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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘artifacts’

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,

Evidence of Stone Age Cultic Phallic Symbols Found in Israel

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Plans to build a new railway line in the north have lead to the discovery of an ancient Stone Age settlement with evidence of flint and stone tools and cultic sexual symbols.

Prior to work on the rail line to Karmiel, east of Haifa, the Israel Antiquities Authority excavated the Ahihud Junction and unearthed remains and artifacts from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period and the Early Chalcolithic period, dating from the seventh to the fifth millennium BCE.

“For the first time in the country, entire buildings and extensive habitation levels were exposed from these early periods, in which the rich material culture of the local residents was discovered,” said excavation directors Drs. Yitzhak Paz and Yaakov Vardi

They found remains of a village and “a large number of pottery vessels indicative of a highly developed pottery industry, flint tools, stone objects, as well as a number of unique artistic artifacts, among them a phallic figurine and a palette on which female genitals are schematically etched – these symbols also represented the fertility of the earth.”

“The ancient settlement remains ascribed to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period were discovered on top of the bedrock in which the ancient inhabitants hew different installations, and even built plaster floors in several spots. We found a large number of flint and obsidian arrowheads, polished miniature stone axes, blades and other flint and stone tools,” the archaeologists added.

One of the materials for the tools is not found in Israel, indicating that trade flourished with other regions, including Turkey.

“Another unique find that can be attributed to this period is the thousands of charred broad bean seeds that were discovered together inside a pit. The Neolithic and Chalcolithic societies were agrarian societies that resided in villages, and it was during these periods that the agricultural revolution took place, when plants and animals were domesticated. This is one of the earliest examples of the proper cultivation of legumes in the Middle East,” they explained.

A preliminary analysis of the animal bones discovered at the site shows that pigs were a principal staple in the diet of the inhabitants.

Arabs Ignoring High Court Ruling, Dumping Artifacts off Temple Mount

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

A demonstration was held last Wednesday (Dec. 26) at the northern entrance to the Temple Mount, in protest of the Waqf’s continued destruction of archeological artifacts on the holy site. The demonstrators, led by MK Aryeh Eldad, called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to intervene and to stop the obliteration of these priceless antiques by the Waqf.

The Waqf, a Jordanian Muslim religious body entrusted with the management of the Temple Mount, has been renovating the site for years. In the process, they have been moving mounds of earth off the mountain. These piles contain numerous archaeological artifacts from many centuries. In 2004, the High Court of Justice passed a ruling prohibiting the removal of the dirt from the Temple Mount to other locations until the contents are combed for artifacts.

Archaeologist Yitzchak Dvira has recently published a report about the Waqf’s ongoing disregard of the High Court’s ruling. In his report he states that since the ruling in 2004, large piles of earth have accumulated on the eastern side of the Temple Mount, and the Waqf continues to move earth from the Temple Mount to dump sites in East Jerusalem. Dvira has documented several recent incidents of heavy machinery moving earth away from the Temple Mount. These actions have resulted in the loss of artifacts important to understanding the Jewish, Christian and Muslim history of the site.

Dvira and his crew have sifted through the piles of earth removed from the Mount and have recovered many artifacts belonging to various historical periods. They have recovered seals baring the names of priests mentioned in the book of Jeremiah, support beams from the First Temple, remnants of the structure of the Second Temple, arrow heads and horse-shoe nails from the Crusade period and even artifacts from the Muslim period.

Dvira states that he sees dozens such artifacts every day in the mounds on the side of the Temple Mount. He told Tazpit News Agency that he believes the earth piles should be removed, but it should be done in a supervised fashion, ensuring no further losses. Dvira submitted his report to the police who have released a statement declaring that all construction on the Temple Mount is under their close supervision, and that Dvira’s claims are incorrect. As of now, all other supervisory agencies have not provided a response.

Dvira points out that all issues regarding the Temple Mount are overseen by the Prime Minister’s Office, and he suspects that there is consent on their part to the Waqf’s actions. PM Netanyahu met with King Abdullah of Jordan last week, and Dvira believes they discussed issues related to the Temple Mount project. The Jordanians have been pressuring the Israeli Government to allow the removal of the earth mounds on the side of the Temple Mount.

Dvira and the Temple Mount organizations warn that this continued neglect and disregard of the law will bring to further loss of historic relics. They intend to petition the High Court once more soon.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/arabs-ignoring-high-court-ruling-dumping-artifacts-off-temple-mount/2012/12/30/

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