Posts Tagged ‘Jerusalem’

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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CBS:

Seen here is Jerusalem’s iconic Citadel (now the Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem), a fortress with archaeological findings spanning nearly 3,000 years

In “Jerusalem: The Movie,” a new film in IMAX 3D, viewers go deep inside the Holy City. Keep clicking for a look at some of the sweeping images revealed in the movie, produced by National Geographic Entertainment.

This must be my favourite:

An aerial view of the Church of the Beatitudes by the Sea of Galilee near Capernaum, the traditional site where Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount as told in the New Testament.

The rest of the slide show with more awesome images here.

 

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Discovery News:

A lead curse tablet, dating back around 1,700 years and likely written by a magician, has been discovered in a collapsed Roman mansion in Jerusalem, archaeologists report.

The mansion, which is being excavated by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Givati Parking Lot, is located in what is known as the “City of David,” an area that holds at least 6,000 years of human occupation. The mansion itself covers at least 2,000 square meters (about half an acre) and contains two large open courtyards adjacent to each other. It was in use between the late third century and A.D. 363, when it was destroyed in a series of earthquakes on May 18 or 19.

The text is written in Greek and, in it a woman named Kyrilla invokes the names of six gods to cast a curse on a man named Iennys, apparently over a legal case.

“I strike and strike down and nail down the tongue, the eyes, the wrath, the ire, the anger, the procrastination, the opposition of Iennys,” part of the curse reads in translation. Kyrilla asks the gods to ensure that “he in no way oppose, so that he say or perform nothing adverse to Kyrilla … but rather that Iennys, whom the womb bore, be subject to her…”

To obtain her goal Kyrilla combined elements from four religions, Robert Walter Daniel, of the Institut für Altertumskunde at the University of Cologne, told LiveScience in an email. Of six gods invoked, four of them are Greek (Hermes, Persephone, Pluto and Hecate), one is Babylonian (Ereschigal) and one, Abrasax, is Gnostic, a religion connected to early Christianity. Additionally, the text contains magic words such as “Iaoth” that have a Hebrew/Judaism origin.

A professional magician likely created the curse for Kyrilla, who may have literally used a hammer and nails to perform a magical rite that enhanced the effectiveness of the curse…

Rest here.

The Daily Mail has more info on the discovery.

 

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Discovery News:

A huge building which during the Crusader period was the largest hospital in the Middle East has been discovered in the heart of Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced on Monday.

Located in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, the 1,000-year-old hospital was identified following a decade-long reconstruction operation.

“Until a decade or so ago the building served as a bustling and crowded fruit and vegetable market. Since then it stood there desolate,” the IAA said in a statement.

According to Renee Forestany and Amit Re’em, the IAA excavation directors, the structure, only a small part of which was unearthed in the excavation, spread out over more than 150,000 square feet.

It featured massive pillars, ribbed vaults, rooms, smaller halls and ceilings as high as 20 feet.

The hospital was established between 1099 and 1291, with permission from the Muslim authorities, by a Christian military order called the Kinghts Hospitaller. Its members vowed to care for pilgrims who came to Jerusalem to die.

“We’ve learned about the hospital from contemporary historical documents, most of which are written in Latin,” Re’em and Forestany said.

The accounts mentioned a sophisticated structure that was “as large and as organized as a modern hospital,” the archaeologists said…

Rest here.

The IAA report with more photos is here.

The Jerusalem Post also covers the news.

 

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Press unearthed as scientists dug out remains from grounds upon which a student dormitory will be built.

In the Jerusalem Post:

ShowImage

Scientists from the Antiquities Authority discovered an ancient olive press  during an excavation in Jerusalem, the authority announced on  Tuesday.

The archeologists uncovered the press – ensconced in a karst  cave – while digging out the grounds upon which a student dormitory will be  built for the nearby Jerusalem College of Technology, the Antiquities Authority  said.

“This ancient press for producing olive oil, whose date could not  be clearly ascertained, was in all likelihood one that belonged to an old town  or a farm that was on these premises,” read a statement from the  authority.

“It joins another olive press that was discovered a few years  ago in the nearby Beit Hakerem neighborhood on the other side of the Rakafot  River. These presses are testament to the centrality of the olive trade to the  agrarian economy of Jerusalem and its surroundings.”

The Jerusalem  College of Technology and the Antiquities Authority plan on turning the site  into a rest area where students and visitors can learn about how the press was  operated in ancient.

 

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Take a virtual tour of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount here. (It’s in Hebrew.)

 

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By Professor Oded Lipschits (PhD) and Ido Koch: The Fall and Rise of Jerusalem.

Learn about Judah under Babylonian rule.

Starts Oct 1st 2013 (6 weeks long).

 

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