Weekly Summary: 3rd January - 9th January, 2023

Each week, Studies of Biblical Interest brings you a brief summary of the discoveries, news items, and advances across the fields on which we focus. If you have a story you'd like us to share, please email the details to editors@biblicaljournal.org. A very Happy 2023 to all our readers!

The ancient capital of the Assyrian empire, Assur, is at risk of being flooded by a lake created by the Makhoul Dam on the Tigris River in Iraq. The dam's construction would not only destroy the 5,000-year-old city, but also more than 200 other archaeological sites and displace up to 250k people. In 2015, ISIS attempted to destroy many of Assur's monuments, and the city's structures, including the Tabira Gate and ziggurat, are facing degradation. The site is also unprotected, making it a target for looters and traffickers. The Assyrian empire subjugated much of the Near East, including the biblical kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

Analysis of stone tools attributed to the Ahmarian culture in the Near East (dated around 40,000-45,000 years ago) shows that small, symmetrical bladelets were mass-produced on-site, suggesting the use of bows and arrows. The findings, published in the Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology, support the idea that bladelets were central to the success of Homo sapiens during the Upper Paleolithic, as they allowed for long-range hunting and the successful dispersal of our species throughout Europe. The study also reveals that the Ahmarian culture had already made the technological and cultural shift to using small bladelets as spear or arrow tips.

A recent study in western Anatolia found that the Luwian culture, which existed between Mycenaean Greece and the Hittite kingdom in Central Asia Minor and covered a larger area than either, had an independent culture, language and hieroglyphic script that endured until around 700 BCE. The Luwian language was dominant in western and south-central Asia Minor during the second millennium BCE and the hieroglyphic script was in use for 500 years before the Mycenaean Greeks acquired writing skills. The study also found that the Luwian culture provided the substrate for the rise of later Early Iron Age cultures, including Lycian, Lydian and Carian, in western Asia Minor.

Why was a space-made iron dagger found with the mummy of Tutankhamun? The ancient Egyptians were able to craft the weapon, but how did they achieve this feat?

COVID-19 restrictions relaxed in 2022, leading to surge in finds at excavations and in library, revealing more about world and peoples of the Bible.