web analytics
January 24, 2017 / 26 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘period’

Large First Temple Period Gate-Shrine Excavated in Central Israel

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

An important and unusual discovery was made in archaeological excavations that were carried out in the Tel Lachish National Park, an archaeological site located in the Shfela (lowland) region of Israel between Mount Hebron and the Mediterranean coast. The find is a gate-shrine from the First Temple period (eighth century BCE) in what archaeologists perceive as compelling evidence of King Hezekiah’s efforts to abolish idol worship there, as described in the Bible: “He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles…” (II Kings 18:4).

The archaeological excavation was conducted between January and March by the Israel Antiquities Authority, at the initiative of the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage and in cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority, in order to further the continued development of the Tel Lachish National Park. The northern part of the gate was uncovered decades ago, and the current excavation aims to expose the gate completely. The gate that emerged is the largest known from the First Temple period.

a-computerized-image-of-the-lachish-city-gate-jpeg

A computerized image of the Lachish city gate. Photo credit: Architects Ram Shoaf and Hila Berger-Onn, Israel Antiquities Authority Conservation Department.

According to Sa’ar Ganor, excavation director on behalf of the IAA, “The size of the gate is consistent with the historical and archaeological knowledge we possess, whereby Lachish was a major city and the most important one after Jerusalem.” According to the biblical narrative, the city gate was where the city elders, judges, governors, kings and officials sat on their benches, as the core of civic life. “These benches were found in our excavation,” Ganor noted.

The Lachish city gate (73.5 × 73.5 ft.), which is now completely exposed and preserved to a height of 12 ft., consists of six chambers, three on either side, and the city’s main street that passed between them. Artifacts discovered in its rooms indicate how they were used in the eighth century BCE: in the first chamber were benches with armrests, at the foot of which were numerous finds including jars, a large number of scoops for loading grain and stamped jar handles that bear the name of the official or a lmlk (belonging to the king) seal impression. Two of the handles bear the seal impression lmlk hbrn (belonging to the king of Hebron). The word lmlk is written on one of the handles together with a depiction of a four-winged beetle (scarab), and another impression bears the name lnhm avadi, who was probably a senior official during the reign of King Hezekiah. It seems that these jars were related to the military and administrative preparations of the Kingdom of Judah in the war against Sennacherib, king of Assyria (705- 681 BCE).

Excavation work in the gate-shrine exposed at Tel Lachish. The altar with its truncated horns is visible in the center of the frame. Photo credit: Saʽar Ganor, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Excavation work in the gate-shrine exposed at Tel Lachish. The altar with its truncated horns is visible in the center of the frame. Photo credit: Saʽar Ganor, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The continuation of the building is a gate-shrine whose walls were treated with white plaster. According to Ganor, “Steps to the gate-shrine in the form of a staircase ascended to a large room where there was a bench upon which offerings were placed. An opening was exposed in the corner of the room that led to the holy of holies; to our great excitement, we found two four-horned altars and scores of ceramic finds consisting of lamps, bowls, and stands in this room. It is most interesting that the horns on the altar were intentionally truncated! That is probably evidence of the religious reform attributed to King Hezekiah, whereby religious worship was centralized in Jerusalem and the cultic high places that were built outside the capital were destroyed: “He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles…” (II Kings 18:4)

Artifacts from the First Temple period that were uncovered in the excavation – oil lamps, seal impressions that were stamped for the purpose of identifying jars, arrowheads, etc. Photo credit: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Artifacts from the First Temple period that were uncovered in the excavation – oil lamps, seal impressions that were stamped for the purpose of identifying jars, arrowheads, etc. Photo credit: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Besides cutting the horns on the altar, in order to further intensify the abolition of worship in the gate-shrine, a toilet was installed in the holy of holies as the ultimate desecration of that place. A stone fashioned in the shape of a chair with a hole in its center was found in the corner of the room. Stones of this type have been identified in archaeological research as toilets. Evidence of abolishing cultic locations by installing a toilet in them is known in the Bible, as illustrated in the case of Jehu destroying the cult of Baʽal in Samaria: “And they demolished the pillar of Baʽal, and demolished the house of Baʽal, and made it a latrine to this day.” (II Kings 10:27) This is the first time that an archaeological find confirms this phenomenon. Laboratory tests we conducted in the spot where the stone toilet was placed suggest it was never used. Hence, we can conclude that the placement of the toilet had been symbolic, after which the holy of holies was sealed until the site was destroyed.

According to the Minister of Jerusalem and Heritage and Environmental Protection Ze’ev Elkin, “the fascinating new discovery at Tel Lachish is a typical example whereby excavations and further research of heritage sites show us time and time again how biblical tales that are known to us become historical and archaeological stories. … Before our very eyes these new finds become the biblical verses themselves and speak in their voice.”

The toilet archaeologists believe was placed there symbolically in order to defile and abolish the cultic worship in the gate-shrine — at the time of its discovery. Photo credit: Igor Kramerman.

The toilet archaeologists believe was placed there symbolically in order to defile and abolish the cultic worship in the gate-shrine — at the time of its discovery. Photo credit: Igor Kramerman.

According to the Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev, “the uncovering of these finds joins a long list of discoveries that enlighten us about our historic past, a past that is manifested in our country’s soil and in the writings of the Book of Books.”

According to Shaul Goldstein, director-general of the Nature and Parks Authority, “Tel Lachish is one of the most quintessential places where one can get unequivocal proof of Israel’s hold on its land. The new visitor center will include the relief that was found in the private room of the King of Assyria which depicts our forefathers in their war and as they entered captivity that led to a life of exile that continues to this day. The altar from the time of King Hezekiah constitutes another sacred link to this important settlement.”

The gate at Tel Lachish was destroyed by Sennacherib, king of Assyria, in 701 BCE. The excavation revealed destruction layers in the wake of that defeat, including arrowheads and sling stones, indicative of the hand-to-hand combat that took place in the city’s gatehouse. Evidence of Sennacherib’s military campaign in Judah is known from the archaeological record, the Bible (II Kings 18 and II Chronicles 32), and the Lachish wall reliefs from Sennacherib’s palace in Nineveh, depicting the story of the city’s conquest.

At this time the gate is temporarily covered for conservation purposes and cannot be seen. The Nature and Parks Authority, in cooperation with the IAA, is currently engaged in the continued development and conservation of the site in preparation of opening it to visitors.

JNi.Media

Rare Roman Period Frescoes Discovered in Galilee

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

A team from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem has discovered hundreds of fragments belonging to frescoes from the Roman period in the Zippori National Park, west of Nazareth in Upper Galilee. The fragments, which contain figurative images, floral patterns and geometric motifs, shed light on Zippori (Sepphoris), which was an important urban center for the Jews of the Galilee during the Roman and Byzantine periods.

The discovery was made this summer in the excavations at Zippori, conducted in memory of Ursula Johanna and Fritz Werner Blumenthal of Perth, Western Australia. The excavations are directed by Prof. Zeev Weiss, the Eleazar L. Sukenik Professor of Archaeology at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology.

The frescoes decorated a monumental building that was erected in the early second century CE north of the decumanus, a colonnaded street that cut across the city from east to west and continued to the foot of the Acropolis. The building, whose function is not clear at this stage of excavation, spread over a wide area, and the nature of the artifacts discovered indicate that it was an important public building. At the center of the building was a stone-paved courtyard and side portico decorated with stucco. West and north of the courtyard, several underground vaults were discovered. Some of these were used as water cisterns and their construction was of high quality. The monumental building was built on the slope and the vaults were designed to allow the construction of the superstructure located on the level of the decumanus (an east-west-oriented road in a Roman city).

The monumental building was dismantled in the third century CE for reasons that are unclear, and replaced by another public building, larger than its predecessor, parts of which were uncovered during this digging season. The monumental building’s walls were dismantled in antiquity and its building materials — stone and plaster, some colorful — were buried under the floors of a newly established Roman building on the same location. Hundreds of plaster fragments discovered during this excavation season were concentrated in one area, and it seems that they belonged to one or several rooms from the previous building.

Guilloche, in a fresco from Zippori, dating from the early Second Century CE (Photo: G. Laron).

Guilloche, in a fresco from Zippori, dating from the early Second Century CE (Photo: G. Laron).

The patterns on the plaster fragments are varied and are decorated in many colors. Among them are geometric patterns (guilloche) and brightly colored wall panels. Other fragments contain floral motifs (light shaded paintings on red backgrounds or various colors on a white background).

Particularly important are the pieces which depict figures — the head of a lion, a horned animal (possibly a bull), a bird, a tiger’s hindquarters and more — usually on a black background. At least one fragment contains a depiction of a man bearing a club. Research on these pieces is in its early stages but it is already clear that at least one room in the building was decorated with figurative images, possibly depicting exotic animals and birds in various positions.

A bull's head in a fresco from Zippori, dating from the early Second Century C.E. (Photo: G. Laron)

A bull’s head in a fresco from Zippori, dating from the early Second Century C.E. (Photo: G. Laron)

The population of Zippori prior to the Great Revolt against the Romans was not very large, and archaeological finds dating to this period are particularly notable for the absence of figurative images – both humans and animals. The construction of the Roman city of Zippori after the Great Revolt, in the late first century and the second century CE, is indicative of a change in the attitude of Galilean Jews toward Rome and its culture. The city gained the status of a polis thanks to its loyalty to Rome during the Great Revolt, and constructed monumental public buildings, as befit a polis, that stood out in the urban landscape. This building boom also included the monumental building discovered north of the decumanus whose walls were decorated with frescoes, and whose remains were discovered during this season.

The new finds in Zippori contribute significantly to the research of Roman art in Israel. To date, excavators have uncovered the walls of several public and private buildings from Roman Zippori (second and third centuries CE) which were decorated with colorful frescoes in geometric and floral patterns. This season’s finds are the first, only and earliest evidence of figurative images in wall paintings at the site. The finds date to the beginning of the second century CE. Parallels to these finds are virtually unknown at other Israeli sites of the same period. Some panels bearing depictions of figures were discovered a few years ago in Herod’s palace at Herodium, and according to Josephus (Life of Josephus 65-69) the walls of the palace of Herod Antipas in Tiberias were also decorated with wall paintings depicting animals; but beyond that, no murals with depictions of figures, dating to the first century and the beginning of the second century CE, have been discovered to date in the region.

The discovery in Zippori is unique and provides new information regarding murals in Israel under Roman rule. Zippori is well known for its unique mosaics. The newly discovered frescos are now added to the city’s rich material culture. While the earliest mosaics discovered at the site date to around 200 CE, the ancient frescoes precede them by about a hundred years and are thus of great importance.

These finds raise questions relating to their socio-historic background. Who initiated the construction of the monumental building that was discovered north of the decumanus? Who is responsible for choosing the patterns that adorn the walls, and for whom were they intended?

The various finds uncovered throughout the site indicate that Zippori, the Jewish capital of Galilee, was home to many Jewish inhabitants throughout the Roman period, but the city also had a significant pagan community for which the temple was built to the south of the decumanus, opposite the monumental building, parts of which were discovered this season. It is difficult at this stage of the excavation to determine who was responsible for the construction and decoration of this monumental building. However, the new finds clearly reflect the multi-cultural climate that characterizes Zippori in the years following the Great Revolt, in the late first century and the second century CE.

JNi.Media

Rich Get Richer: Germany Saves $55 Billion on Crisis

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Germany is profiting from the debt crisis that’s debilitating most of their neighbors to the south and south-east, by saving more than 40 billion euros in interest on its government debt. Meanwhile, German treasury bonds doing fabulously well due to strong demand from investors seeking a safe haven, Spigel reported.

According to the German Finance Ministry, Germany will save a total of €40.9 billion (roughly $55 billion) in interest payments in the years 2010 to 2014, because of the difference between actual and budgeted interest payments.

On average, the interest rate on all new federal government bond issues fell by almost a full percentage point in the 2010 to 2014 period, according to the report, and Germany is a considered a very safe creditor in investors’ circles.

The rule of when it rains it pours seems to be working in Germany’s favor as well: it is seeing unprecedented high tax revenues from its robust economy, which has also led to a decline in new borrowing.

Between 2010 and 2012, the German government issued €73 billion (about $97 billion) less in new debt than it had planned.

On the other side of things, according to the Finance Ministry, the costs of the euro crisis for Germany have so far added up to €599 million, Spiegel reported.

This should be good news to all of us paranoids who fear a reawakening of the sleeping German militaristic giant who would try once more to conquer the world. Who needs to conquer the world when you can buy it for so much less?

Yori Yanover

Can Women say Kaddish?

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

When a parent dies one of the things done during the year long mourning period is to say Kaddish. This is usually done by a son. The idea behind that is to build up Zechuyos (merit) for the Niftar (the deceased).

The reason we do that is based on the idea that most people do not live a sin free life and before one merits his final place in Olam HaBa, the soul has to go through a ‘cleansing period’ whereby it pays for sins it committed during its brief stay in the body. By doing things in the merit of the Niftar it is hoped that the punishment it gets during this ‘cleansing period’ will be reduced.

This is a universal practice in Judaism. No matter how great – or not so great – the deceased parent was, assuming he was not a Rasha the practice is to say Kaddish for the same amount of time (11 months. Saying Kaddish for more than 11 months implies that the deceased was a Rasha). Why Kaddish was established as opposed to other ways of bringing merit to the deceased is beyond the scope of this post.

The question arises as to whether a woman can say Kaddish for a parent. There are differences of opinion about that. I am not here to Paskin. That is beyond my pay grade. But I believe there are Poskim that permit it.You would think that a woman saying Kaddish for a parent in Shul was tantamount to using profanity the way some people react to it. That is not OK. From a letter submitted to JOFA:

No, you can’t say kaddish because you’re a woman… Shh! Why can’t you keep your voice quiet!? We can hear you over the mechitza!… [The silence when no one says amen to my kaddish recitation]… You know, it doesn’t actually count when a daughter says kaddish… Couldn’t you get your husband or father to say kaddish instead?… It would be much more respectful if you didn’t say kaddish… Is there a man who is REALLY saying kaddish for your mom?

No one has a right to criticize any woman for saying Kaddish for a deceased parent. No matter what their opinion is about the permissibly or effectiveness of it. To say the things said to one such woman contained in this letter (reproduced above), is not only insensitive, but in my view a disgusting psychological abuse of another human being. An abuse of the type Chazal had some very harsh words for: Kol HaMelaben Pnei Chavero B’Rabim K’ilu Shofech Damo! Embarrassing some one publicly is tantamount to murder.

Kayla Jacobs submitted this letter as a reason for needing JOFA – the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance.

I submit that she does not need JOFA for that. I am not a member of JOFA and I am as outraged by such comments as she and any Orthodox Feminist is. Justifiably so. But do we really need a Feminist organization to protest this kind of insensitivity on the part of some ignorant people? Or do we need common sense?

Where is the empathy? Where is the Jewish Soul? Where is the brain?!

What kind of human being would insult a woman who is expressing the best way she knows how her mourning for a parent?

I do not see this as a feminist issue at all. This is a human issue. And if there are more than a few people in the religious world who are like this, the fault lies in the Chinuch they get. Either in the home or in the school. Or both.

Not that they aren’t entitled to their views with respect to who gets to say Kaddish and who doesn’t. Honorable people can disagree about that. But in how to treat a fellow human being. Especially one who is suffering the loss of a parent. The disgusting comments contained in that letter is not how that is done. Those kinds of statements can only lead down a different road. One that will require offspring to say Kaddish for more than 11 months.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Harry Maryles

Defense Min. Barak: We Didn’t Want to Conquer Gaza

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

In an interview with Israel Radio, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that he considered conquering Gaza throughout Operation Pillar of Defense, but did not take the step because he did not want Israel to remain in the region for a long period of time.

In his first interview since Wednesday night’s ceasefire agreement, in which Barak declared that the Israeli military had accomplished its goals “in full” over the course of the eight day operation, Barak said that while Israel could have removed Hamas from power, it would have meant that Israel would be “forced to stay in for years”, and that it would have been difficult to figure out how to withdraw from Gaza again.

Barak boasted that “while our Chief of Staff will soon be talking to the press, their Chief of Staff is in the ground”, referring to Hamas military chief Ahmded Jabari, who Israel killed on the first day of Pillar of Defense.

Barak said Israel hit Hamas with one thousand times the force with which Hamas hit Israel, and praised the “powerful, effective army”.

Malkah Fleisher

Home Front Command Issues New Guidelines for Southern Communities

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Home Front Command has issued defense guidelines to residents of the South. In communities between 0 and 4 miles from the Gaza Strip border: upon hearing sirens or an explosion, you must get into a protected space within the available period of time. Schools will be closed tomorrow. There is a temporary prohibition on public assembly. Do not try to reach work places for tasks that are not essential. Shopping centers are closed.

In communities that are within 4 and 25 miles from the Gaza Strip: upon hearing a siren or an explosion, you must get into a protected space in time. Schools will be closed in all municipalities. No public assembly of more than 100 in open and closed spaces (shows, events , soccer games, etc.). It is permitted to hold gatherings of fewer than 100 without restriction. No restriction on nonessential jobs, malls are open.

Jewish Press News Briefs

IDF Spokesman: There Is No ‘Hourglass’ Over this Operation, We Have a Green Light

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

IDF spokesman, Brigadier General Yoav (Poly) Mordechai said: “We are facing a lengthy period during which we must prepare resiliently at the home front, listen to instructions, and stay close to protected areas. In the coming hours, the smoke will continue to rise above Gaza. The Chief of staff in the war room and the Air Force proceeds with aggressive and accurate attacks. We are in the midst of a campaign that will keep increasing. There is no ‘Hourglass’ over this operation – we’ve received the green light from the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense. If I were a senior Hamas official – I would be looking for a place to hide. There will be a ground operation should the need arise. Infantry brigades are being diverted to support the war effort.”

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-spokesman-there-is-no-hourglass-over-this-operation-we-have-a-green-light/2012/11/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: