Tag Archives: Archaeology

Biblical King’s Palace Found Under Shrine Destoryed by ISIS

ISIS is going around destroying any and all historical sites that belong to any religion besides Islam.

But they may have just unwittingly helped prove the veracity of at least one book of the Bible.

While occupying the Iraqi city of Mosul, ISIS demolished the traditional Tomb of Jonah, the biblical prophet tasked with preaching to the people of the Assyrian capital of Nineveh.

After ISIS was recently pushed out of Mosul, archeologists had a chance to examine the wreckage, and made a stunning discovery.

Fox News reported that below the ancient tomb lies the long-lost palace of the Assyrian King Sennacherib, whose invasion of Judah and miraculous defeat before the walls of Jerusalem is extensively documented in the Bible.

In the palace, archeologists have begun to uncover ancient inscriptions and documents from the time of Sennacherib, his son King Esarhaddon, and his son King Ashurbanipal.

The find is one of the more exciting archeological finds in recent years, and provides yet further evidence that the biblical account of Middle East history is accurate.

Article courtesy of I IsraelToday

Ancient Egyptian Royal Statues Unearthed In Cairo Slum

Archaeologists from Egypt and Germany discovered a massive 26ft (8 metre) statue submerged in ground water in a Cairo slum which could depict one of history’s most famous rulers, Pharaoh Ramses II.

Archaeologists in a Cairo suburb – once the site of the ancient capital of Heliopolis – found two 3000-year-old pharaonic statues.

The statues are thought to represent Pharaohs from the 19th dynasty.

One statue stands 26ft (8 metres) tall and is carved out of quartzite – a tough stone composed mainly of quartz.

It could not be identified from its engravings but it was found at the entrance to the temple of King Ramses II – also known as Ramses the Great – suggesting it represents him.

The other relic is a limestone statue of 12th century BC ruler King Seti II [Ramses II’s grandson]. DailyMail

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Research Findings Dating Back To Kings David And Solomon In Timna Valley

The ancient copper mines in Timna, in Israel’s Arava Valley in the Sinai Peninsula, are believed by many to be the site of King Solomon’s mines and believed to have been operated by the early Edomites.

Citing the biblical story about King David traveling with his soldiers to the land of Edom, where a major battle took place with the Edomites by the Dead Sea, Ben-Yosef said his team may have found evidence of the bloody conflict.

According to the Bible, Edom stretched from the Sinai Peninsula to the southern border of Canaan and Kingdom of Judah and as far west as Eilat, where it maintained its seaport. As David expanded his reign, Samuel 8:13 states that his army vanquished 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt.

Following the victory, David turned Edom into an Israelite province ruled by handpicked governors.

“You cannot overstate the importance of copper in the Levant during the 10th century BC,” said Ben-Yosef. “It was the oil of the time and produced agricultural tools and weapons.”  JPost

Archaeologists discovered elements that date back to the biblical era of King David and King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. with a highly organized defense system.

The archeological team, led by Tel Aviv University’s Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef, first found a wall of the 10th-century BCE copper-smelting site near Timna Park in the southern desert where the world’s first copper mine is believed to have been located.

The archaeologists, led by Erez Ben-Yosef of Tel Aviv University, think these features show that this Iron Age settlement had a highly organized defense system and depended on an impressive network of long-distance trade. LiveScience

Unraveling the history of an ancient military fortification.

According to Ben-Yosef, the wall his team found was five meters high and once stretched for hundreds of meters.

In addition to the wall, the archeologists uncovered sling stones, donkey bones and dung on both sides of a gatehouse.

What the donkeys were feed.

Built of sturdy stone to defend against invasions, the fortification had pens for draft animals and other livestock. By studying pollen, seed and fauna in the dung, experts found that the animals were fed with hay and the remains of grapes, which was delivered from the Mediterranean coast hundreds of miles away.  FoxNews

“You have to remember the copper was used to [sustain life], and the nearest water source was 15 kilometers away,” he said.  JPost

Humans were not feed a slave diet.

Despite ancient accounts that the mines were operated by slaves, the researcher said mining experts likely oversaw and trained apprentices to extricate the valuable natural resource.  JPost

Previous research by Ben-Yosef’s team found that the laborers did not have a typical slave’s diet; instead, the metalworkers ate good cuts of meat, pistachios and fish imported from the Mediterranean, suggesting they had a rather high status and were valued for their craft. LiveScience

1,950-year-old Coin Unearthed In The City Of David In Jerusalem

The coins are from the time of the Jewish revolt against the Romans.

Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud) presented the coin at the beginning of cabinet meeting discussing symbols and ceremonies for the commemoration of the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem.

“In 1967, exactly 1900 years (after this coin was minted), IDF paratroopers entered the Old City of Jerusalem and liberated it – they returned Jewish sovereignty to Jerusalem,” Regev said.

A 1,950-year-old coin has been found following excavations in the City of David in Jerusalem.

There is a grape leaf on one side of the coin with the words “Freedom for Zion,” while on the reverse is a cup with the words “Year two of the large revolt.” This dates the coin to the second year of the Jewish revolt against the Romans, putting the coin at being minted in 67 CE.

The coin was found in an area known as “Pilgrims’ Road,” which was the road Jewish pilgrims would have used to go up to the Temple to make ritual sacrifices during Jubilee holidays.

The Pilgrims’ Road, along with other roads in Jerusalem dating back 2000 years, will be opened to the public this Hanukkah. There will be a grand opening hosted by the Ministry of Culture along with the Israel Antiquities Authority. This will serve as the opening event celebrating 50 years since the liberation of Jerusalem from Jordanian rule. YNetNews

4,000-Year-Old ‘Thinker’ Sculpture Discoverd In Israel

A cool find dating to around the time of Abraham.

thinker-statue-israel

A ceramic vessel bearing the sculpture of a pensive-looking figure has been found in the Israeli city of Yehud.

The vessel dates back about 4,000 years, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Archaeologists found the artifact during excavations in advance of a new housing development.

“It seems that at first the jug, which is typical of the period, was prepared, and afterwards, the unique sculpture was added, the likes of which have never before been discovered in previous research,” Gilad Itach, the IAA excavation director, said in a statement.

The unusual vessel is only about 7 inches (18 centimeters) tall. The container itself is an oblong oval shape, while the figure atop the vessel sits with one arm resting on its knees and the other propping up its chin.

“The level of precision and attention to detail in creating this almost 4,000-year-old sculpture is extremely impressive,” Itach said.

Researchers discovered the vessel alongside other items, including arrowheads, an axe head, sheep bones, daggers and what appear to be donkey bones. These were likely funerary objects, originally buried alongside the body of an important person, Ministry of Education official Efrat Zilber said in the statement.

“To the best of my knowledge, such a rich funerary assemblage that also includes such a unique pottery vessel has never before been discovered in the country,” Zilber said.

Deeper excavations revealed artifacts dating back at least 6,000 years. These included pottery vessels, flint and basalt tools, and animal bones, according to the IAA. Researchers also found a Copper Age butter churn. LiveScience

Online:  See more photos of the sculpture and vessel from Yehud.

Archaeologists Discover Exact Spot Of Original 1620 Plymouth Settlement

The general area of the first settlement has long been known, researchers from UMass Boston say their find is the first conclusive proof of the exact location of the first settlement.

Three hundred and ninety-five years after Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts, researchers from UMass Boston’s Andrew Fiske Memorial Center for Archaeological Research can say they have definitively discovered evidence of the original 1620 Plymouth settlement. Part of the proof involves a calf that UMass Boston students have affectionately named Constance.

For the fourth summer, David Landon, associate director of the Fiske Center, led a group of undergraduate and graduate students in a field school in Plymouth offered through UMass Boston’s College of Advancing and Professional Studies. Landon and the students spent five weeks on Burial Hill looking for the site of the original Pilgrim settlement. Landon’s goal when he started was to find evidence of the original settlement prior to the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Plymouth Colony in 2020. He met his goal four years early, in the first year of a three-year, $200,000 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant.

Because the original structures weren’t built with bricks, the research team couldn’t look for foundations. Rather, they had to look for “post and ground construction” – basically holes for wood, and dirt…

But then Landon’s team did start finding 17th century artifacts: 17th century pottery, tins, trade beads, and musket balls – around that post and ground construction. Landon says the students and researchers were at this point cautiously optimistic that they had found a location inside the settlement walls. And then they found “Constance” – a calf buried whole in the bottom-most pit. Because native people didn’t have domestic cattle, Landon says we know that she lived – and died — in the confines of the original Plymouth settlement.

plymouth-pilgrams-cow

“Constance is a great symbol of this. Oftentimes success in the colony depended on herds of cattle. It became a centerpiece of the economy. So the calf does connect us to that story,” Landon said.

Kathryn Ness is the curator of collections at Plimoth Plantation, UMass Boston’s partner in this project. She says this discovery is huge.

“Finding evidence of colonial activity inside the original 1620 Plymouth settlement is an incredibly exciting discovery that has the potential to change dramatically our understanding of early European colonization in New England. For the first time, we have proof of where the settlement was located and what kinds of items the Pilgrims owned and used,” Ness said. “At Plimoth Plantation, the team’s findings will help us further refine our exhibits, as we use archaeological evidence and historical documents as the basis for our portrayal of the past and to ensure that our buildings, activities, and reproduction objects are as accurate as possible. We are looking forward to learning more about their discoveries and seeing what they find next season!”  UMB

 

3,600-Year-Old Pagan Canaanite Treasures Discovered In Judean Foothills In Central Israel

Archaeologists excavations in Tel Gezer National Park, in the foothills of the Judean Hills in central Israel, discovered a treasure trove of silver and gold objects in an excavated 3,600-year-old room.  The treasures date to the Canaanite period.

Archaeological excavations conducted by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, under the auspices of the Israel Antiquities Authority, exposed a rare treasure of silver and gold objects at Tel Gezer National Park last season. nobts

Tel Gezer 

 Here is the account of the forced labor King Solomon conscripted to build the Lord’s temple, his own palace, the terraces, the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor,Megiddo and Gezer. 1 Kings 9:15 NIV

Gezer is situated in the middle of the country, guarding the ancient coastal highway and the pass branching off of it up to Jerusalem.  Gezer is mentioned in several historical and biblical sources. 1 Kings 9:15 states that Solomon rebuilt the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer, implying that Solomon was active in placing fortified cities in key regions throughout his kingdom.

Pharaoh king of Egypt had attacked and captured Gezer. He had set it on fire. He killed its Canaanite inhabitants and then gave it as a wedding gift to his daughter, Solomon’s wife. 1 Kings 9:16 NIV

In addition, the following verse mentions that an unnamed pharaoh of Egypt conquered Gezer and gave it to Solomon as part of a dowry in the marriage of pharaoh’s daughter to Solomon. Gezer is also mentioned in several New Kingdom documents of ancient Egypt and in Neo-Assyrian texts. Since the ancient city sits in a strategic location, it was always a target for ancient armies marching through the land. Israel Antiquities Authority

Tel Gezer Treasures

The vessel where archaeologists discovered a Canaanite-era treasure in Tel Gezer in November 2016. (IAA)
The pottery jar where archaeologists discovered Canaanite-era treasure in Tel Gezer in November 2016. (IAA)

Excavators Dr. Tsvika Tsuk, Dr. Eli Yannai, Dr. Dan Warner and Dr. Jim Parker believe that it was placed as part of a cultic function in the foundations of the structure, which consists of several rooms. The building appears to be of an administrative nature and its proximity to the city gate strengthens this hypothesis.

The cache was uncovered in a pottery jar that was upside-down and the pieces of the cache were laying in a lid (like a cover) and wrapped in linen cloth, the remains of which are a part of the finds. Continue reading 3,600-Year-Old Pagan Canaanite Treasures Discovered In Judean Foothills In Central Israel

Mummy In ‘Very Good Condition’ Discovered At Thutmose III’s Temple In Luxor

Spanish archaeologists discovered a tomb dating from 1075-664 BC. The mummy was in “very good condition,” bound with linen stuck together with plaster in a brightly colored wooden sarcophagus. It is thought the tomb belonged to a nobleman named Amenrenef, a servant of the royal household.”

The archaeological team’s head, Myriam Seco Alvarez, said the mummy was decorated with “many colorful decorations recalling religious symbols from ancient Egypt, such as the goddesses Isis and Nephtys displaying their wings, and the four sons of Horus.” TimesofIsrael

The earliest evidence of mummification in Egypt suggests that the practice of wrapping bodies to preserve them after death dates back as far as 4500 BC.

King Thutmose III, sometimes called Egypt’s greatest conqueror or ‘the Napoleon of Egypt’, was the sixth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty.

Thutmose III constructed over fifty temples and commissioned the building of many tombs for nobles, which were made with greater craftsmanship than ever before.

His own tomb was discovered by Victor Loret in 1898, in the Valley of the Kings.

Luxor, a city of half a million people on the banks of the Nile, abounds with temples and tombs built by Egypt’s pharaohs. DailyMail

Oldest Hebrew Mention of Jerusalem Found On Papyrus, Older Than The Dead Sea Scrolls

A First Temple-era, 2,700-year-old papyrus bearing the oldest known mention of Jerusalem in Hebrew.
A First Temple-era, 2,700-year-old papyrus bearing the oldest known mention of Jerusalem in Hebrew.

 

An ancient papyrus dating to the First Temple Period — 2,700 years ago – features the oldest known reference to Jerusalem in Hebrew.

The fragile text, believed plundered from a cave in the Judean Desert cave, was apparently acquired by the Israel Antiquities Authority during a sting in 2012 when thieves attempted to sell it to a dealer. Radiocarbon dating has determined it is from the 7th century BCE, making it one of just three extant Hebrew papyri from that period, and predating the Dead Sea Scrolls by centuries…

The slip of papyrus, which was formally unveiled by the Israel Antiquities Authority on Wednesday, measures 11 centimeters by 2.5 centimeters (4.3 inches by 1 inch). Its two lines of jagged black paleo-Hebrew script appear to have been a dispatch note recording the delivery of two wineskins “to Jerusalem,” the Judean Kingdom’s capital city. The full text of the inscription reads: “From the female servant of the king, from Naharata (place near Jericho) two wineskins to Jerusalem.”

The fact that the note was written on papyrus, rather than cheaper clay ostraca, suggests the consignment of wineskins may have been sent to a person of high status. TimesOfIsrael

Archaeologists Find Battle Site Where Roman Army Breached Jerusalem Walls

The boulders fired by Roman catapults at the Jewish defenders of the wall. (Yoli Shwartz/ Israel Antiquities Authority)
The boulders fired by Roman catapults at the Jewish defenders of the wall. (Yoli Shwartz/ Israel Antiquities Authority)

Josephus: “The beginning of the third wall was at the tower Hippicus [now identified with David’s Citadel], whence it reached as far as the north quarter of the city”

Israeli archaeologists have discovered where Titus’s Roman legions breached the outer walls of Jerusalem in 70 AD, conquering the city and destroying the Second Temple.

The artifacts suggest heavy fighting in that area and it appears to have been pounded by the Roman siege engines.

Israeli archaeologists found the site of a fierce battle where the Roman army bombarded and breached the walls of Jerusalem before conquering the city and destroying the Second Temple almost 2,000 years ago, officials said Thursday.

They said that the discovery, made last winter during an excavation of a construction site for the new campus of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design outside the Old City, also finally confirmed the description of the wall that was breached provided by the historian Josephus Flavius.

During the dig, the archaeologists found the remains of a tower surrounded by scores of stones and boulders fired by Roman catapults at the Jewish forces guarding the wall, the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement.

“This is a fascinating testimony of the intensive bombardment by the Roman army, led by Titus, on their way to conquering the city and destroying the Second Temple,” the statement said.

“The bombardment was intended to attack the sentries guarding the wall and provide cover for the Roman forces so they could approach the wall with battering rams and thereby breach the city’s defenses,” it said.

The part of the wall that was breached was known as the Third Wall. It was found in the area of modern Jerusalem known as the Russian Compound. According to accounts by Josephus, this part of the wall was designed to protect a new quarter of the city that developed outside the other two existing walls.

For much of the 20th century, scholars have been debating the route of this Third Wall and “the question concerning Jerusalem’s boundaries on the eve of the Roman onslaught,” the statement said. “It seems that the new discovery in the Russian Compound is proof of the wall’s existence in this area.”

In his “The War of the Jews,” Josephus describes the wall as follows: “… the beginning of the third wall was at the tower Hippicus, whence it reached as far as the north quarter of the city, and the tower Psephinus …It was Agrippa who encompassed the parts added to the old city with this wall, which had been all naked before.”

The Third Wall had been completed as part of preparations by the Jews for the Great Revolt against Rome that began in 66 CE and ended in 70 CE when the Romans breached the walls of Jerusalem and destroyed the Second Temple. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed, and the rout heralded the start of nearly two thousand years of exile.TimesOfIsrael

Iron Age Toilet Is Evidence Of Judean King Hezekiah Religious Reforms

They demolished the sacred stone of Baal and tore down the temple of Baal, and people have used it for a latrine to this day. 2 Kings 10:27 NIV

An 8th century BCE toilet found at Lachish during the 2016 excavation by Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists.
An 8th century BCE toilet found at Lachish during the 2016 excavation by Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists.

A 2,700-year-old crapper is hardly the sort of object one would generally expect to be proof tying archaeology to the Bible. But archaeologists digging at Tel Lachish, a major city in the Kingdom of Judah up to its destruction in 701 BCE, point to the toilet as evidence of religious reforms carried out by the biblical king Hezekiah in the 8th century BCE.

The limestone commode was found inside a chamber of the Iron Age city’s monumental six-chambered gate that served as a shrine. At the time, Lachish was the second city of the Judahite kingdom, whose capital was Jerusalem. The gateway would have served as a meeting place, courthouse and administrative center.

Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Sa’ar Ganor, who headed the excavation of Lachish’s massive portal (the largest yet excavated in the region), said Wednesday that archaeologists had found small altars whose horned corners had been smashed, and in the corner of the room a toilet had been erected.

The desecration of non-Yahwistic cult sites in Judah and Israel involves converting them into a latrine in at least one instance mentioned in the Bible. Recounting Jehu’s destruction of temples to Baal in the Israelite Kingdom to the north, 2 Kings 10:27 says the Israelite king’s men “broke down the pillar of Baal, and broke down the house of Baal, and made it a draught-house, unto this day.”

A few chapters later, the Hebrew chronicle mentions that King Hezekiah, who ruled Lachish but is better known for his Jerusalem waterworks, “removed the high places, and broke the pillars, and cut down the Asherah.” TimesOfIsrael

From Damage To Discovery Via Virtual Unwrapping: Scientists Reveal Biblical Text From Ancient Scroll

The scroll after it was virtually unwrapped. (Seales et al. Sci. Adv. 2016; 2 : e1601247)
The scroll after it was virtually unwrapped. (Seales et al. Sci. Adv. 2016; 2 : e1601247)

Amazing.

“Researchers at the University of Kentucky have used a new digital reconstruction technique to resurrect one of the earliest known versions of the Old Testament from a Hebrew scroll that was burned beyond recognition.” WSJ

In a significant archaeological achievement, an ancient Hebrew scroll that was burned in a fire in the distant past and was seemingly impenetrable has finally become readable— and scientists have discovered that it contains verses from the book of Leviticus.

The breakthrough was made through a high-tech process called “virtual unwrapping” and involved a collaboration between experts in the United States and Israel. While no one is sure of the precise age of the parchment, referred to as the En-Gedi scroll, radiocarbon dating suggests it is from about the third or fourth century. Discovered in 1970, it likely was burned in a fire that destroyed a synagogue in the year 600 AD.

“We’re reading a real scroll. It hasn’t been read for millennia. Many thought it was probably impossible to read,” Brent Seales, a professor in the computer science department at the University of Kentucky, said during a teleconference with the media on Tuesday.

Seales, the first author of the paper announcing the discovery in the journal Science Advances, explained that the breakthrough occurred after a scan of the fragile scroll was made in Israel using a micro-CT scanner; then his team digitally unpacked the rolled, charred object. They later corresponded with experts in Israel for the analysis of the lines of Hebrew text.

They first could see that the scroll contained writing when they examined the digital version of the document in the lab, which made them feel “elated,” Seales said in a response to a question during the news conference.

“The real joy came when [Pnina Shor, an expert with the Israel Antiquities Authority] sent me back the result of having read our first results, because then I knew not only were we seeing writing, but it was readable,” Seales continued, “because she and her team were able to identify it as a known text, and at that point, we were absolutely jubilant, I have to say.”

Seales also said during the news conference that their method may hold interest for those in security or intelligence who want to read something “noninvasively.”  FoxNews