The Mystery of the Copper Scroll

“In the cistern which is under the wall on the eastern side, at the sharp edge of the rock: six silver bars; its entrance is under the large paving-stone.” Thus reads line eleven in column II of the most famous Dead Sea Scroll: the enigmatic Copper Scroll. It has two major features that make it…

“The Last Pope” Is Junk History

History Channel is running an original documentary called The Last Pope, and it’s two hours of hot garbage. Amidst endless padding relieved only by commercials, the documentary attempts to address the alleged prophecies of St. Malachy, and how they predict that Francis will be the last pope before the end of the world. Except… St. Malachy almost…

Does Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Prove the Shroud is Fake?

The Shroud of Turin may or may not be the authentic burial cloth of Jesus Christ, but the Latest Scientific Research (TM) doesn’t move the needle on that argument one direction or the other no matter how many “Shroud Proved Fake!” headlines you see. The new research was presented in 2014 at a conference in…

Burial in Ancient Israel: The Bronze Age

The Intermediate Bronze Age is so heavily marked by a rise in lavish burials that it’s one of the central features of the age. One of the largest ancient cemeteries in the Holy Land is at Bab edh-Dhra’, where 20,000 tombs have been discovered, including many shaft graves filled with grave offerings. An unusual feature…

Early Ossuaries and Shaft Tombs: Burial in Ancient Israel

During the Chalcolithic Period (the “Copper Age,” roughly beginning 5000BC), a new kind of burial started appearing along the coastal plain, at sites like Azor, Bene-Berak, and Hedera. This marks the first appearance of ossuaries, which will become a key element in the treatment of the dead. These early ossuaries are made of clay, and…