Archaeological find stirs debate on David's kingdom

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    May 09, 2012 11:53 AM GMT
    Archaeological find stirs debate on David's kingdom
    Two small containers unearthed at Khirbet Qeiyafa are believed to be the first-ever archaeological evidence of Judean ritual dating from the time of David, about the 10th century B.C.E.


    Excerpts from:

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/archaeological-find-stirs-debate-on-david-s-kingdom-1.429087

    Two small containers, one of clay and one of stone, unearthed at Khirbet Qeiyafa near Beit Shemesh, are believed to be the first-ever archaeological evidence of Judean ritual dating from the time of David, about the 10th century B.C.E.

    Furthermore, the models resemble the description of Solomon's Temple in the biblical Book of Kings, say the head of the Hebrew University expedition to Tel Qeiyafa, Prof. Yossi Garfinkel, and his associate from the Israel Antiquities Authority, Sa'ar Ganor.

    The ruin known as Khirbet Qeiyafa, on a rocky slope overlooking the Elah Valley in Israel's western lowlands, contains remnants of a walled city dating back 3,000 years. Originally the walls rose to a height of some six meters. Along the walls, which still stand three meters tall in some places, archaeologists have discovered the remains of 99 dwellings.

    According to Garfinkel, Khirbet Qeiyafa is the first proof of the existence of a regional government during the time of David. This evidence is a significant counter-claim to scholars who say David's kingdom was nothing more than a meagerly populated village in the Jerusalem area. These scholars, known as minimalists, say that in the absence of extra-biblical support, Scripture's depiction of David's kingdom as large and powerful cannot be accepted.

    ...Garfinkel told reporters that the boxes, 20 and 35 centimeters high, and which they believe contained symbols of a deity, are important because they are "identical to the object the Bible calls 'the ark of the Lord.'"

    Containers of this type, which look like model shrines, are known to archaeologists from other sites, but Garfinkel says the Khirbet Qeiyafa finds are unique because they reveal motifs known from the biblical description of Solomon's Temple.

    The clay container features a decorated opening flanked by lions and two pillars that Garfinkel says recall "Boaz and Yachin" - pillars that flanked Solomon's Temple, according to the Bible.

    Garfinkel says a depiction of three straight beams appears on the clay container, above which are three circles as well as a design apparently representing the curtain that covered the entrance to the Holy of Holies.

    Above that, three birds can be discerned on the roof, recalling the sacrifice of birds in the Temple.

    According to Garfinkel, the stone container also recalls the Bible's description of Solomon's palace and the Temple: "And there were beams in three rows; and light was over against light in three ranks" (I Kings 7:4 ).

    What was inside the boxes? Garfinkel and Ganor do not think there were figurines because no figurines have been discovered at the site.

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    May 09, 2012 11:55 AM GMT
    Dissenting opinion

    However, Prof. Nadav Na'aman, a historian and archaeologist at Tel Aviv University, discounts Garfinkel and Ganor's conclusions. "These are beautiful finds but they are not special in that similar ones have been found in various places, and they should therefore not be connected in any way to the ark," nor to the Temple in Jerusalem, says Na'aman.

    He says believers made models of shrines out of various materials as an act of devotion. "There was no such thing as making a model that represented a temple in another place."

    He said he found the combination on one of the items of lions and doves very interesting. "The dove is connected to a fertility goddess, and this combination hints that the model belonged to a cultic site of a fertility goddess. I think Qeiyafa was a Canaanite site that had no connection to Jerusalem," he added.

    ...Garfinkel and Ganor say the shrine models they have found differ from those known so far and that their design underscores a Judean connection.

    But Garfinkel says he does not need the shrines to prove that Qeiyafa was Judean - other discoveries at the site do it for him. For example, out of thousands of animal bones unearthed there, none were pig bones, and no figurines were found - two elements some see as alluding to biblical prohibitions. An inscribed potsherd was also found there whose writing some archaeologists identify as ancient Hebrew.

    Na'aman has a different explanation for the lack of pig bones: "The Canaanites also did not eat pork. Only the Philistines ate a great deal of pork at this time." As for figurines, Na'aman says places elsewhere in Judea "were full of figurines."

    Minimalists also discount the inscribed potsherd, saying it is impossible to differentiate its letters from other languages at that time.

    Whether Judean or Canaanite, ammunition for the minimalists or the maximalists, one thing is certain about Khirbet Qeiyafa - the slated expansion of nearby Ramat Beit Shemesh would swallow it up, endangering what Ganor calls "a heritage site of the first order."

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    May 09, 2012 7:26 PM GMT
    Thanks for posting this. I would love to see this some day and I hope they keep these pieces close to the original site. So many archaeological pieces end up in a museum miles away from where they were found. It is more interesting to see them close by the sight.
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    May 10, 2012 1:05 AM GMT
    Good point. Sometimes continents away.

    The Citadel in the old city of Jerusalem is now a museum.
    All the items within are reproductions.
    The only part that it authentic, "real", is the building itself.
    (Still a worthwhile tour.)
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    May 10, 2012 1:18 PM GMT
    pouncer> In a word: unenlightening.

    Your posts never are enlightening.
    Too bad you didn't bother to read the OP in full and rushed to make a fool of yourself.


    pouncer> Evidently, this is a site where multiple gods were worshipped and idols of animals venerated, at a time when many of the tribes in Canaan (with the notable exception of the Philistines) instituted a ban on eating pork.

    Except that, as already noted, no figurines or "idols of animals" were found at this site.
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    May 10, 2012 1:53 PM GMT
    Hi,

    I'm the author of The Greatest Bible Study in Historical Accuracy, Second Edition by Steefen which is due out later this year. The first edition is still available in print edition. It is also published under the title Insights on the Exodus, King David, and Jesus by Steefen.

    I'm very interested in archaeological finds which address the historical accuracy of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible.

    Steefen



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    Jul 10, 2012 6:38 PM GMT
    Another discover last week:

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-07-02/biblical-samson-torches-fox-tails-in-ancient-synagogue-mosaic

    Biblical Samson ties burning torches to the tails of foxes, as related in the Book of Judges, and two human faces flank a medallion with a Hebrew inscription that refers to rewards for those who perform good deeds.

    These images are depicted in a newly discovered 1,600-year- old synagogue mosaic, made of tiny colored stone cubes of the highest quality. The work was uncovered by archaeologists excavating the Jewish village of Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee.

    “This discovery is significant,” Jodi Magness, an archaeologist from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said today. “Only a small number of ancient Late Roman synagogue buildings are decorated with mosaics showing biblical scenes, and only two others have scenes with Samson. One is at another site just a couple of miles from Huqoq.”

    Magness said the discovery suggests a high level of prosperity in the village, which is several miles inland from the Sea of Galilee and is known for cultivation of the mustard plant.

    F120702FF03-725x283.jpg
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    Jul 10, 2012 6:48 PM GMT
    StephenOABC saidHi,

    I'm the author of The Greatest Bible Study in Historical Accuracy, Second Edition by Steefen which is due out later this year. The first edition is still available in print edition. It is also published under the title Insights on the Exodus, King David, and Jesus by Steefen.

    I'm very interested in archaeological finds which address the historical accuracy of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible.

    Steefen





    Why is the "historical accuracy" of the Abrahamaic writing even an issue?

    For goodness sake.. i have never heard a Buddhist or a Hindu or a Jain or a Shinto or a Navajo make such attempts at making their religious stories "accurate" or even attempting to demonstrate their veracity.. its totally enervating and drove me completely away from all Abrahamaic faiths a long time ago
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    Jul 10, 2012 6:54 PM GMT
    Thanks for posting! This is amazing news! icon_cool.gificon_cool.gificon_cool.gif
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    Jul 10, 2012 7:08 PM GMT
    GreenHopper said
    StephenOABC saidHi,

    I'm the author of The Greatest Bible Study in Historical Accuracy, Second Edition by Steefen which is due out later this year. The first edition is still available in print edition. It is also published under the title Insights on the Exodus, King David, and Jesus by Steefen.

    I'm very interested in archaeological finds which address the historical accuracy of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible.

    Steefen





    Why is the "historical accuracy" of the Abrahamaic writing even an issue?

    For goodness sake.. i have never heard a Buddhist or a Hindu or a Jain or a Shinto or a Navajo make such attempts at making their religious stories "accurate" or even attempting to demonstrate their veracity.. its totally enervating and drove me completely away from all Abrahamaic faiths a long time ago



    from the jewish side it´s a (misguided and unpersuasive) attempt to show the land is theirs. For conservative christians it´s about their epistemology.
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    Jul 10, 2012 7:19 PM GMT
    GonzoTheGreat saidfrom the jewish side it´s a (misguided and unpersuasive) attempt to show the land is theirs.

    Completely disagree. For the looney-religious Jews, the state of Israel shouldn't exist until the coming of the Messiah.

    Most Jews base their claims not on a mythical promise to a mythical Abraham, but on the fact that Jews have lived on this land, continuously, for over 3300 years.

    As an atheist Jew (who doesn't even believe in the Exodus per se), there is nonetheless historical accuracy in much of Nevi'im (the N of TaNaK). If you ignore the Book of Joshua (an anthology of earlier events mixed into one) and the religious add-ons, much of this has been corroborated by historical and archeological finds.

    It's intellectually fun to see - like doing a puzzle, as pieces fall into place. And I think there is a "aha!" component, like when Anderson Cooper comes out ("yup, knew it all along").
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    Jul 10, 2012 11:21 PM GMT
    ("yup, knew it all along").

    ^^^THIS seems to be the point of most historical research when it comes to religious texts and the tribes who ascribe to them.

    Has ANY 'Biblical researcher' EVER made a discovery, followed by an announcement of

    "WOW, this find totally debunks my faith!"
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    Jul 11, 2012 5:17 AM GMT
    Nope, just like we "knew all along" that Anderson Cooper was gay, we can't disprove that Tom Cruise isn't. icon_smile.gif

    Seriously, though, it's not like most (let alone all) archeologists (and historians) are religious [nuts].

    A lot of people seem to miss that much of the Old Testament isn't religious per se but historical accounts.

    Imagine that a big round table is found along with an inscription about the house of Arthur. This does nothing to prove that some guy named Merlin could cast spells, it says nothing about the existence of dragons, proves not that the Holy Grail existed and was found or that there was a Lady of the Lake.

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    Jul 12, 2012 3:01 PM GMT
    Technology Identifies Lost Color at Roman Forum

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/25/arts/design/menorah-on-arch-of-titus-in-roman-forum-was-rich-yellow.html

    ROME — Historical sources describe the menorah looted by the Romans when they destroyed the Second Temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70 as made of gold, as God instructed Moses in Exodus.

    So the recent discovery that a version of the menorah in a bas-relief on the first-century Arch of Titus in the Roman Forum was originally painted a rich yellow should not come as much of a surprise. But given that the image faded to the color of its underlying stone long ago — like so much else in and around the Forum — precise knowledge of its once-bright pigmentation comes as an exciting revelation to historians and archaeologists.

    “The Bible said it was gold, but the monument, as it was seen for centuries, told us it was white,” said Steven Fine, the director of the Arch of Titus Digital Restoration Project and a professor of Jewish history at Yeshiva University in New York, which is sponsoring the project. “Isn’t it cool to be that much closer to the viewers of the first and second century?”

    The findings were made possible using noninvasive spectrometry readings carried out on the arch this month.

    ...Mr. Piening did spectrometric readings on the arch and compared them with a database of pigments and dyes to identify the original color. The menorah, he said, was painted a particular yellow ocher “that would have looked like gold from far away.”
  • conservativej...

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    Jul 13, 2012 12:01 AM GMT
    That is near the Elah valley. I suspect there are many finds there we have yet to see.
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    Jul 24, 2012 5:27 PM GMT
    Archeologists find 3,300-year-old burnt wheat
    Team from Heb. U., Israel Nature and Parks Authority uncovers 14 large pithoi-style bulk storage jugs filled with wheat.


    http://www.jpost.com/Sci-Tech/Article.aspx?id=278651

    Archeologists have discovered large jars filled with 3,300-year-old burnt wheat at the excavation sites of the Tel Hatzor National Park in the Upper Galilee.

    ...“Hatzor flourished during the Middle Canaanite period (1,750 BCE) and during the Israelite period (900 BCE), and generated the biggest fortified complex in Israel during this period,” said Dr. Zvika Tsuk, chief archeologist of the INPA.

    “The city was one of the most important towns for the duration of the Fertile Crescent, maintaining trade relations with cities in Babylon and Syria, and substantial quantities of tin for the bronze industry were sent to the city.”

    Significant excavations in the 1950s and ’60s were led by Yigael Yadin, the archeologist responsible for discoveries at Masada and Megiddo, according to Tsuk. Tel Hatzor received World Heritage Site status, alongside the biblical remains at Megiddo and Beersheba, in large part due to Yadin’s work, Tsuk said.

    “The water system built at Hatzor is one of the largest and most amazing that have been exposed in the country, and everyone who continues to explore the site finds more and more secrets and details about our past in Israel,” he added.