Posts Tagged ‘Archaeology’

Beyond BeliefThe BBC:

A new series of Beyond Belief begins with a discussion on the impact of archaeological discoveries on religious belief.

Listen here (right click & “save target as / link as”).

Duration: 28 mins.

Features renowned Bible scholar Francesca Stravrakopoulou.

 

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The Kalman Interview at the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem.


 

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If correct, the decryption attests to an organized administration and system in which people were literate, and had a system for classifying wine by quality.

Haaretz:

A possible decryption of the oldest inscription ever found at an archaeological site in Jerusalem has interesting implications. If correct, the decryption attests to an organized administration and system in which people were literate, and had a system for classifying wine by quality.

The inscription was found in the Ophel area, south of the Temple Mount, at an archaeological dig run by Dr. Eilat Mazar, from the Archaeological Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The inscription, uncovered six months ago, is etched into a remnant of what was a large clay pitcher, and is eight letters long. It is dated to the second half of the 10th century BCE, the days of King Solomon.

Most scholars who have examined the inscription determined that it was written in an ancient near eastern language, and not in Hebrew.

An article recently published by Professor Gershon Galil from the department of Jewish History at Haifa University, however, suggests a new analysis of the inscription.

Galil suggests that it is written in ancient Hebrew. “The writing itself is unimportant, in Europe, there are currently many languages that use Latin letters,” explains Galil. The word that Galil deciphered, which suggests that the inscription is written in ancient Hebrew is “yayin,” which means wine.

“Here we see the word ‘yayin.’ When you check how all the languages from that period and region wrote ‘wine,’ you see they wrote it with one ‘yud,’ – the same in Samarian northern Hebrew. The Phoenicians wrote it the same way as well. Aside from the southern Hebrew of that time, even the scrolls found in Qumran preserve the same spelling of the word,” explains Galil.

According to Galil, the inscription should be read “in the year [… ]M, wine, part, m[…]”

Galil posits that the inscription can be divided into three parts that describe the wine stored in the pitcher. The first letter is a final “mem”, perhaps the end of the word for twenty or thirty – as in the twentieth or thirtieth year of the kingdom of Solomon. “Wine part” is the kind of wine, and the “mem” represents the place from which it was brought to Jerusalem.

“Wine part” is a term that is known from the Ugarit language from northern Syria, which is the lowest of three categories used to define wine: “good wine,” “no good,” and “partial.”

“This wine wasn’t served to Solomon’s emissaries, or in the temple, but apparently was for the slave construction workers who worked in the area,” says Galil.

From other, later sources, archaeologists know that the low quality wine was given to soldiers or forced laborers. The fact that the wine was of low quality is also logical considering that it was stored in a large vessel that did not keep it very fresh.

This new theory regarding the inscription will no doubt cause a big stir among the archaeological community, regarding the periods of Kings David and Solomon. Many archaeologists claim that during biblical times, Jerusalem was not a large or important city, despite the way it was described in Biblical literature.

Professor Galil and other supporters of the Biblical accounts see the Bible as a historical document, and this particular interpretation of the inscription supports the existence of a complex administrative system, as well as a hierarchical society with regulated shipping from far off places. These claims support the Biblical version of the story, which describes Jerusalem as a large, important city, that ruled over significant kingdoms.

The inscription, according to researchers who support the Biblical version of the history, supports the theory that Jerusalem expanded during King Solomon’s time, from the City of David to the Temple Mount.

 

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Which is a fantastic archaeological site by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Dr Aren Maeir (HT) notes:

Dr. Ofer Sion, who is the head of the survey department at the IAA, sent out an email today from which I first saw the excellent website of the Archaeological Survey of Israel. On this site (here is the Hebrew version and here is the English one [which is still listed as a beta version]), you can get online versions of 83 survey maps that have been published so far, including those that were published in hard and electronic forms. There are maps, photos, pottery plates, and most important, accessible summaries, and hard data, from all these maps.

Do check this out – it is an outstanding resource!

That it is! Enjoy.

 

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The Huffington Post:

The world is rich with artifacts that give insight to the people and events mentioned in the Bible, particularly in the Middle and Near East. Archaeology can provide answers and insight into hotly debated questions, and some pretty amazing artifacts have already been discovered, such as a box that may contain a piece of the cross that Jesus Christ was crucified on as well as remnants of Solomon’s Temple.

The slide show is here starts with this one:

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Discovery News has the exciting discovery:

Archaeologists have unearthed traces of a previously unknown, 14th-century Canaanite city buried underneath the ruins of another city in Israel.

The traces include an Egyptian amulet of Amenhotep III and several pottery vessels from the Late Bronze Age unearthed at the site of Gezer, an ancient Canaanite city.

Gezer was once a major center that sat at the crossroads of trade routes between Asia and Africa, said Steven Ortiz, a co-director of the site’s excavations and a biblical scholar at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

The remains of the ancient city suggest the site was used for even longer than previously known.

The ancient city of Gezer has been an important site since the Bronze Age, because it sat along the Way of the Sea, or the Via Maris, an ancient trade route that connected Egypt, Syria, Anatolia and Mesopotamia.

The city was ruled over many centuries by Canaanites, Egyptians and Assyrians, and Biblical accounts from roughly the 10th century describe an Egyptian pharaoh giving the city to King Solomon as a wedding gift after marrying his daughter.

“It’s always changed hands throughout history,” Ortiz told LiveScience.

The site has been excavated for a century, and most of the excavations so far date to the the 10th through eighth centuries B.C. Gezer also holds some of the largest underground water tunnels of antiquity, which were likely used to keep the water supply safe during sieges.

But earlier this summer, Ortiz and his colleague Samuel Wolff of the Israel Antiquities Authority noticed traces of an even more ancient city from centuries before King Solomon’s time. Among the layers was a section that dated to about the 14th century B.C., containing a scarab, or beetle, amulet from King Amenhotep III, the grandfather of King Tut. They also found shards of Philistine pottery.

During that period, the ancient site was probably a Canaanite city that was under Egyptian influence.

The findings are consistent with what scholars suspected of the site, said Andrew Vaughn, a biblical scholar and executive director of the American Schools of Oriental Research, who was not involved in the study.

“It’s not surprising that a city that was of importance in the biblical kingdoms of Israel and Judah would have an older history and would have played an important political and military role prior to that time,” Vaughn told LiveScience. “If you didn’t control Gezer, you didn’t control the east-west trade route.”

But once the location of that major road moved during the Roman period, the city waned in importance. It was later conquered and destroyed, but never fully rebuilt.

“Just like today when you have a ghost town — where you move the train and that city goes out of use,” Ortiz said.

 

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Via the Biblical Archaeology Society:

In the November/December 2013 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Yosef Garfinkel, Michael Hasel and Martin Klingbeil discuss the start of a new excavation at Lachish, the second most important city in ancient Judah after Jerusalem. Tel Lachish has a rich excavation history. In “An Ending and a Beginning: Why We’re Leaving Qeiyafa and Going to Lachish,” Garfinkel, Hasel and Klingbeil describe the history of the excavation: “Three previous expeditions excavated at Lachish. The first was British in 1932–1938, directed by James Leslie Starkey and his assistant Olga Tufnell. The second was an Israeli expedition directed by Yohanan Aharoni of Tel Aviv University for two seasons in 1966 and 1968. The third expedition, under the superb direction of David Ussishkin of Tel Aviv University, took place between 1974 and 1987. The Starkey-Tufnell and Ussishkin expeditions set new standards in excavation and publication. They revolutionized our understanding of various aspects of Lachish, such as the later history of Judah and the pre-Israelite Late Bronze Age Canaanite city.”

To mark the opening of the fourth expedition to Tel Lachish, we’ve made a collection of seven BAR articles on the third expedition to Lachish free and publicly available:

A deep incision into the western slope of Lachish under the direction of David Ussishkin.

David Ussishkin. “Answers at Lachish.” Biblical Archaeology Review, Nov/Dec 1979.

David Ussishkin. “News from the Field: Defensive Judean Counter-Ramp Found at Lachish in 1983 Season.Biblical Archaeology Review, Mar/Apr 1984.

Yigael Yadin. “The Mystery of the Unexplained Chain.” Biblical Archaeology Review, Jul/Aug 1984.

David Ussishkin. “Lachish—Key to the Israelite Conquest of Canaan?.” Biblical Archaeology Review, Jan/Feb 1987.

David Ussishkin. “Restoring the Great Gate at Lachish.” Biblical Archaeology Review, Mar/Apr 1988.

Steven Feldman. “Return to Lachish.” Biblical Archaeology Review, May/Jun 2002.

Philip J. King. “Why Lachish Matters.” Biblical Archaeology Review, Jul/Aug 2005.

 

 

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