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Media Memo: Geography professor available to discuss latest biblical archeology finds

TO: News, Religion and Feature Editors

FROM: Julie Poquette

DATE: Sept. 5, 2007

SUBJECT: Geography professor available to discuss latest biblical archeology finds

In recent years UW-Eau Claire geography professor Harry Jol has participated in numerous research projects at archeological sites of biblical significance, but Jol and other researchers consider their most recent expedition to be the most exciting yet: exploration of a site believed to be the Old Testament's Mount Sinai, where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.

Jol joined an international team of researchers at the isolated desert site, located on Israel's border with Egypt, for a week in April. Jol used ground penetrating radar to assist with mapping the area's subsurface, which helped the team locate any structures or historical objects below the surface.

What the researchers saw was amazing, Jol said. Among the artifacts that have been discovered over the years of excavation are Bronze Age pottery, many rock art pieces, sacrificial altars and a series of rock drawings, including some of a tablet that resembles the one holding the Ten Commandments. The archaeological expedition was filmed as part of an ongoing NOVA documentary project about the Exodus.

One of Jol's students will conduct research this fall that will examine several data sets the professor collected at the site.

Jol will share his findings from the expedition, along with those from his numerous other archeological excavations in Israel, during a sold-out UW-Eau Claire Continuing Education course this fall. The course, "Explorations in Biblical Archaeology," will be held 6-8 p.m. Tuesdays from Sept.18 through Oct. 9. Due to high interest, a second session of the course may be offered later this fall.

In addition, Jol will attend and present at the Batchelder Conference for Biblical Archaeology, to be held Nov. 8-10 at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Other sites where Jol has conducted research include Bethsaida, one of the most frequently mentioned towns in the New Testament; Qumran, the site of the Dead Sea scrolls; and Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus.

Jol is available to discuss the findings from these archeological digs. He can be reached by phone at 715-836-3472 or e-mail at jolhm@uwec.edu.

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