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July 22, 2014 / 24 Tammuz, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘archaeology’

‘Sunken Treasure Chest’ of Ancient Pottery found in Woman’s Basement

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

“Hello, Israel Antiquities Authority? Look, I am cleaning out my basement and there is a whole bunch of pottery and other stuff here that my family of fishermen left me. Maybe you guys want the junk so my grandchildren can see it in the future?”

That is not a direct quote, but is closer to the truth than what the archaeologists at IAA expected when they arrived at the home of Osnat Lester in the northern Israel tower of Poriya.

They certainly did not they would discover a whole treasure of well-preserved ancient pottery.

They found a bunch of boxed that contained ancient and rare unbroken pottery vessels. Lester explained that a fisherman in her family had hauled the pottery out of the Mediterranean Sea.

The vessels cover several period of time, evidence of the importance of the Mediterranean in journeys my merchants whose wares often were left behind or were sunk, often with their ships, said IAA spokeswoman Yoli Shwartz.

One of the vases was identified as being about 3,000 years old, at the time of the Jewish kingdoms. Other pieces of pottery were from the Roman and Byzantine periods.

 

 

 

 

New Dig in Hebron Aimed at Uncovering King David’s Palace

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has started digging for evidence of the Kingdom of David in Hebron, but leftists have charged it is just an excuse for another outpost.

The archaeological site is located in the Jewish neighborhood at Tel Rumeida, although the Haaretz English version headlined it was “Palestinian Hebron,” which is par for the course for the newspaper that is relied on by most foreign journalists for information to belittle Israel as a Jewish country.

Peace Now’s director Yariv Oppenheimer chimed in, “This is settlement expansion under the guise of archaeology. He told Haaretz , “Under US Secretary of State John Kerry’s nose, Defense Minister [Moshe Ya’alon] is enabling the settlers to expand and change the status quo in the most sensitive part of the West Bank.”

The Jewish Press decided not to embarrass Oppenheimer by interviewing him about what would be the significance if archeologists find the remains of the palace of King David during his reign 3,000 years ago.

Tel Rumeida is on one of the higher hills in Hebron, a site where it is logical that a king would build his palace.

The two lots of ground where the dig is taking place are owned by Jews. It is next to a site that already has been dug and has revealed ancient artifacts, including walls from the Biblical period.

Hebron Jewish community spokesman David Wilder told The Jewish Press Thursday that the Jewish community in the city has been trying for years to convince government authorities to provide the money and archaeologists to dig there. He said one wall has been identified as dating back to the time of the forefather Avraham.

Wilder dismissed as nonsense the claim that the site will be for a new outpost but added that plans for building for Jews elsewhere in Hebron are on the table, awaiting the approval of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Don’t hold your breath, at least not until U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry goes back to the U.S. State Dept. to find another area in the world to make worse.

The importance of Hebron for finding the roots of monotheism and Jewish history was expressed years ago by an archaeologist, who also was a key member of Peace Now. Wilder said the archaeologist, whom he did not want to name, told him, “Hebron is the most archeological site in Israel, after Jerusalem – and it all belongs to Arafat.”

Of course, Yasser Arafat is long gone, but the uncovered history of Hebron remains underground.

Wilder admitted that no one ever knows what will be found until after digging is completed, but given the location of Tel Rumeida, it is hoped that remnants of King David’s palace will be found.

If that happens, the whole Muslim lie that the kingdoms never existed crumbles, which might be one reason why Peace Now and Haaretz are so aghast at the new dig.

Many Israeli archaeologists have turned down the opportunity to supervise digging at Tel Rumeida, despite its probable rich historical treasure.

Finally, with  financial and political help from Likud Minister of Sport and Culture Limor Livnat and from the Antiquities Authority,  Ariel University and IAA archaeologists will take on the task.

The Palestinian Authority’s interest in the dig can been assumed from its destruction of history on the Temple Mount, where Israeli authorities four years have closed their eyes to Muslim authorities hauling away tons of debris that might include evidence of the First and Second Holy Temples.

Researchers Find Ancient Fabrics in Colors Noted in Jewish Sources

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Centuries-old fabrics identified by Israel Antiquities Authority researchers include one that may have been made by means of a technique similar to making the tekhelet (blue)in tzitzit, the fringes that the Bible commands be worn on four-cornered garments.

To date, only two pieces of fabric treated with actual dye-murex have been found in Israel

The fabrics identified by Dr. Na‘ama Sukenik represent the most prestigious colors in antiquity – indigo, purple and crimson, – that are mentioned in Jewish sources

Thousands of fabrics dating to the Roman period have been discovered in the Judean Desert and regions of the Negev and the Arava. So far only two were colored with dye extracted from the murex snail. Now, within the framework of a study conducted by Dr. Sukenik, three other rare fabrics belonging to pieces of prestigious textiles were exposed that might have been used as clothing in the Roman period.

Dr. Sukenik’s doctoral dissertation was supervised by Professor Zohar Amar and Dr. David Illuz of Bar-Ilan University, and the textiles were examined by Dr. Orit Shamir, Curator of Organic Materials at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

These prestigious textiles, from the Wadi Murabba‘at caves located south of Qumran, were revealed in a study that analyzed the dye of 180 textiles specimens from the Judean Desert caves. Among the many textiles, most of which were dyed using substances derived from plants, were two purple-bordeaux colored textiles – parts of tunics that were double dyed utilizing two of the most expensive materials in antiquity – Murex trunculus (Hexaplex trunculus) and American Cochineal insect .

Photo: Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority

Photo: Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority

A third textile, made of wool, indicating the thread fibers were dyed by exposing them to sunlight or heated after having been dyed, represent another use of the murex snail for achieving a shade of blue, and it is possible that the item in question is an indigo fabric made by means of a technique similar to making the tekhelet (blue)in a tzitzit.

The importance of this fabric is extremely significant as there are practically no parallels for it in the archaeological record.

Dr. Sukenik, assisted by Dr. Alexander Varvak, examined the colors using advanced analytical instrumentation for identifying dye substances (HPLC).

The testing of the fabrics, performed by Dr. Orit Shamir of the Israel Antiquities Authority, revealed that the two purple textiles were spinning in a unique manner characteristic of imported textiles, whereas the blue textile was spinning in the same fashion as the local textiles.

Of all of the dyes that were in use, purple is considered the most prestigious color of the earlier periods, but it seems the public’s fondness for this reached its peak in the Hellenistic-Roman period. The purple dyed fabrics attested to the prestige of the garment and the social status of its owner.

There were times when the masses were forbidden from dressing in purple clothing, which was reserved for only the emperor and his family. These measures only served to increase the popularity of that color, the price of which soared and was equal to that of gold.

It is difficult to know for certain how such prestigious fabrics came to be in the Murabba‘at caves. They might have been part of the property belonging to Jewish refugees from the time of the Bar-Kokhba revolt and demonstrate their economic prosperity prior to the outbreak of the uprising.

Another possibility is that they were part of the possessions of a small Roman unit, which on the basis of the artifacts was stationed in the Murabba‘at caves following the Bar Kokhba revolt.  It is likely these same soldiers brought some of their belongings from overseas to Israel and others they purchased from the local Jewish population during their service in the country.

Israeli Museum Names Hall for US Fugitive Kobi Alexander

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Only in Israel.

The Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv is naming a hall after U.S. fugitive and former Comverse technology CEO Kobi Alexander, who along with his sister donated money for renovating the museum’s Glass Pavilion, now called the Shaula and Kobi Alexander Center.

Alexander, a native of Israel, fled to Namibia in 2006 after being indicted in the United States for fraud and still is wanted by the American government. Nambia has no extradition treaty with the United States.

The Eretz Israel Museum said it asked Alexander for a donation, and Globes reported that museum director Ilan Cohen said, “I welcome the connection with the Alexander family that has donated to the museum over the years. His father Tzvi Alexander donated his important and rare stamp collection to the museum.”

As for naming a hall after a fugitive,  he stated, “There are no criteria for naming buildings for people.”

The Eretz Israel Museum is one of the largest in the country and includes exhibits of archeology, ethnography, stamps, folklore, Judaica, traditional crafts, popular art, cultural history, and local identity.

An archaeological site dating back more 3,000 years is in the center of the museum.

Highway Work Uncovers 900-Year-0ld Fountain in Garden

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Construction of a modern highway once again has exposed an ancient site, this time a 900-year-old fountain in a garden, the first time a fountain has been discovered outside the known wealthier districts of Old Ramle

The excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority were carried out at the entrance to Ramle, in an area where a bridge is slated to be constructed as part of the new Highway 44 that will pass over e railroad tracks and relieve drivers from a bottle neck and very long delays during rush hours.

Two residential rooms were exposed of a wealthy estate that was built of ashlar stones. Archaeologists date the structure to the Fatimid period (late 10th century and first half of the 11th century CE).

A fountain made of mosaic covered with plaster and stone slabs was uncovered west of the building. A system of pipes consisting of terra cotta sections and connectors made of store jars led to the fountain. A large cistern and a system of pipes and channels that was used to convey water were discovered next to the residential building. A smithy’s forge built of bricks and used for manufacturing iron tools was exposed c. 20 meters south of the structure.

“It seems that a private building belonging to a wealthy family was located there and that the fountain was used for ornamentation,” said Hagit Torgë, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. “This is the first time that a fountain has been discovered outside the known, more affluent quarters of Old Ramle. Most of the fountains that we are aware of from this period in Ramle were concentrated around the White Mosque, which was the center of the Old City of Ramle.

“In addition, this is the first time that the fountain’s plumbing was discovered completely intact. The pipes of other fountains did not survive the earthquakes that struck the country in 1033 and 1068 CE.”

It seems the entire area was abandoned in the mid-eleventh century CE, probably in the wake of the earthquake.

Ramla was established at the beginning of the eighth century CE. Its founding is ascribed to the ruler Suleiman Ibn ‘Abd al-Malik, and it was built as the district capital (Jund Filastin) and in certain periods its importance even eclipsed that of Jerusalem. Ramle grew and expanded during the Abbasid and Fatimid periods, and it was an important economic center in Israel as a result of its strategic location on the road from Cairo to Damascus and from Yafo to Jerusalem.

Numerous oil lamps, a baby’s rattle and parts of dolls made of bone were discovered in the excavation area.

Upon completion of the archaeological excavation, the fountain, which was in an excellent state of preservation, was removed from the area and was relocated in the Pool of the Arches compound in the city where it will be displayed.

PA Caught Digging in Area of Maccabee Era Artifacts

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

The Palestinian Authority for years has been trying to destroy evidence of the existence of the Holy Temples, and new fears have arisen that they may try to the same in a Gush Etzion location of artifacts from the Hashmonean Dynasty, when the Miracle of Hanukkah occurred.

Artifacts and remnants of a fortress dating back to the period are located at the site that is being excavated near Bethlehem in an area where Israelis have not officiallyvisited for 20 years due to restrictions written in the Oslo Accords.

The Kfar Etzion Field School received special permission to visit the archaeological site and discovered that the Palestinian Authority has been organizing digs there, leading to fears that artifacts will be lost forever. A large fortress was uncovered at the site in the 1980s, and archaeologists have said it was built after the battle in which Judah the Maccabee was killed.

Archaeologists Discover 10,000 Years of History near Beit Shemesh

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Israel Antiquities Authority excavations prior to the widening of a highway in Beit Shemesh, west of Jerusalem, have uncovered rare finds of a 6,000 year old cultic temple, the first 10,000 year old building to be discovered in the Judean plain and a nearby cluster of rare axes

The large excavation area will be open to the public on Wednesday.

Settlement remains were unearthed at the site, the earliest of which dates to the beginning of the eighth millennium BCE and latest to the end of the fourth millennium BCE.

The finds revealed at the site range from the period when man first started to domesticate plants and animals, instead of searching for them in the wild, until the period when of the beginnings of proper urban planning.

The oldest artifacts that were exposed at the site are ascribed to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period of approximately 10,000 years ago.

“This is the first time that such an ancient structure has been discovered in the Judean Shephelah (plain),” according to Drs. Amir Golani, Ya‘akov Vardi, and Ron Be’eri and Binyamin Storchan, excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority,

The building, almost all of which was found, underwent a number of construction and repair phases that offer evidence that whoever built the house did something that was totally innovative because up until this period man migrated from place to place in search of food.

The cluster of nine flint and limestone axes that were discovered lying side by side near the prehistoric make it “apparent that the axes, some of which were used as tools and some as cultic objects, were highly valued by their owner,” the archaeologists said.

“Just as today we are unable to get along without a cellular telephone and a computer, they too attributed great importance to their tool,” they added. “Based on how it was arranged at the time of its discovery, it seems that the cluster of axes was abandoned by its owner for some unknown reason,”

In the archaeological excavation conducted at Eshta’ol, an important and rare find from the end of the Chalcolithic period in the second half of the fifth millennium BCE was discovered in the adjacent area.

During the course of the excavation, 6,000-year-old buildings were exposed and a stone column was discovered alongside one of them. The standing stone is 1.30 meters (51 inches) high and weighs several hundred pounds.

“The standing stone was smoothed and worked on all six of its sides, and was erected with one of its sides facing east,” according to the excavation directors.”

“We uncovered a multitude of unique finds during the excavation,” said Dr. Amir Golani, one of the excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. “The large excavation affords us a broad picture of the progression and development of the society in the settlement throughout the ages. Thus we can clearly see that in the Early Bronze Age, 5,000 years ago, the rural society made the transition to an urban society.

“We can see distinctly a settlement that gradually became planned, which included alleys and buildings that were extremely impressive from the standpoint of their size and the manner of their construction. We can clearly trace the urban planning and see the guiding hand of the settlement’s leadership that chose to regulate the construction in the crowded regions in the center of the settlement and allowed less planning along its periphery.

“It is fascinating to see how in such an ancient period a planned settlement was established in which there is orderly construction, and trace the development of the society which became increasingly hierarchical.”

Aerial view of excavations prior to widening the highway at Beit Shemesh,

Aerial view of excavations prior to widening the highway at Beit Shemesh,

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/archaeologists-discover-10000-years-of-history-near-beit-shemesh/2013/11/25/

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