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2006.10.13 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

UNO to Host Batchelder Biblical Archaeology Conference Nov. 9-11

Omaha - The Bethsaida Excavations Project at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) will host the eighth annual Batchelder Biblical Archaeology Conference and Reunion starting Thursday, Nov. 9.

Scholars from all over the world will meet to discuss and present their research on the 2006 dig season at Bethsaida, an ancient city located near the north coast of the Sea of Galilee in Israel.  Bethsaida was the capital city of the forgotten biblical kingdom of Geshur.  It is one of the most frequently mentioned towns in the New Testament and the purported place where Jesus performed several of his major miracles.

Archaeologist Gideon Avni, the director of the Excavations and Surveys Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority, will deliver the opening keynote address Thursday, Nov. 9, at 7:30 p.m. at the William H. and Dorothy Thompson Alumni Center on the UNO north campus. His keynote address is titled "Between the Temple Mount and the Holy Sepulchre-Recent Archaeological Discoveries in Jerusalem."

Dr. Avni is also a lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology at Hebrew University and served as the Head Archaeologist of Jerusalem from 1989 until 2000.  In that position he was the coordinator of the "Jerusalem Archaeological Park," which includes the largest archaeological excavations around and within the Old City of Jerusalem.

Conference activities will continue at the alumni center on Friday, Nov. 10, and conclude Saturday, Nov. 11.  All events, including the keynote presentation, are free and open to the public.

"Over the years, the Batchelder Conference for Biblical Archaeology has gained the prestige of a high-quality international conference that attracts scholars and laypeople from around the world," said Rami Arav, director of the Bethsaida Excavations Project at UNO. "It brings to a large audience the most updated discoveries and thoughts."

Participants are also invited to view two exhibitions of antiquities at UNO.  Both are on display in room 343 Arts and Sciences Hall:

·      "Silent Spectators of the Sacred" -- An exhibition of 1st century building stones from Herod's Temple Mount in Jerusalem.  The exhibit is on loan from the Israel Antiquities Authority.

·      "Ancient Writing in the Mediterranean World" --  A collection of ancient writing implements, coins, Egyptian scarabs and figurines, and inscriptions in Mesopotamian cuneiform, Aramaic, Hebrew, Latin, and Coptic.  The exhibit was donated by the Museum of Archaeology and Biblical History in Albuquerque, N.M.

In 1991, the Consortium of the Bethsaida Excavations Project (CBEP) was formed and has been housed at UNO since its inception.  Its mission is to excavate the ancient city of Bethsaida, research the data discernible from the remains, and disseminate the conclusions to both academic and popular audiences.

The conference is co-sponsored by International Studies and Programs at UNO, and the Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford.

To register or for more information and a complete schedule of events, contact Steve Reynolds, Bethsaida Excavations Project coordinator, at (402) 554-3108.

For more information about the Bethsaida Excavations Project, visit the Web at http://www.unomaha.edu/bethsaida/.

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