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Posts Tagged ‘Antiquities Authority’

Rare Neolithic Well Discovered in Jezreel Valley

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

The Israel Antiquities Authority has announced the discovery of a rare well dating back to the Stone Age, used by the first firmers of the Jezreel Valley.

Two skeletons , believed to belong to a 19 year-old woman and an older man, were found at the bottom of the well,  at Enot Nisanit in the western Jezreel Valley near the YaYogev Junction (Highway 66), which is being excavated prior to a project to expand the area for travel.

The well is being dated at 8,500 years old, belonging to the Neolithic period.

According to the excavation director, the well was not used after the pair fell – or were pushed – into the well, due to contamination.

Additional finds include toothy sickle blades made from flint, animal bones, and charcoal.

The well will be preserved by the Antiquities Authority, in cooperation with the National Roads Company, and will be open to the public as one of the archaeological exhibits around Tel Megiddo.

When the Wall Falls

Monday, September 10th, 2012

The ancient synagogue in Meron is located on a hill above the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.   Like other Galilean synagogues from the Byzantine era, its entrance faces south, towards Jerusalem.

But what makes this synagogue special is a story from its later history.  A student of Rabbi Ovadiah of Bartenura wrote in 1495 about the synagogue:

I also saw the synagogue of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, and it’s also a building made of large stones, but now it’s in ruins and there’s only one wall remaining.  And the people of Safed say that when the wall falls, our Messiah will come, speedily in our days.  And I was told that in the year of the Spanish Expulsion lightning struck that wall and it started to fall, and the people of Safed made a day of feasting and happiness.

The Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, just three years before this story was written down.

The broken lintel stands till today, though the Antiquities Authority has made sure it won’t fall on the visiting tourists, by fixing it with cement.

[Thank you to Daniel Ventura and friends who helped with translating the Hebrew-transliterated medieval Italian.]

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Chanukah Special: Biblical Archeology Second Temple Artifact Found

Sunday, December 25th, 2011
In a rare Second Temple (Bayit Sheyni) period archeological find, Israel’s Antiquities Authority announced today that a small, yet significant artifact was found as part of the City of David archeological dig.


The artifact apparently served as authorization that a particular item or food was considered ritually pure for use in the Temple. The item was found underneath the Robinson Arch, 15 meters North of the Southwest corner of the Temple Mount. The item was located in the layers of dirt which covered the foundations of the Western retaining wall of the Temple Mount — which was the primary road during the second Temple period.

The excavated dirt was carefully sifted through by 3,500 volunteers, mostly Israeli high school students in the Emek Tzurim national park. The 2 cm artifact is made from tin, with the Aramaic words on it, “-daka” and “-leh” Daka in Aramaic means “pure” and “Leh” is part of G-d’s name.

According to the directors of the Antiquities Authority, archeologists Dr. Eli Shukrun, and Professor Roni Reich from Haifa University, the words mean, “Holy to God.” The artifact was a type of “bag check” for items brought to the Temple, ascertaining that it was holy and could be used.The Mishna (Oral Torah) in Shekalim, Chapter 5, uses the word “Chotam” — or signet seal. The Mishna lists 5 different types of signet seals, and this particular one is not listed — thereby adding an additional historical fact not detailed in the Mishna. (sources)Happy Chanuka!

 

Postscript: ElderofZiyon proposed an interesting theory:

Wiktionary translates “Daka” as “to cleanse, to purify.”

Intriguingly, Jastrow translates “Daka” as “humble” or “crushed.” And the Genesius Lexicontranslates it similarly:

Is it possible that “Daka l’Ya” doesn’t only mean “pure for God” but perhaps “crushed for God” – meaning it is a seal meant specifically for olive oil produced for the Temple service?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/muqata/chanukah-special-biblical-archeology-second-temple-artifact-found/2011/12/25/

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