Upcoming lectures in the Iowa City area

Jerusalem LectureI’ll be speaking giving a few talks in Iowa City over the next few weeks. All are welcome to attend.

March 28, 2014:  “Passover and the Eucharist: Investing New Meaning on the Jewish Meal” (Agudas Achim Congregation, Coralville, IA, 7:30 pm)

March 30, 2014:Passover and the Eucharist: Investing New Meaning on the Jewish Meal” (First Presbyterian Church, Iowa City, IA 11:30 am)

[The above two lectures are part of the 2014 Finn Lecture, which promotes Jewish-Christian dialogue in Iowa City.]

April 4, 2014:A Deluge of Flood Stories: Pre-canonical and Canonical Flood Stories” (Agudas Achim Congregation, Coralville, IA, 7:30 pm)

April 11, 2014:Shabbat Dinner Talk by Prof. Robert Cargill: Archaeological Dig Opportunity in Israel: University of Iowa Tel Azekah Summer Study Abroad Program” (Hillel Foundation, East Market Street, Iowa City, IA, 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm)

April 18, 2013:A Deluge of Flood Stories: Noah and the Jewish Interpretative Tradition of the Flood” (Agudas Achim Congregation, Coralville, IA, 7:30 pm)

 

No, no, you DIDN’T find the Holy Grail

I was interviewed as part of a story this morning on Good Morning America (Twitter) about recent sensational claims about the “discovery” of the Holy Grail in Spain. Yes…that Holy Grail.

ABC’s Paula Faris highlighted the claim made by two Spanish historians. Video is here.

Two historians, Margarita Torres and Jose Manuel Ortega del Rio, authors of the book, “Kings of the Grail,” claim a jewel-encrusted goblet, which has been inside the San Isidoro Basilica, in Leon, Spain, for the last 1,000 years, is the Holy Grail. And just in time for Easter (and I’m guessing a planned renovation of the church in which the cup was ‘discovered’).

Because Jesus was all about golden, jewel encrusted bling. Right?

Of course, claiming to find the Holy Grail is as silly as other pseudoarchaeological claims, like purporting to find the nails of the cross, pieces of the true cross, the Ark of the Covenant, Noah’s Ark, the route of the Exodus, Atlantis, and Jesus’ family tomb. These are fools errands and the realm of the sensationalized absurd.

I’ll be appearing tonight on a segment with Megan Alexander (Twitter | Web ) for Inside Edition (Twitter) on this supposed discovery of the Holy Grail. The segment should air tonight. Thanx Megan and Tyler for the smooth setup and interview!

[UPDATE: Here is Megan Alexander's interview with me on the "discovery" of the supposed Holy Grail. And, Inside Edition was good enough to post a 3 min. extended clip from our interview on their website. Thanx to Megan!]

And if you’re interested in doing REAL archaeology, join us at Tel Azekah, where you can dig (and smash) to your heart’s content.

 

 

 

Robert Cargill to give AIA lecture tonight on “New Approaches in Digital Archaeology at Tel Azekah, Israel”

Tel Azekah digital model, University of Iowa.

Tel Azekah digital model

I’m giving a lecture tonight for the Iowa chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America entitled “New Approaches in Digital Archaeology at Tel Azekah, Israel.”

Info for this AIA Iowa Society Lecture Program is as follows:

Title: “New Approaches in Digital Archaeology at Tel Azekah, Israel”
Presenters: Robert R. Cargill, Ph.D., Asst. Prof of Classics and Religious Studies, University of Iowa
Cale Staley, MA Student, Department of Religious Studies, University of Iowa
Location: Room 116 of the Art Building West, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Date: Feb 24, 2014
Time: 7:30 PM

Abstract: This presentation examines the University of Iowa’s 3D, virtual reconstruction of Tel Azekah, located in the Elah Valley just west of Jerusalem after its initial two seasons of excavation. The presentation offers a new methodology for the systematic digital cataloging, visualization, and reconstruction of archaeological excavations as they progress.

About the Presenter: Robert Cargill is Assistant Professor of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Iowa, where he has taught since 2011. He came to Iowa from the University of California, Los Angeles Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. While at UCLA, he also served as the Instructional Technology Coordinator for UCLA’s Center for Digital Humanities. He is part of the Public Humanities in a Digital World cluster of faculty.

Sponsored by: The AIA Iowa Society Lecture Program, with the support of the Office of the State Archaeologist, the University of Iowa Departments of Anthropology, Classics, Religion, Art and Art History, and the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History.

Audience Type: General public

Tel Azekah digital model, University of Iowa.

Tel Azekah digital model, University of Iowa.

Explaining the Azekah Area S2 Water Cistern to Dovid and Barnea of Foundation Stone

While I was excavating the bor mayim (water cistern) in Area S2 at Azekah this summer, some old friends stopped by…well, more like dropped in.

Dovid Willner and Barnea Selavan of Foundation Stone dropped in to ask about the cistern and what we can learn from its excavation.

They captured the interview on camera, and made it available to the public.

Enjoy!

Highlights from Tel Azekah 2012

Azekah alum Benjamin Sitzmann has put together a number of wonderful videos that captured daily life on the archaeological dig at Azekah last summer (2012).

If your German is up to speed, watch the video below:

Or, you can watch this shorter version, with brilliant stop-motion cinematography of Azekah and the many other holy, natural, and archaeological sites we visit on our weekend trips:

Of course, if you want evidence that this is truly an international experience, you can check out the video I made for my son MacLaren’s first birthday, which shows Azekah excavators wishing Mac happy birthday in 14 different languages:

If you or someone you know is interested in digging at Azekah this summer as part of a team of students from the University of Iowa, please feel free to contact me at robert-cargill@uiowa.edu.

Cargill 3.0 AND 4.0 are officially under development

Two buns in the oven

Yeah. THAT just happened.

Roslyn and I are very excited. No knowledge of genders yet, although we do know they are fraternal (and not identical). Ros and the twins (it still sounds weird to write and say it) are all healthy, albeit tired.

Tali is excited and rooting for sisters. Mac is excited, as he wants playmates to climb on. Professor Tiggens, however, is not excited, as he will drop two more spots on the alpha male scale.

Twins

We expect the twins, codenamed: Azekah and Sochoh (for reasons unspoken) to be born toward the end of May or early June, just prior to the beginning of Season 2 of the Azekah archaeological excavation beginning mid-July, 2013.

Remembering Tisha b’Av (The 9th of Av)

Destruction of Jerusalem

The destroyed remains of the Second Temple in Jerusalem

We are presently preparing for the Tisha b’Av (9th of Ab) remembrance here in Israel this weekend. The Azekah students have gone to the Dead Sea for a tour and I am alone here at Nes Harim, watching the Shabbat sun set over Bet Shemesh. All is quiet as it should be for a solemn remembrance of this sort.

The religious mourn the destruction of both the first and second temples in Jerusalem, along with other tragedies that are said to have taken place on the 9th day of the Jewish month of Av. (The defeat of the Bar Kokhba Rebellion and the subsequent leveling of Jerusalem are also attributed to the 9th of Av.) However, even the non-religious here remember with much solemnity the destruction of Jerusalem and its temples. They were tragic, defining moments for Jews in 586 BCE and 70 CE.

And as the state of Israel winds down for this Sabbath, commemoration, and associated period of fasting, I will read and write and reflect on both tragedy and hope for tomorrow.

Because it is good to remember. And it is good to lament for a time. For those who fail to remember the past tend to repeat it.

For more on the 9th of Ab, see here and here.

Dr. Robert R. Cargill at the Western Wall in Jerusalem

At the Western Wall in Jerusalem

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