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

Israeli 1,700-year-old Mosaic on Display at Louvre Museum

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world are expected to visit the spectacular 1,700-year-old Lod mosaic this summer at the Louvre, the first time an official Israeli exhibition will be displayed in the world’s most visited museum.

The spectacular Lod mosaic that was uncovered in an archaeological excavation by the Israel Antiquities Authority is on display starting tomorrow (Thursday) in the Cour du Sphinx (Sphinx Courtyard) in the Roman wing of the museum until August 19.

Approximately 700,000 visitors have attended exhibitions at five museums in the United States, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Only a number of private Israeli artists previously have been exhibited in the Louvre.

“This is a great honor and achievement for the Israel Antiquities Authority and a wonderful opportunity for the millions of visitors to the museum to see the masterpiece from Lod and learn about the archaeology and history of the Land of Israel,” said Shuka Dorfman, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The 1,700 year old mosaic, one of the most magnificent and largest ever revealed in Israel, was uncovered in Lod, near Ben Gurion Airport, in 1996 and was covered over again in order to protect it.

In 2009, after obtaining the necessary funding to expose it, the Israel Antiquities Authority renewed the archaeological excavation there and removed the mosaic from the site in order to conserve it.

The mosaic constitutes a rare archaeological gem that is extraordinarily well-preserved. It measures approximately 180 square meters and is composed of colorful carpets that depict in detail mammals, birds, fish, flora and the sailing and merchant vessels that were used at that time. It is thought the mosaic floor was part of a villa that belonged to a wealthy person in the Roman period.

The Louvre is holding a festive opening event on Thursday, sponsored by the Israeli embassy in Paris.

Archeological Chemists Authenticate Ancient Text with Egyptian Wedding Certificate

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

A scientist who helped verify authenticity of the fabled Gospel of Judas on Monday revealed how an ancient Egyptian marriage certificate played a pivotal role in confirming the veracity of inks used in the controversial text. The disclosure, which sheds new light on the intensive scientific efforts to validate the gospel, was made on Monday, at the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, in New Orleans.

“If we hadn’t found a Louvre study of Egyptian wedding and land contracts, which were from the same time period and had ink similar to that used to record the Gospel of Judas, we would have had a much more difficult time discerning whether the gospel was authentic,” said Joseph G. Barabe. A senior research microscopist at McCrone Associates, he led an analytical team of five scientists who worked on the project at McCrone, a consulting laboratory in microscopy and microanalysis in Westmont, Ill. “That study was the key piece of evidence that convinced us that the gospel ink was probably okay.”

Barabe’s team was part of a multidisciplinary effort organized in 2006 by the National Geographic Society to authenticate the Gospel of Judas, which was discovered in the late 1970s after having been hidden for nearly 1,700 years. The text, written in Egyptian Coptic, is compelling because — unlike other Biblical accounts that portray Judas Iscariot as a reviled traitor — it suggests that Jesus requested that his friend, Judas, betray him to authorities.

Barabe’s presentation was part of an ACS symposium on archeological chemistry. Other presentations included:

•Announcement of the unprecedented discovery of the most sacred Biblical dye at Masada, an ancient mountain fortress in Israel.

•Examination of the glues George Washington’s mother used to repair her ceramics and what it tells us about her life and the mending of china in the 18th century.

•Exploration of the use and trade of pulque — an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant —in prehistoric Mexico and Central America.

After analyzing a sample, Barabe and his colleagues concluded that the gospel was likely penned with an early form of iron gall ink that also included black carbon soot bound with a gum binder. While this finding suggested that the text may have been written in the third or fourth century A.D., the researchers were perplexed by one thing: The iron gall ink used in the gospel was different than anything they’d ever seen before. Typically, iron gall inks — at least those from the Middle Ages — were made from a concoction of iron sulfate and tannin acids, such as those extracted from oak gall nuts. But the iron gall ink used to produce the Gospel of Judas didn’t contain any sulfur. And that, Barabe said, was troubling.

“We didn’t understand it. It just didn’t fit in with anything that we had ever encountered,” he said. “It was one of the most anxiety-producing projects I’ve ever had. I would lie awake at night trying to figure it out. I was frantically searching for answers.”

Ultimately, Barabe found a reference to a small French study conducted by scientists at the Louvre who analyzed Egyptian marriage and land records written in Coptic and Greek and dating from the first to third centuries A.D. Much to Barabe’s relief, those researchers had determined that a wedding certificate and other documents were written in ink made with copper, but little or no sulfur.

“Finding that study, and realizing its implications, tilted my opinion a little in the direction of it being appropriate for the era,” Barabe said. “My memory of that experience remains quite vivid. I had a sudden feeling of peace that things were okay, and that I could submit my data without qualms.”

Barabe now suspects that the ink used in the Gospel of Judas was probably transitional, a “missing link” between the ancient world’s carbon-based inks and the iron gall inks (made with iron sulfate) that became popular in medieval times.

The scientists acknowledged funding from the National Geographic Society to complete this analysis.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/archeological-chemists-authenticate-ancient-text-with-egyptian-wedding-certificate/2013/04/09/

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