As we enter the New Year, here we list the top Biblical archaeology discoveries that amazed us in 2016! From a spectacular Philistine cemetery to a rare Hasmonean coin hoard, the year was filled with incredible finds. All dated well before the advent of Islam.
**The stories below are listed in no particular order**
First-Ever Philistine Cemetery Unearthed at Ashkelon
The first and only Philistine cemetery ever discovered has been found outside the walls of ancient Ashkelon.
Ancient Latrine: A Peek into King Hezekiah's Reforms in the Bible?
A millennia-old latrine discovered at Tel Lachish in Israel could be evidence of King Hezekiah's religious reforms enacted throughout the Kingdom of Judah in the eighth century B.C.E.
Jewish Purification: Stone Vessel Workshop Discovered in Galilee
An excavation at a cave in Galilee has uncovered what may be a 2,000-year-old stone vessel production center. In the first century C.E., Jews commonly used stone vessels in observance of Jewish purity laws.
Gold Nero Coin Comes to Light in Jerusalem
A rare gold coin depicting Roman emperor Nero was unearthed in excavations just outside the Old City of Jerusalem in Israel. This coin is especially significant because it was discovered on a scientific excavation, so its findspot is clear.
Givati Parking Lot Dig Unearths Rare Seal of Woman
Two First Temple period seals were discovered in the Givati Parking Lot excavations in Jerusalem. One seal belonged to a woman named Elihana bat Gael.
Inscription Reveals Governor of Judea Before the Bar-Kokhba Revolt
Who was the Roman governor of Judea during the time leading up to the Bar-Kokhba revolt, the second Jewish revolt against Rome? This question has now been answered thanks to an inscribed stone block recently discovered off the coast of Tel Dor in northern Israel.
The Third Wall of Jerusalem: Where Romans and Jews Battled
Archaeologists believe they have located remains of the elusive Third Wall of Jerusalem described by ancient historian Josephus. According to Josephus, Jewish rebels completed this wall leading up to the First Jewish Revolt against the Romans.
An Ancient Roman Gateway to Pan at Hippos-Sussita
After discovering a rare bronze mask of the god Pan at the Israeli site of Hippos-Sussita, archaeologists have excavated a monumental Roman gateway within the same complex.
New Huqoq Mosaics: Noah's Ark and Exodus Scenes
During the 2016 season at Huqoq, mosaics depicting two well-known Biblical stories were uncovered.
Hasmonean Coin Hoard Comes to Light at Modi'in
After 2,140 years, a hoard of silver coins dating to the Hasmonean Period has once again seen the light of day.