One Big Balagan: Robert Deutsch, Simcha Jacobovici, and their Campaign of Misinformation against Prof. Yuval Goren

בלגן (balagan): noun. (modern Hebrew, from Russian). 1) a chaotic mess of confusion and nonsense. 2) a state of extreme confusion and disorder.


There is something quite foul coming from Israel, being wafted about by the pages of Biblical Archaeology Review, and perhaps not surprisingly, the stench appears to be pointing back to Robert Deutsch and Simcha Jacobovici.

Archaeology professors from the Nadler Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University recently responded to a cheap and petty series of attacks on the integrity and archaeological methodology of one of their own, Dr. Yuval Goren, Professor of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University.

The attack comes in the form of a paid advertisement published in the most recent issues of Biblical Archaeological Review (BAR), which accuses Prof. Goren of “CATER-PILLAGING the Stratigraphy of Tel Socoh”. The ad features a photo of Prof. Goren standing in front of a JCB, a mechanical backhoe.

An anonymous advertisement depicting Prof. Yuval Goren of Tel Aviv University (later revealed to have been paid for and placed by Robert Deutsch) appears in the May/June 2013 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review on page 29.

An anonymous advertisement depicting Prof. Yuval Goren of Tel Aviv University (later revealed to have been paid for and placed by Robert Deutsch) appears in the May/June 2013 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review on page 29.

The initial publication of this photograph was followed by an email from Robert Deutsch to the Archaeonews list-serv on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 9:47 AM, which read:

“To: archaeonews@archaeological-center.com
Subject: Re: [Archaeonews] A picture is worth a thousand words

Dear List Members

Attached is a picture which appears on page 29 in the recent May/June 2013 BAR Magazine entitled:

Cater-Pillaging the Stratigraphy of Tel Socho

Socho is a biblical town in the Elah Valley located between the ancient cities of Qeiyafa and Azekah
(Joshua 15:35; 1 Samuel 17:1), some 25 Km. south-west of Jerusalem. Its name is mentioned among the
four towns impressed on the so called royal LMLK jar handles from the time Hezekiah king of Judah.

Instead of advanced nano-archaeological investigation we see destructive mecano-archaeology.

As mentioned in the Subject: “A picture is worth a thousand words”

I will appreciate your comments

Sincerely
Robert Deutsch”

What the anonymous, unsigned ad on the pages of BAR does not state, what the email above Archaeonews email does not claim, but what I confirmed in a phone conversation with an administrator at BAR immediately after the initial appearance of the ad, is that the BAR ad was paid for and placed by none other than Israeli antiquities dealer Robert Deutsch, who was indicted by an Israeli court a few years ago as a co-conspirator with antiquities dealer Oded Golan, who was indicted for, among other things, allegedly forging an inscription that purportedly reads, “Jacob (or James), Son of Joseph, Brother of Joshua (or Jesus)”, on what has come to be called the “James Ossuary“.

I commented publicly on Jim West’s blog on April 28, 2013 that Deutsch was, in fact, behind the purchase and placement of the ad, stating:

Jim,

BAR didn’t run a story, rather, that photo and the caption around it was actually a 1/4 page ad taken out and paid for by non-other than Robert Deutsch. He had originally spammed a bunch of us trying to get bloggers to give his ‘ad’ a little publicity.

Deutch’s claims are, of course, deliberately misleading.

(NOTE: Don’t miss the bizarre exchange in the comments following my comment, from Robert Deutsch himself. His refusal to claim authorship of the ad and his highly disconnected responses offer a glimpse into irrationality of his argument.)

This week, BAR confirmed that Robert Deutsch did indeed purchase and place the ad in a statement, which reads in part:

“The advertisement in BAR was paid for by Robert Deutsch, a leading Israeli antiquities dealer…”

So we now have confirmation that Robert Deutsch purchased and placed the anonymous, unsigned ads criticizing Prof. Goren in the pages of BAR for using a mechanical excavator.

But why would Robert Deutsch do this? What possible motive would Mr. Deutsch have for attacking a professional archaeologist anonymously?

In 2005, Robert Deutsch promised to take revenge for being indicted in the Oded Golan forgery case, vowing to sue “the IAA [Israel Antiquities Authority] and its agents personally“:

“The public announcements and press conference by the IAA during this last week (December 2004), in which they purposely linked my name to a host of allegedly illegal activities with which the IAA knows that I have absolutely no connection, leaves me no alternative but to immediately file suit against the IAA and its agents personally, for irreversibly damaging my name and reputation and for the serious financial consequences of their malicious and criminal acts.” [Emphasis mine]

Upon his acquittal, Robert Deutsch again promised to have his revenge. In multiple comments (here and here) on the ASOR Blog, Robert Deutsch declared:

“I was acquitted of all the fabricated charges and I will sue the IAA after having my scholarly reputation ruined by the false accusations.”

and

“They ruin my name and for that I will sue them for all of my expenses and all of my damages.”

and

“All they were trying to do was spoil my name – and they will pay for that.”

and

“For all of these things, they will pay, they are the real criminals here, ruining a scholar’s name and reputation. I don’t mind how long it will take, they will pay.”

and

“No amount of money can compensate enough for all the damage they have caused to me.”

BAR also published Deutsch’s intent to sue the IAA, and followed it with the publication of a separate article entitled “Robert Deutsch to Sue IAA“, which largely echoed comments he made elsewhere on blogs and message boards.

Indeed, can we now state that it appears Mr. Deutsch has begun his campaign of revenge, at least against Prof. Goren?

Golan and Deutsch were acquitted of antiquities forgery at the trial’s conclusion when the judge ruled that there was not enough evidence to prove that Golan executed the inscribed text on the ossuary. However, the judge also warned that the acquittal of Golan on forgery charges should not be read as a judgment on the authenticity of the ossuary nor its inscription, which a healthy majority of scholars consider to be a forgery.

During the trial, Prof. Yuval Goren testified on behalf of the IAA that the inscription was a modern forgery due to issues with the patina covering the inscribed areas. That is, he testified against Golan and Deutsch, on behalf of the IAA. To many readers, this could certainly provide potential motive for Mr. Deutsch’s present campaign against Prof. Goren, especially after repeatedly vowing to have his revenge against those who sought to “damage his name”. (Read Mr. Deutsch’s own words here.)

What is not immediately apparent is that the BAR ad is a complete misrepresentation of the facts, and suggests a number of outright falsehoods.

For one, the piece of equipment is not a Caterpillar, nor a bulldozer, but a JCB backhoe loader with a loader on the front end and a bucket scoop (or “backhoe”) on the back.

Second, the JCB is not on the Sochoh archaeological tel, but in the valley below. Archaeological squares were opened to ensure the careful, controlled excavation of the wadi below.

Third, Prof. Goren’s excavations at Tel Sochoh were carried out using the highest archaeological standards and methodology. As a supervisor at Sochoh’s partner excavation, Tel Azekah (we shared office, lab, and classroom space at Nes Harim), I witnessed daily the extraordinary care taken with the materials and stratigraphic evidence from the Tel Sochoh site. All finds were processed with the highest standards and archaeological contexts were preserved with the utmost detail.

Prof. Yuval Goren works in the archaeological office at Nes Harim, which houses the staff of the Sochoh and Azekah archaeological excavations. I took this photo from my station in the lab.

Prof. Yuval Goren works in the archaeological office at Nes Harim, which houses the staff of the Sochoh and Azekah archaeological excavations. I took this photo from my station in the lab.

Fourth, the use of mechanical excavators is minimal, but common in modern archaeology. Mechanical excavators are commonly used to clean areas in preparation for manual excavation, remove heavy debris like stones and felled trees, to remove previously excavated and replaced backfill documented in prior excavations, and to open controlled test probes for the purposes of determining whether assets should be deployed to new area for the purposes of manual excavation in areas where ground penetrating radar is unable to yield verifiable results.

As Rogue Classicism points out, the Archaeological Institute of America‘s “Ask an Archaeologist” page includes the use of mechanical excavators in modern excavations:

What tools do archaeologists use for excavation?
Archaeologists use a great variety of tools for excavation, depending on the nature of the area in which they are working. The most common digging tools are picks, shovels, and trowels. In areas where there is a lot of sediment or dirt over the sites, archaeologists sometimes use heavy equipment like bulldozers and back hoes, but only to remove earth that shows no signs of human remains. If excavation will be a delicate operation, as during the careful cleaning away of soil from a damaged painting or human skull, archaeologists use dental picks, spoons, brushes, or anything that works. They often improvise based on the situation in which they find themselves. [Emphasis mine]

Nearly every archaeological tel I’ve ever been associated with has used a mechanical excavator at one point or another. This much was made clear by Yuval Goren’s response to the initial ad, demonstrating that nearly every modern excavation in Israel employs mechanical excavators in their excavations.

Prof. Yuval Goren responds to criticism of the use of mechanical excavators with a short article on Scribd, which includes a montage of different modern excavations all using mechanical excavators.

Prof. Yuval Goren responds to criticism of the use of mechanical excavators with a short article on Scribd, which includes a montage of different modern excavations all using mechanical excavators.

Ironically, one archaeological site that Prof. Goren left out of his montage is the site of Bethsaida, excavated by Prof. Rami Arav of the University of Nebraska, Omaha. The Bethsaida Facebook page proudly displays publicly accessible photos of their use of mechanical excavators (JCB backhoe loaders to be precise).

One photo is located here:

JCB mechanical Excavator featured on the Bethsaida Excavations Facebook Page

JCB mechanical Excavator featured on the Bethsaida Excavations Facebook Page

Another photo is located here:

JCB mechanical Excavator featured on the Bethsaida Excavations Facebook Page

JCB mechanical Excavator featured on the Bethsaida Excavations Facebook Page

Prof. Arav just today responded to his own use of mechanical excavators at Bethsaida on Jim West’s blog, stating:

“I am delighted to see the interest in the Bethsaida Excavation Project. This project is an interactive educational project. We have just completed the 27 excavation season. Bethsaida was proved to be the capital city of the kingdom of Geshur. Where else we have a capital city of a kingdom in such a great state of preservation?

(Backhoes are used at Bethsaida only to remove dumps. The picture you see is removing dumps outside of the city walls. All backhoes jobs at Bethsaida are approved and supervised by IAA). Anyway, thanks for your interest at Bethsaida. It is indeed an amazing site without parallel.

Dr. Rami Arav
Director of the Bethsaida Excavations Project” [Emphasis mine]

[A short digression: Quite interestingly, a Co-Director of the Bethsaida excavation, Nicolae Roddy of Creighton University, was quick to follow up about claims that have been made by documentary filmmaker and TV archaeology enthusiast, Simcha Jacobovici, whose autobiographical information and whose PR staff (namely, one of Mr. Jacobovici’s Associate Producers, Nicole Austin, who is always quick to defend Mr. Jacobovici online) continually claim to be a “Co-Director of the Bethsaida excavations”. Prof. Roddy issued the following statement regarding Mr. Jacobovici’s involvement with the Bethsaida excavation:

“For the record, Simcha Jacobovici is not associated with the Bethsaida Excavations Project in any way, let alone as co-director. As co-director myself (for the past seventeen years), I would resign in a heartbeat if this were the case. As for the backhoe, I was there the day it filled in the long furrow left after the extraction of Syrian bunkers. It was not there doing archaeology of any sort.–

Nicolae Roddy, Creighton University”

Simcha Jacobovici's biography at his company's Associated Producers, Ltd.) website claims that he is a "co-director of the Bethsaida Excavation in the Galilee, Israel". Visit http://www.apltd.ca/pages/people/simcha-jacobovici for details.

Simcha Jacobovici’s biography at his company’s Associated Producers, Ltd.) website claims that he is a “co-director of the Bethsaida Excavation in the Galilee, Israel”.
Visit http://www.apltd.ca/pages/people/simcha-jacobovici for details.

The truth is that Mr. Jacobovici holds the honorary title of “Co-Director of the Bethsaida Excavations” (along with ten other individuals) because he serves as the leader of the Huntington University (of Canada) delegation, which contributed $2000 to the Bethsaida Excavations Consortium. The honorary “Co-Directors” have no authority over the site, nor the excavations. They are invited to attend an annual meeting, and are permitted to list themselves as “Co-Directors” as the leaders of a contributing consortium institutions. Because Mr. Jacobovici states that he was named as an adjunct professor at Huntington University (see image above), and because Huntington University is a contributing consortium member, Simcha Jacobovici can list the title of “Co-Director of the Bethsaida Excavations” on his resume, although the title is largely honorific, similar to those donors who give to a university and are rewarded with a honorific seat on a “University Board”, as opposed to those who are appointed to a university’s “Board of Regents”, and who exercise actual authority over the institution.

So do not be confused: I confirmed this morning that Simcha Jacobovici’s title of “Co-Director of the Bethsaida Excavation” is largely honorary. He has no authority regarding the site, nor the decisions made regarding its excavation. These decisions are left to the professional archaeologists running the excavation, led by Dr. Arav. Huntington University of Canada (where Mr. Jacobovici has been named an adjunct professor) donated $2000 to the consortium, and in exchange Mr. Jacobovici was granted the right to call himself a “Co-Director” with ten other contributing consortium leaders. Here ends my digression.]

Thus, the use of mechanical excavators is endorsed by the Israel Antiquities Authority and is used by the best and most reputable archaeologists in the field.

(NOTE: One should remember that the claim that “no one would go on record endorsing the bulldozer methodology” likely has more to do with the one asking the question (namely, Mr. Jacobovici), and less to do with standard archaeological practice. Given their past experience with certain sensationalizing individuals pretending to be archaeologists on TV, the IAA may very well have developed a practice of not responding to certain archaeological amateurs and others who are only looking to misrepresent any answer the IAA might give. Their silence is likely a result of the person asking the question, not practice in question.

But again, I digress.)

This brings us to the joint response from a host of archaeology professors at Tel Aviv University, which clearly spells out the case I have made above.

In response to the BAR ad, the faculty of the Marco and Sonia Nadler Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University issued the following statement:

Statement by faculty members of the Marco and Sonia Nadler Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University, regarding the alleged use of mechanical excavator at Tel Socoh

A defamatory, anonymous paid advertisement, alleging that Prof. Yuval Goren of the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University has used a mechanical excavator to “pillage stratigraphy” in the excavation of Tel Socoh in the Shephelah, has again been published in the Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR). Those who read BAR should note that:

1. There was no use of a mechanical excavator on Tel Socoh.

2. The slide shown in the ad illustrates work carried out in a wadi near the mound, as a sequel to a systematic manual excavation from surface to natural soil nearby. The sounding was aimed at detecting pottery and slag in the vicinity of the site. This method is authorized (and endorsed) by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

3. This is a common method in archaeology. Most seasoned archaeologists – regardless of period of research, location on the globe, and institutional affiliation – use mechanical excavators in certain, closely controlled circumstances.

Signed: Oded Lipschits, Erez Ben Yosef, Shlomo Bunimovitz, Yoram Cohen, Alexander Fantalkin, Israel Finkelstein, Moshe Fischer, Yuval Gadot, Amir Gilan, Raphael Greenberg, Zeev Herzog, Dafna Langgut, Nadav Na’aman, Benjamin Sass, Deborah Sweeney, Oren Tal

Thus, it is abundantly clear that mechanical excavators are a part of the standard tool box available to modern, licensed, approved archaeologists. This is not in question. It is legal. It is legitimate. It is approved by the IAA in licensed excavations. Mechanical backhoes are present at some point or another at just about every site. There is nothing wrong with the use of mechanical excavators in controlled archaeological contexts. This is fact. This is standard practice among professional archaeologists.

So we must return to our initial question: Why is Robert Deutsch paying for anonymous ads in Biblical Archaeology Review that accuse Prof. Yuval Goren of “Cater-pillaging” archaeological sites?

Given Mr. Deutch’s history with Prof. Goren, and given his public vow to retaliate against those involved in the IAA’s case against him, one cannot help but consider the possibility that this uninformed, unsigned ad, which is a deliberate misrepresentation of standard archaeological methodology, within the pages of BAR is, in fact, an attempt to sully the name and professional credibility of an established archaeological professional, namely, Prof. Yuval Goren.

If this is the case, one can understand why Robert Deutsch did not want to sign his name to the ad. As it is potentially defamatory, Robert Deutsch would be wise to take all precautions necessary to avoid the appearance that he is paying money to make false accusations and insinuations about the professional practices of Prof. Goren in the pages of BAR.

Of course, the irony is that THERE IS NO CONTROVERSY! It is a completely manufactured attempt at character assassination. Any “controversy” is the contrivance of Robert Deutsch (via his “anonymous” paid advertisements), and the opportunistic bandwagonning of Simcha Jacobovici and his PR machine.

Furthermore, one might conclude that this manufactured controversy may or may not be a continued attempt at retaliation against Prof. Goren for testifying not only against Oded Golan, but against the very authenticity of the so-called “James Ossuary” in an Israel forgery trial that concluded last year. Indeed, the claim of the authenticity of the “James Ossuary” is one thing shared in common by Mr. Deutsch, Mr. Jacobovici, and BAR Editor-In-Chief Hershel Shanks.

The ad is intended to smear the reputation of Prof. Goren. That is its sole purpose. It is not journalism, it is a paid attack ad. And now that the truth has been made public, this causes potential legal trouble for Robert Deutsch and BAR.

And this brings us to the recent efforts of Simcha Jacobovici. Readers should continue to dismiss Mr. Jacobovici’s colorful imagination, who views the facts of this particular case as something that must be obscured until is fits whatever conspiratorial theory he is arguing this week. And this week, it is backhoes at Tel Sochoh (but apparently nowhere else).

At no point is this more evident than Mr. Jacobovici’s recent series of blog posts, in which he compounds mistake upon mistake, and hypocrisy upon hypocrisy. In fact, at one point, Mr. Jacobovici’s attempts at fanning the flames of this manufactured controversy became so irresponsible (and glaringly self-evident), that he has already had to issue an apology for citing a dead woman as testifying in his own defense.

I kid you not!

This past week, Mr. Jacobovici stunningly included archaeologist Orna Zimhoni, M.A. (ז״ל), who passed away in 1996, among a list of scholars that reportedly refused to sign the Tel Aviv statement (seen above). Simcha wrote,

“Also notable by their absence are Tel Aviv archaeologists Ran Barkay, Avi Gopher and Drs. Mario Martin and Orna Zimhoni.”

Now, not only is Mario Martin (as brilliant as he is) a post-doc and not a faculty member at Tel Aviv University, but Mr. Jacobovici appallingly listed the deceased Orna Zimhoni as one who consciously did not sign the statement! (Mr. Jacobovici later issued a apology, but only via email, and not on his blog. Mr. Jacobovici simply corrected his mistake by deleting the name of Ms. Zimhoni from his blog post, and now apparently from his Times of Israel editorial, which now also appears corrected.) This opportunistic, yet highly insensitive attempt to use a deceased archaeologist in support of his claim, only demonstrates Mr. Jacobovici’s lack of research ability and his underscores his careless rush to condemn those with whom he disagrees.

But we have come to expect this of Mr. Jacobovici: facts are merely optional nuisances, and the dead will speak on his behalf if his opportunism finds it convenient. For shame, Simcha, seriously. Is this the kind of “investigative research” we are to expect from Mr. Jacobovici? The dead now speak on your behalf?

I shake my head. But it gets worse.

There is a much greater hypocrisy present in Mr. Jacobovici’s recent blog posts, and I’m not sure whether we’re dealing with sheer ignorance, sheer stupidity, or sheer hypocrisy. I fear we are dealing with all three.

After bloviating incessantly about the use of mechanical excavators in multiple posts on his blog this past week, it was revealed that the very Bethsaida excavation of which Mr. Jacobovici claims to “Co-Director”, ALSO USES MECHANICAL EXCAVATORS!! (See the images above.) Simcha’s ignorance of standard archaeological practice is surpassed only by his own hypocrisy. Rami Arav can use mechanical backhoes at Bethsaida, but Prof. Goren cannot at Tel Sochoh? This makes sense?

I’m stunned.

Simcha Jacobovici has the archaeological credibility of a 30 shekel note*: it appears legit to those who don’t know any better, but anyone who has ever done archaeology in Israel knows that it’s fake, fake, fake. Simcha Jacobovici reminds me of the pundits who appear on CNN during political campaigns right after the debates, whose professional job it is to feign outrage at “controversies” manufactured the campaigns paying them to do so.

I shake my head.

But shaking one’s head is all one can really do for this entire sad, manufactured episode that can only be described with one word: בלגן (balagan), a chaotic mess of confusion and nonsense. The sensationalist, vindictive triumvirate of Robert Deutsch, Simcha Jacobovici, and sadly (and again, surprisingly, given their recent progress), Biblical Archaeology Review, has manufactured a false controversy for the purposes of defaming a good scholar, Prof. Yuval Goren, who happens to disagree with them regarding the James Ossuary. It has become one big balagan, and the only appropriate action for legitimate scholars, real archaeologists, and the public to take is to shake their heads at Mr. Deutsch and Mr. Jacobovici and ignore them. Ignore their false claims. Ignore their manufactured controversies. And ignore their petty, vindictive contrivances.

As for BAR, I do not believe it is necessary for them to apologize, but I do hope they issue a simple statement similar to the statement they released this morning, along the lines of something like, “Given the recent facts that have come to light, and the obvious falsehoods and misrepresentations present in one of our paid, third-party advertisements, BAR will no longer be publishing the paid advertisement placed by Robert Deutsch in the pages of our magazine.” This simple statement alone would demonstrate BAR‘s good faith in this matter, and would do much to correct the misinformation (and potentially actionable defamation) campaign waged by Mr. Deutsch and Mr. Jacobovici, which may have been inadvertently published on several occasions by Biblical Archaeology Review. (I am pleased to see that BAR has at least outed Robert Deutsch as the author of the anonymous ad.)

Robert Deutsch is misrepresenting the work of Prof. Yuval Goren, and yet didn’t even have the backbone to sign or state the origin of his defamatory advert. Likewise, Mr. Jacobovici is taking his typical, opportunistic verbal swings at real archaeologists by parroting Mr. Deutsch’s misrepresentation of the facts. Therefore, it is time for the academic world and the general public once again to ignore Mr. Jacobovici and Mr. Deutsch, as throughout this entire balagan, they have more than demonstrated their lack of credibility, rush to judgment, and mistreatment of simple facts. For them, the truth is a simple nuisance which must be spun, massaged, manipulated, obscured, and sensationalized into armaments for their own personal PR battles.

The best thing to do is to illuminate the truth, expose the facts, demonstrate the PR-driven falsehood of the entire episode, and then ignore them both, for that would be the most powerful and most effective response of all.

And as for Robert Deutsch, the academy should continue to remain vigilant as he continues to exact the retribution he has vowed repeatedly to take. If he attempts another cowardly anonymous campaign of character assassination against someone he feels has wronged him, fear not: just follow the money and shine a light into the darkness, and his duplicity will be exposed, just as it has been in this entire balagan.

For in this regrettable episode, Mr. Deutsch and Mr. Jacobovici have failed in a spectacular way. And they will once again be relegated to the periphery, where the din of the ignorant, the vindictive, and the conspiratorial is occasionally loud, but is ultimately ignored and forgotten.

So, to what shall I compare the archaeological credibility of Mr. Jacobovici and Mr. Deutsch following this entire balagan perpetrated by their own self interests? They are not unlike a piece of basalt, which at first appeared shiny and impressive in the archaeological square. But after archaeologists and scholars dug a little deeper, they soon realized the basalt was a hard, stubborn, intrusive nuisance to the remainder of the archaeological activity being done all around it. So what did they do? And what became of the piece of intrusive basalt? The archaeologists sledged it repeatedly (with logic, of course) until it was broken it into multiple fragments (of debunked rhetoric, of course), and safely removed it from the archaeological square…with a JCB, of course.


UPDATE 1: Noah Wiener, the Web Editor for the Biblical Archaeology Society website, contacted me to notify me that he has located the broken link to the “Robert Deutsch to Sue the IAA” article and has fixed it. You can access the article here. To adjust for the correction, I have altered the original line: “(It may be worth noting, however, that a separate BAR article entitled “Robert Deutsch to Sue IAA” has mysteriously disappeared from the BAR website.)” to reflect the corrected link.

*UPDATE 2: It occurs to me that some not familiar with Israeli currency might not realize that there is no such thing as a 30 shekel note. It’s like a $3 bill. They do not exist. Any that do are fake.

“The Resurrection Tomb Mystery” live blog by Robert Cargill

This will be the live blog of the premier of Simcha Jacobovici’s “The Resurrection Tomb Mystery” on the Discovery Channel on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 9:00 PM Central.

This blog will be updated frequently and will be corrected/altered throughout the hour. (Please forgive misspellings and grammatical errors, as this is rapid fire.) I shall edit and make the text into a more coherent narrative when it’s over.

Other live blogs taking place: Mark Goodacre, Thomas Verenna.

=====

9:00 BEGIN

Disclaimer. Use your own judgment. Wise words.

9:01 Preview/Ad Intro. Seen this before.

Jesus’ crucifixion is being reenacted.

Intro Joseph of Arimathea. Wha?

Cut to Church of the Holy Sepulcher. True: no archaeological evidence of resurrection

Unused tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. OK. What’s the connection?

1980 in Talpiot (I didn’t know they had footage of that. ;-)

Talpiot Tomb: removed 10 ossuaries.

2007: Intro Simcha ‘Re-discovering” the tomb

Rehash 2007 “Jesus Family Tomb” info.

Made same mistake about the Mariamme name.

First talking head: James Tabor

Footage of Simcha doing what he does best: press conference

Simcha plays to the RELIGIOUS outrage (not Scientific)

1981: Archaeologists discover 2nd Talpiot Tomb

Showed Kloner’s B&W photos. Funny how Simcha kept saying this was an unexcavated tomb, when someone has already been in it, photographed it, and published it…

Nephesh pipe was cemented closed.

Simcha believes the tombs possess evidence of of Christianity, perhaps even the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. How/why?

James Tabor is giving a location arguing that because it is between the Herodion, The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Hill of Ill Counsel.

Somehow this location is “central” because there are important things on all sides???? There are things EVERYWHERE in Jerusalem. Bathrooms and felafel stands are significant by that logic.

Arimathea evidence is circumstantial. It means, “Two Hills?” That’s all? No evidence has been presented. Anywhere you stand in Jerusalem there are 2 hills!

Cut to Haredim not wanting Simcha to mess with the tombs.

They say he is like a Nazi. Simcha doesn’t appreciate that.

Simcha reminds viewers that he is the son of Holocaust survivors. (He must not appreciate people implying that he is anti-Semitic when they should know better.)

Simcha has negotiations with Haredim’s rabbi.

Simcha agrees never to touch the contents of the tomb.

Simcha’s team does Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) in the apartment to detect presence of tomb.

9:10 COMMERCIAL BREAK

9:13 BACK

Review. Must figure to figure out how to get in.

Historian JAMES TABOR. Archaeologist RAMI ARAV. Narrator notes that Rami Arav was not involved in previous projects.

WALTER KLASSEN is cool! Amazing device. Tremendous potential for archaeology someday!

BILL TARANT (of General Electric Inspection Technologies)’s remote’s camera is very cool. The technology involved is legit. (Too bad it’s debut is with sensationalist documentary). I want one, or want Bill Tarant to sell me one. Wonder how much those cost?

Rome? Why Rome?

And why are we looking for evidence of Christianity? Do we want to find this? Predisposition anyone??

ROBIN JENSEN – expert on Early Christian Art

Earliest Christian symbols date to no earlier than the 4th Century

NOTE THAT THEY TOOK THE FISH THAT IS POINTING UP IN THE CATACOMBS AND ROTATED IT TO THE LEFT!!!! (I have a bad feeling about this.)

Robin Jensen establishes “Sign of Jonah” as symbol of the resurrection of Jesus. But notice she says nothing about SIMCHA’S ‘discovery’. She just provides background.

9:17: Cool music. Setting up to drill.

Simcha wants discovery!

9:18: Drilling. Drilling. Drilling.

Simcha wants to “Puts around with it all.”

Simcha just wants to get in.

9:19 They’re in.

9:19 Commercial

9:24 Back.

Walter Klassen shows up with amazing technology.

Again with the Joseph of Arimathea? That’s the THIRD time he’s been mentioned with absolutely NO evidence of him at all.

Two holes. One to see and one to search.

Simcha’s moment of truth.

Remember, Simcha has claimed that this is all live and real time.

Simcha is a pilot. (I think he said that.)

CGI is well done. Simcha’s CGI folks get an A+ (especially since we see so much of it in the documentary. And the press. And the book. And the website.)

So the niche closest to the door is the owner of the tomb?

Again with Arimathea? That’s FOUR now.

Intro snake camera.

Simcha is looking for a name.

They find ornate ossuary. But that is not evidence of Arimathea.

Others? Who?

Design in the center is a Nephesh? A symbolic reference to the afterlife?

They appear to be looking for something that ‘s not there.

Next niche with 3 ossuaries.

Simcha explains that we should expect to find a graffito. Prophetic!

MARA Greek inscription. Now Mara is buried here?

Note who is in that shot.

Now more of the Mariamme rehash. Like the book, much of it is Lost Tomb rehash.

Oops. Breakdown and stuck.

9:30 Cut to commercial.

(Commercial break side note: Remember – we should not expect to find graven images on Jewish tombs. we should find vessels (which we find on many ossuaries from Jerusalem) and geometric shapes like circles squares, triangles, Xs, and braids.)

9:34 Back!

Discussing the break to the equipment.

How are they going to get that out of there? They can’t go in the tomb.

Simcha sits sad and dejected.

They finally pulled out.

Now they’re looking back in the tomb.

Niche 3 Human skeletal remains.

The camera posses over a pelvis, but the re-enactment cuts to a skull.

Last niche. Last Chance.

Rami Arav points where he wants to look. Remember, Simcha says this is real-time.

Simcha finds something.

Walter spots a pair of intersecting lines, but calls it a cross.

“Ya ya ya ya ya ya ya ya ya!”

Correct: 4th century CE

If the cross… speculative and circular.

Better cut to commercial so people don’t think about it to hard.

Maybe when they come back from commercial, they’ll just assume they’ve found a cross and move on.

9:39: Commercial

9:42 Back

Wonder what we’ll find at the climax of the show?

Simcha: We have a pillar, a “Christian cross”, and a Mara inscription

But Tabor wants more.

SIMCHA SEES SOMETHING!

SIMCHA MAKES THE DISCOVERY!

There’ the vocals of the “Jesus Face” video.

It’s a NEPHESH (RAMI). Great thinking Rami!!! Stick with that!

“Handles!” Yes. Stick with that too!!!

SEE WHEN THEY TURNED IT TO THE SIDE, THEY CALLED IT A WHALE, A FISH

THE SYMBOL OF XN RZRXN. (That’s shorthand for Christian Resurrection.)

Cut to CGI Photoshopped image!!!

THAT IS NOT THE IMAGE!!! THAT IS COMPLETELY PHOTOSHOPPED!! SHOW THE REAL IMAGE

There HOLY CRAP! LOOK AT THEM OVERLAP THE TAILS AND DIGITALLY INK THE “FISH IN THE MARGINS”.

NOW THEY’RE GLOWING! SHOW THE ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPH!!!!

AND THEY KEEP SHOWING THE PHOTOSHOP IMAGE. AND IT’S ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ON ITS SIDE!!!! OUT OF ORIENTATION.

Tabor explains that they have the ‘earliest xn evidence ever.’

AND THEY KEEP SHOWING THE PHOTOSHOP IMAGE ON ITS SIDE!!!!!!!!!!

AND NOW, THEY’VE FOUND THAT THEY WANTED TO FIND.

Cut to Kloner’s photographs.

Are they mixing up the ossuaries?

FISH?

And there is ARIMATHEA AGAIN! Where the heck is the evidence for Arimathea?????? NOTHING. Yet how many mentions now, FIVE?

9:48 Commercial.

Ouch. that hurt my head.

WTF?? DID YOU SEE THEM DIGITALLY INK THE CIRCLES/OVALS IN THE BORDERS? HOLY CRAP! THEY SHOWED AN OVAL, THAT WASN’T CLOSED, AND THEY INKED IT WITH GLOWING INK INTO OVERLAPPED TAILS LIKE JESUS FISH ON THE BACKS OF CARS!!!!!I feel like I’m driving through Colorado Springs!

Why not show the actual ovals?

9:52 Back.

Summary coming back from commercial assumes they found Jonah.

INSCRIPTION.

“That’s it baby!”

Greek inscription. 4 lines.

JAMES CHARLESWORTH shows up.

I wonder if he’ll find the name of Jonah in the bottom?

YHWH??

“I am lifted up says Jesus,” says Charlesworth. Really? That’s what you read?

“From the dead????”

I wonder if Simcha liked Charlesworth yelling Yahweh.

Again great CGI. Simcha is great at CGI.

“GOD YHWH RAISE UP RAISE UP” in alternating lines of Greek Hebrew Greek Hebrew

YHWH is a problem in Jewish ossuaries

Now it’s “LORD JESUS RISE UP! RISE UP!”

What just happened?

The tomb where Jesus is dead and buried only a few meters away is celebrated by Christians who believe he is resurrected?

95% convinced.

James Tabor is the 95%! :)

Charlesworth speaks:

WHALE. HUMAN BEING.

Good grief. The sound editing on Charlesworth’s quote was horrid. They chopped that up into a gillion pieces. I wonder what he really said?

[Here’s what I added after re-watching the recording. This is Charlesworth’s quote as it stands in the documentary:

“The significance of what we have seen for the first time, and any eye has seen for 2000 years, is that we have a <em>whale</em>, with a mouth that’s closed, not a whale that’s swallowing someone, and out of that mouth comes a human being. [cut] This symbol here in Jerusalem, near where Jesus was crucified, not far away, is the symbol of the [terrible cut] belief that Jesus [cut] is raised. [cut] This is within [cut] decades [cut] of Jesus’ death.”

It’s almost like he originally said something other than ‘symbol of the belief in Jesus…’ It also sounds like he originally said something other than ‘This is within decades of Jesus’ death.” The question is: what did he originally say? Simcha and Tabor said elsewhere that ‘they probably heard him preach” and “they probably knew him.” Did Charlesworth originally echo that and say something like, “This is within the time of Jesus’ death?” or “This is within the first decade of Jesus’ death?” And why did they change it? All I know is he got butchered. ]

Tabor explains how it is possible that Christians celebrated Jesus’ SPIRITUAL resurrection, while the dead and buried bones of Jesus are just meters away.

Summary is awful. Someone should debunk that in 2 minutes in a CNN interview.

10:00 DONE

Summary:

40 minutes of digging and rehash of Jesus Family Tomb

15 minutes of speculation.

The narrator states at the end that now it’s up to scholars. The problem is that scholars debunked this bunk a month ago, literally 2 weeks after the book was released.

We kept being told, “Just wait for the documentary. You’ll see the actual pictures.” But there were none. There were better pictures on the website. The documentary kept showing a rotated vessel and inked circles to make them look like ‘fish’. And you now see why they rotated the fish from the catacombs scene. It’s a visual trick to prime the brain to see similar fish.

Again, they found what they wanted to find. They knew better. They said “Nephesh.” They said, “Handles.” And yet that didn’t fit what they wanted to find. So, the Photoshopped it and rotated it and inked the circles in the margins to make Jesus fish and sold it to the audience.

Then, they translated the inscription into saying precisely what they needed it to say to support what they wanted to find.

We learned nothing new. There were some dramatic reenactments. The camera and robotic are were cool. Klassen and Tarant are to be commended. Hopefully they can be used in a real excavation in the future.

But I’m very sorry: there is no evidence of Christianity in either of those tombs. They resorted to showing digitally manipulated images (the so-called “Jonah fish’ rotated to its side, AND the glowing Jesus fishes) to try and convince the viewer. But only those who really want to believe will be convinced.

I seriously kept waiting for Giorgio Tsoukalos to show up and make my joy complete and say that aliens, not Joseph of Arimathea, put the ossuaries in there.

And what was with all the references to Joseph of Arimathea? If I didn’t know any better, based upon the continued references to Joseph of Arimathea, and yet ABSOLUTELY ZERO evidence presented about him, I’d argue that there WAS originally a segment on evidence for Joseph of Arimathea that got edited out, perhaps when Discovery cut the time from 2 hours to 1 hour, or perhaps when certain images of mailboxes and green signs appeared in the internet. Either way, it was a lot of narrative investment in talk about Joseph of Arimathea without a single shred of evidence to support it.
(SEE UPDATE BELOW!)

They should have reported the graffito inscription of the rather interesting inscribed Greek vessel on the side of the ossuary. That would have been a solid contribution to archaeology. Problem is, Discovery Channel doesn’t want to buy a documentary titled, “Rather Interesting Inscribed Greek Vessel: DECODED.” They want “JESUS SPIRITUALLY, YET NOT PHYSICALLY RESURRECTION TOMB MYSTERY.”

What’s interesting is that they blamed believing xns last time around for not wanting to believe Simcha had found the dead and buried bones of Jesus. Weirdly, this time around, they’ve been saying that Christians should want to believe this because they found evidence of Resurrection. However, as Dr. Tabor explained, they found evidence of SPIRITUAL resurrection and exaltation, not PHYSICAL resurrection. How are xns going to react to the claim that Jesus wasn’t PHYSICALLY resurrected? Doubting Thomas please sit down. You never touched him.

And we can expect Simcha to say, “See the xns don’t WANT to believe this discovery,” and then from that attempt to deduce that therefore his discoveries and conclusions are true.

But, of course, it’s not just people of faith who are disagreeing, but scholars.

I do like how they’ve already ditched the Jonah stick man argument and are now desperately looking for the letters of the name of Jonah in a Rorschach Test. Is someone trying to save face? When you dig yourself in a hole, put down the shovel.

Final thoughts:

A) There is no ‘Jonah’s Great Fish.’ It’s some sort of Greek vessel like we find on dozens of other ossuaries from Jerusalem. The image used in the documentary was actually a CGI, Photoshopped composite turned on its side to make it look more like a fish. See here.

B) There are no ‘fish in the margins.’ They are simple ovals or circles that surround the image along with a number of standard geometric shapes, including a simple braided border, stacked triangles, squares with X’s in them, and simple ovals or circles. In fact, the image of the so-called ‘fish in the margins’ that Simcha’s team had first released on their website was shown to be Photoshopped; They added ‘digital ink’ to extend the lines of the ovals to make them look like fish with crossed tails like the ‘Jesus fish’ you’d find on the backs of cars. They added glowing ink in the documentary.

C) There is no cross. It is nothing more than a pair or intersecting parallel lines.

D) They claim that the inscription possesses the Tetragrammaton, the personal name of God, but the only scholars who read the personal name of God are already working with Simcha on this or previous projects.

E) Finally, there is no ‘Jonah.’ They had been arguing that the half-spherical base of the vessel was the ‘seaweed wrapped head of stick figure Jonah.’ But, this was SO absurd, they just last night, they’ve changed their position and are arguing that a bunch of randomly etched lines spell out the Hebrew name of “Jonah.” The problem with this is that the first three letters of the name of Jonah in Hebrew, yod, waw, and nun, are essentially differing lengths of straight or slightly curved lines. They are looking at these simple lines and trying to make letters out of them like one would look at a Rorschach Test and make it be something. Their previous “stick figure Jonah’s head’ argument was so weak, they appear to have ‘cut bait’ (no pun intended) and have moved on to “Rorschach Test Archaeology.”

F) There were no additional images to convince scholars of anything. This was very disappointing. The website has better photos. I learned nothing new about the claims tonight. And since the Jesus Discovery website doesn’t show all of the images that are available (like the one peering behind Ossuary 5 that reveals the handles at the top of the vessel on Ossuary 6 – Remember, fish don’t have handles!), then we’re left with beig forced to conclude that there IS no more evidence, and the reason that they kept referring to the Photoshopped CGI image is because any closer look at the photos will contradict their conclusions.

G) At the end of the day, the entire documentary is essentially an apologetic for the belief in a spiritually, and not physically resurrected Jesus. In 2007, Simcha claimed he had discovered the bones of a very dead Jesus buried next to his wife and his family. This year, Simcha claims to have found the earliest ‘evidence’ of Christian celebration of a resurrected Jesus. This means that we must ignore biblical accounts like those of ‘Doubting Thomas,’ who wanted to touch the body of the physically resurrected Jesus, and redefine ‘resurrection’ as the ‘spiritual resurrection and exhalation.’ Simcha and Dr. Tabor seem to be setting out to find apologetic evidence for a set of modern beliefs that understands Jesus as ‘spiritually’ resurrected, but not ‘physically’ resurrected.”

Because they obviously don’t have the evidence, and yet they claim this evidence, the question we must ask becomes this: who would benefit most from the discovery of first century evidence of a Christian belief in a spiritually, but not physically resurrected Jesus?

Who do you know who believes in a physically unresurrected, but spiritually resurrected and exalted Jesus?

The answer to that question will tell us much more about the possible motive behind Simcha and Dr. Tabor’s otherwise circumstantial and highly spurious conclusions.

OK. Done. Time for bed.

In the words of Gerald Ford, let us hope “our long national nightmare is over.” :)


UPDATE:
April 26, 2012 – Jim West is reporting that in the Canadian 90-minute version of the documentary, there IS a segment dedicated to the signs on the apartment mailbox and buzzer that have little signs that say הרמתי, or “Arimathea” on them.

The green sign above mailbox 4 appears to be a little different shade of green than the rest of the green mailbox signs. Likewise, the little green sign to the left of the buzzer seems to be a little lighter shade of green than the rest of the buzzer signs. A screen capture image of the apartment mailbox and buzzer system from the Canadian Jesus Discovery documentary appears to reveal that the small green doorbell sign that read “Arimathea” may have been added/replaced more recently than the other signs above and below it (which would explain the slightly different color and typeset/font).

What is more, note that when the camera zooms in on the buzzer, there appears to be an over-sized sign that reads הרמתי, which is so large that it now partially covers the speaker!!! Likewise, the names of the other folks appear to be blank, while the massive הרמתי sign is clearly visible.

So, based upon this evidence, I shall speculate (and mind you this is only speculation) the following:

  1. It appears that someone replaced the standard/old green sign (that appear on nearly all of the other mailboxes) on the Apartment #4 mailbox with a more recent, slightly lighter green הרמתי (“Arimathea”) sign in a slightly different typeset/font. (We don’t know who or why it was added/replaced, but it appears to have been done.)
  2. It appears that someone replaced the smaller standard/old green sign (that appear on nearly all of the other buzzers) in the buzzer/doorbell signs with a more recent, slightly lighter green sign. (Again, we don’t know who or why it was added/replaced, but it appears to have been done.)
  3. Furthermore, it appears that the new, slightly lighter green הרמתי (“Arimathea”) sign wasn’t enough to convince viewers, so for the close up of the buzzer, an ADDITIONAL, much larger, handwritten הרמתי (“Arimathea”) sign was placed next to the doorbell with the slightly greener doorbell sign on it, AND, all of the other doorbell signs were obscured. Again, the side-by-side images on Dr. West’s blog clearly show that a larger “Arimathea” sign has been added to the doorbell for the documentary close-up.

Also note that all of this supposed “evidence” is referred to by the documentary as an “omen,” as if the fact that someone named הרמתי (“Arimathea”) lived in this apartment for the past 2000 years, and that fact is further evidence that the tomb beneath the East Jerusalem apartment is the tomb of Jesus.

But let’s be honest – that’s IMPOSSIBLE given the fact that:

  1. It appears the הרמתי (“Arimathea”) signs were added/replaced more recently than the remainder of the mailbox and doorbell signs
  2. The apartment has only been around since around 1980! Remember the tomb was DISCOVERED when construction workers were building the new apartment in East Talpiot (or Armon HaNetziv), East Jerusalem, a West Bank neighborhood that was annexed by Israel following the Six Day War. The apartment is only a few decades old, and the הרמתי (“Arimathea”) signs appear to be even more recent than that.

And yet, this is all some sort of “omen” that Simcha and his camera crew are on the right track in finding the “Tomb of Jesus” – just like Simcha repeatedly suggests (see the 1:40 and 8:43 marks in this interview with Drew Marshall) that the “timing” of the Talpiot Tomb discoveries themselves are some sort of more-than-coincidental, “strange” omen, and not the product of a well-organized production schedule and press campaign designed to broadcast documentaries in the weeks before and after Easter.

This is all literally un-believable.

So, not only does this “Joseph of Arimathea” segment appear to have been deleted/edited out of the American 60-minute version of the film (which would explain the absence of any “evidence” for Joseph of Arimathea despite the multiple reference to Joseph of Arimathea throughout the documentary, but it also appears to have been set-up (at least the larger הרמתי sign) specifically for the documentary.

Camera tricks involving lighting, angles, zooming, and framing/cropping to support a claim, which are contradicted by subsequently released photos of the same object. Where have we seen this before? Unfortunately, it appears to be a systemic problem of the entire expedition, and the credibility and integrity of all of the images involved with the documentary are damaged by these quite amateurish camera tricks.

April 26, 2012 – Jim West is reporting that in the Canadian 90-minute version of the documentary, there IS, in fact, a segment dedicated to the signs on the apartment mailbox and buzzer that have little signs that say הרמתי, or “Arimathea” on them.

The green sign above mailbox 4 appears to be a little different shade of green than the rest of the green mailbox signs. Likewise, the little green sign to the left of the buzzer seems to be a slightly lighter shade of green than the rest of the buzzer signs. A screen capture image of the apartment mailbox and buzzer system from the Canadian The Jesus Discovery documentary appears to reveal that the small green doorbell sign that read “Arimathea” may have been added/replaced more recently than the other signs above and below it (which would explain the slightly different color and typeset/font).

What is more, note that when the camera zooms in on the buzzer, there appears to be an animated over-sized sign that reads הרמתי, which is blown up so large that it now partially covers the speaker!!! Likewise, the names of the other folks appear to be blank, while the enhanced הרמתי sign is clearly visible.

So, based upon this comparative evidence, I shall speculate (and mind you this is only speculation) the following:

  1. It appears that someone replaced the standard/old green sign (that appear on nearly all of the other mailboxes) on the apartment #4 mailbox with a more recent, slightly lighter green הרמתי (“Arimathea”) sign in a slightly different typeset/font. (We don’t know who or why it was added/replaced, but it appears to have been done.)
  2. It appears that someone replaced one of the smaller standard/old green doorbell/buzzer signs (that appear next to nearly all of the other doorbells) with a more recent, slightly lighter green sign. (Again, we don’t know who or why it was added/replaced, but it appears to have been done.)
  3. Furthermore, it appears that the new, slightly lighter green הרמתי (“Arimathea”) sign wasn’t enough to convince viewers, so for the close up of the buzzer, an ADDITIONAL zoom of a much larger, possibly handwritten(?) הרמתי (“Arimathea”) sign was placed next to the doorbell with the slightly greener doorbell sign beside it, AND, all of the other doorbell signs are somewhat obscured. Again, the side-by-side images on Dr. West’s blog clearly show that a larger “Arimathea” sign has been digitally zoomed next to the doorbell for the documentary close-up.

Also note that all of this supposed “evidence” is referred to by the documentary as an “omen,” as if the fact that someone named הרמתי (“Arimathea”) lived in this apartment for the past 2000 years, and that fact is supposedly further evidence that the tomb beneath the East Jerusalem apartment is the tomb of Jesus.

But let’s be honest – that’s IMPOSSIBLE given the fact that:

  1. It appears the הרמתי (“Arimathea”) signs were added/replaced more recently than the remainder of the mailbox and doorbell signs.
  2. The apartment has only been around since around 1980! Remember the tomb was DISCOVERED when construction workers were building the new apartment in East Talpiot (or Armon HaNetziv), East Jerusalem, a West Bank neighborhood that was annexed by Israel following the Six Day War. The apartment is only a few decades old, and the הרמתי (“Arimathea”) signs appear to be even more recent than that. Now, it could very well be the case that a new family coincidentally named “Arimathea” moved into the apartment after everyone else (which would explain the replaced, slightly lighter green signs), but I would consider this to be highly coincidental, and certainly would not be evidence that the tomb beneath the apartment has been in the “Arimathea” family since the first century.

And yet, this is all some sort of “omen” that Simcha and his camera crew are on the right track in finding the “Tomb of Jesus.” This is similar to other suggestions Simcha has made in the past, like those he made in this interview with Drew Marshall (see the 1:40 and 8:43 marks), where he suggests that the “timing” of the Talpiot Tomb discoveries themselves was some sort of more-than-coincidental, “strange” omen, and not the product of a well-organized production schedule and press campaign designed to broadcast documentaries in the weeks before and after Easter.

This is all literally UN-believable.

So, not only does this “Joseph of Arimathea” segment appear to have been deleted/edited out of the American 60-minute version of the film (which would explain the absence of any “evidence” for Joseph of Arimathea despite the multiple reference to Joseph of Arimathea throughout the documentary), but it also appears to have been enhanced (at least the digitally enlarged הרמתי sign) specifically for the documentary.

It appears we have yet another example of camera tricks involving lighting, angles, zooming, and framing to support a particular claim, which is then contradicted by subsequently released photos of the same object. Unfortunately, it appears to be a systemic problem of the entire expedition, and the credibility and integrity of all of the images involved with the documentary are damaged by these quite amateurish camera tricks and film making blunders.

near eastern archaeology vol 74 no 2 now available online

NEA CoverFrom the ASOR Blog:

ASOR is pleased to announce that NEA 74.2 (June 2011) has now been posted online at Atypon Link. This issue (and 4 years of back issues) is available to online subscribers of NEA and to ASOR members who have chosen an online subscription as part of their membership.

The following is an abbreviated table of contents:

-Stefan Münger, Jürgen Zangenberg and Juha Pakkala: Long Article on Kinneret
-Rami Arav, John F. Shroder Jr., Steven Notley: Forum Responses on Bethsaida
-Amihai Mazar: Forum Article on “The Iron Age Chronology Debate”
-Ann E. Killebrew, Lorenzo d’Alfonso, Brandon R. Olson: Fieldnotes
-Hans Barnard: Fieldnote
-Garth Gilmour: Fieldnote

A detailed table of contents is available here.

In fact, the last 4 years of ASOR journals are available to ASOR members. Click here for details.

Go, read, and learn.

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