LIVE EVENT: Hi-tech archaeology reveals secrets of ancient Jerusalem’s destructions

To mark The Times of Israel’s 10-year anniversary, we are hosting a special series of live, in-person events this year under the banner [email protected]

We’re excited to invite you to our second event at Jerusalem’s Begin Center on July 6 at 8 p.m.: Myth-busting the destructions of ancient Jerusalem. The evening features archaeologists Prof. Jodi Magness and Dr. Joe Uziel in conversation with ToI’s Amanda Borschel-Dan, discussing how archaeology unveils hidden clues into what actually happened during the destructions of the First and Second Temples.

The first half of the evening is spent with Magness and focuses on the Second Temple destruction of 70 CE: Did Titus intend to demolish the Second Temple? What did Jerusalem look like on the eve of the destruction — and when was it actually razed?

Then we’ll do the time warp and turn to Uziel and the First Temple era’s massive siege on Jerusalem in 586 BCE. How reliable is the biblical account vis-à-vis the archaeological proof? What do new interdisciplinary studies — mixing traditional archaeology with the hard sciences — add to an archaeologist’s toolbox? How have new techniques changed our understandings of the distant past?

The conversations will be accompanied by an acoustic ensemble led by Tal Nae playing classic Jewish liturgical music from around the Diaspora.

SPACE IS LIMITED so order soon:

Buy tickets here

The live event takes place before Tisha B’Av, a fast day that commemorates the destruction of the First Temple — as noted in the biblical Books of Ezra and Nehemiah — and is also later identified as the day of the end of the Roman conquest of Jerusalem and razing of the Second Temple.

We’ll hear proof of the Babylonian and Roman campaigns — and also how it sometimes contradicts the texts that described them.

Award-winning author Prof. Jodi Magness is the Kenan Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The longtime director of the Huqoq excavation, she is a Classical and biblical archaeologist specializing in ancient Palestine from the time of Jesus up to the 10th century. She is currently writing a book on “Jerusalem Through the Ages” (under contract with Oxford University Press) and her previous works include 2019’s “Masada: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth” and “The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls” (2nd edition 2021).

Archaeologist Prof. Jodi Magness at Masada, July 11, 2019. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)

For the past two and a half years, Dr. Joe Uziel has headed the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Dead Sea Scrolls Unit. He’s participated in a number of digs in Israel since the mid-1990s and has worked his way to becoming the lead archaeologist on a number of exciting projects. In 2011, Uziel began excavating several areas in the City of David and the Western Wall Tunnels, uncovering a range of finds from the Middle Bronze Age through to the Mamluk period. In January 2020, Uziel was named the head of the IAA’s Dead Sea Scrolls Unit, which is dedicated to the holistic care of the Dead Sea Scrolls, including their conservation, curation, documentation, and research.

Israel Antiquities Authority’ Dr. Joel Uziel holds a collection of First Temple period bullae (sealings) at Jerusalem’s City of David, August 2017. (Eliyahu Yanai, City of David)

If you’re in Israel, we’d be thrilled if you can join us for this special live [email protected] event on Wednesday, July 6, at 8 p.m. at the Begin Center. If you’re a ToI Community member, you are entitled to half-priced tickets (limit two per event).

Get your tickets here:

Buy tickets hereWe hope to see you there!

From left: Prof. Jodi Magness (George Duffield © J3D US LP); Ashes from the 586 BCE destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians at the excavation site in the City of David Park in Jerusalem. (Shai Halevi/Israel Antiquities Authority); Dr. Joe Uziel (courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority)

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