscribed in cuneiform, plus a large number of casts of such tablets excavated by Oriental Institute expeditions but now housed elsewhere.”
Tablets in OIM
Tablet in OIM

BookCities of God: The Real Story of How Christianity Became an Urban Movement and Conquered Rome

According to the book description Stark argues for the following:

How did the preaching of a peasant carpenter from Galilee spark a movement that would grow to include over two billion followers? Who listened to this “good news,” and who ignored it? Where did Christianity spread, and how? Based on quantitative data and the latest scholarship, preeminent scholar and journalist Rodney Stark presents new and startling information about the rise of the early church, overturning many prevailing views of how Christianity grew through time to become the largest religion in the world.

Drawing on both archaeological and historical evidence, Stark is able to provide hard statistical evidence on the religious life of the Roman Empire to discover the following facts that set conventional history on its head:

  • Contrary to fictions such as The Da Vinci Code and the claims of some prominent scholars, Gnosticism was not a more sophisticated, more authentic form of Christianity, but really an unsuccessful effort to paganize Christianity.
  • Paul was called the apostle to the Gentiles, but mostly he converted Jews.
  • Paganism was not rapidly stamped out by state repression following the vision and conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine in 312 AD, but gradually disappeared as people abandoned the temples in response to the superior appeal of Christianity.
  • The “oriental” faiths—such as those devoted to Isis, the Egyptian goddess of love and magic, and to Cybele, the fertility goddess of Asia Minor—actually prepared the way for the rapid spread of Christianity across the Roman Empire.
  • Contrary to generations of historians, the Roman mystery cult of Mithraism posed no challenge to Christianity to become the new faith of the empire— it allowed no female members and attracted only soldiers.

By analyzing concrete data, Stark is able to challenge the conventional wisdom about early Christianity offering the clearest picture ever of how this religion grew from its humble beginnings into the faith of more than one-third of the earth’s population.

Who is Rodney Stark?

Rodney StarkRodney Stark is the University Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University. His twenty-six books on the history and sociology of religion include The Rise of Christianity; One True God: Historical Consequences of Monotheism; For the Glory of God, which won the 2004 award of merit for history/biography from Christianity Today; and The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success.

Stark’s vitae

Stark’s Baylor web page

Stark’s personal web site

The Armchair Archaeologist gives Cities of God

As an amateur archaeologist, enthusiast, student, armchair archaeologist, is there value in becoming a member of a museum like the Oriental Institute Museum (OIM) in Chicago? Well, most museums do list some generous benefits as does OIM.

OIM Chicago

OIM Chicago lists the following as benefits of joining as a member:

  1. Free subscription to their member newsletter
  2. A print copy of the Annual Report. Sample back years are online.
  3. Special invitations to programs, dinners, lectures, etc.
  4. Discounts in the museum shop and on Institute publications.
  5. Discounts on seminars, workshops, symposia, etc.
  6. Use of Research Archives (electronic resources)

These benefits are generous and if you live near Chicago and/or you take an annual archaeological pilgrimage to Chicago then the membership benefits of the OIM are excellent.

If you have never visited the OIM in Chicago then how can you even call yourself and armcharian? It has one of the finest ancient Near East collections in the world. Plus, Wrigley Field is close enough to catch the Cubbies in action.

If you’re not a member of the OIM please join. Friends of the Institute membership prices range from $40 to $75 annually.

Why not plan an annual trip to Chicago, perhaps with a former prof or student, and spend plenty of time at the OIM, then see the Cubs play at Wrigley? Make it a long weekend.

The Armchair Archaeologist gives the Oriental Institute Museum

4 helmets

The only reason the OIM does not get five helmets is because their web site is embarrassing. Their is a lot of data and resources accsible from it but it is like having to crawl on all fours through an Egyptian pyramid labrynth under ground in the dark.

NIV Archaeological Study Bible

Review of the NIV Archaeological Study Bible – part two.

See part one

As long as you don’t mind the NIV translation the NIV Archaeological Study Bible is definitely the best Bible-resource for the avid enthusiast of Bible archaeology. It is published by Zondervan. Having been a long-time user of the NIV, for over 15 years, I think I will return to the NIV Archaeological Study Bible as my Bible-of-daily-use because of the archaeological benefits of this superb resource. The web site offers a FREE sampler in pdf format.
Features one notices in the first 30 minutes or so include . . . .
1. It’s a single column text with single coumn reference notes, which I like much more than double column formats.

2. There are tons of high-quality color pictures throughout the Bible. It almost seems like there is one on every page but there are officially some 500 color photographs.

3. There are a variety of articles, giving the reader a solid general exposure to many topics in Biblical archaeology. There are five major categories of articles:

  • Archaeological Sites
  • Cultural and Historical Notes
  • Ancient Peoples and Lands
  • The Reliability of the Bible
  • Ancient Texts and Artifacts

4. There are over 8,000 bottom-of-page study notes. Not as comprehensive as the excellent NIV Study Bible Notes, but quite useful for this particular Bible.
This review will be continued soon…..

The Armchair Archaeologist gives the Zondervan Archaeological Study Bible four helmets.
Four helmets

NIV Archaeological Study Bible

Review of the NIV Archaeological Study Bible – part one.

As long as you don’t mind the NIV translation the NIV Archaeological Study Bible is definitely the best Bible-resource for the avid enthusiast of Bible archaeology. It is published by Zondervan.

If one goes by first impressions I noticed the following when I first examined the Archaeological Study Bible.

1. The cover box is very nicely designed. There is a cut-out swatch-area to allow the potential buyer to see what the cover material looks and feels like. This review is based on the BLACK top grain leather version [0-310-92607-6].

2. It is thicker, thus heavier, than most other study/reference Bibles I have seen.

3. It comes with FREE software (CD-format) with the complete NIV Bible, photograpghs, charts and graphs.

4. The Top Grain version is not cheap, weighing in at $89.99 at Lifeway Bookstores.
5. The paper has generous thickness and each page has the look of faded papyri around the edges. The “new Bible smell” was also nice for the Top Grain version.

This review will be continued soon…..

The Armchair Archaeologist gives the Zondervan Archaeological Study Bible four helmets.
Four helmets