… archaeologists have discovered the remains of a 2,300-year-old rural village that dates back to the Second Temple period, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced.
Trenches covering some 8,000 square feet (750 square meters) revealed narrow alleys and a few single-family stone houses, each containing several rooms and an open courtyard. Among the ruins, archaeologists also found dozens of coins, cooking pots, milling tools and jars for storing oil and wine.
“The rooms generally served as residential and storage rooms, while domestic tasks were carried out in the courtyards,” Irina Zilberbod, the excavation director for the IAA, explained in a statement.
Archaeologists don’t know what the town would have been called in ancient times, but it sits near the legendary Burma Road, a route that allowed supplies and food to flow into Jerusalem during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The rural village located on a ridge with a clear view of the surrounding countryside, and people inhabiting the region during the Second Temple period likely cultivated orchards and vineyards to make a living, IAA officials said.
The Second Temple period (538 B.C. to A.D. 70) refers to the lifetime of the Jewish temple that was built on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to replace the First Temple after it was destroyed. Archaeological evidence suggests this provincial village hit its peak during the third century B.C., when Judea was under the control of the Seleucid monarchy after the breakup of Alexander the Great’s empire. Residents seem to have abandoned the town at the end of the Hasmonean dynasty — when Herod the Great came into power in 37 B.C. — perhaps to chase better job opportunities in the city amid an economic downturn.
“The phenomenon of villages and farms being abandoned at the end of the Hasmonean dynasty or the beginning of Herod the Great’s succeeding rule is one that we are familiar with from many rural sites in Judea,” archaeologist Yuval Baruch explained in a statement. “And it may be related to Herod’s massive building projects in Jerusalem, particularly the construction of the Temple Mount, and the mass migration of villagers to the capital to work on these projects.”
The discovery was made during a salvage excavation ahead of a construction project that began last year; a 21-mile-long (35 kilometers) gas pipeline was supposed to run through the site, but engineering plans were revised to go around the ruins, IAA officials said. Salvage excavations are common in Israel to avoid building over ancient sites. For instance, remarkably well-preserved Byzantine church mosaics were recently revealed ahead of the construction of a park, and an ancient Roman road connecting Jerusalem to Jaffa was uncovered ahead of the installation of a drainage pipe.
Wayne Stiles has a helpful look.
A great post over at Gatestone Institute:
There is no individual or group that is empowered to act as “the voice of Palestinian Christians.” It is not “the Palestinian Christians” but just one or two individuals who pen those public statements, even if these appear under a title that can vary from the respectable (“Heads of Churches”) to the preposterous (“Kairos Palestine”). The only worthwhile question is whether the message is composed in a truly Christian spirit or is merely political agitation clothed in theological verbiage.
Something was written by somebody and sent to various people, then put out in the name of “the churches in Jerusalem,” whether or not the people contacted had even reacted to it.
Christmas 2013 has been marred, once again, by petty Jew-haters in churches who pose as champions of the Palestinians. The details have been faithfully collected here. Often they claim to be acting on behalf of “the Palestinian Christians.” But the Palestinian Christians whom they evoke as witnesses may be merely some clique that has no authority to speak in the name of “Palestinian Christianity,” such as the handful of has-beens and wannabes who authored the so-called Kairos Palestine Document. Arguably, the “Heads of Churches in Jerusalem” is the only body that expresses the authentic opinion of Palestinian Christians. But even that assumption lacks a foundation, as we shall see.
The 2013 Christmas message of the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem is, for sure, an admirable and exemplary statement of Christian theology that could guide all people of good will. It consoles the Christian victims of the contemporary Middle East without picking out anyone for blame or descending into partisan politics. Only fanatics, of whatever persuasion, could disagree with such expressions as: “Violence is seen as the only way to impose order and achieve security by some or as the only way to resist oppression and injustice by others. We firmly believe that violence is not the way and that the Jesus as the Prince of Peace came to show us not only how to be reconciled to God, but how to be reconciled to one another. Peace has to begin in the human heart as we recognize the common humanity which we share with every single person who has been created in God’s image.”
Who is the message talking about? As much about Syrians and Egyptians as about Israelis and Palestinians, as other parts of the message make clear, though without naming and shaming anyone. Just a few years ago, however, there was a marked bias toward the Palestinians in repeated messages issued in the name of the Heads of Churches, whether the regular messages every Christmas and Easter or ones responding to particular events. Sometimes the messages were stuffed with political demands upon Israeli governments and the various Palestinian factions…
Read on here.
There is plenty more, and it is spot on. Well done!!!
HT goes to Virtue Online.
With Israel situated in one of the world’s earthquake-prone areas, officials are taking action to protect the Holy Land’s most important ancient treasures so they don’t come tumbling down.
After a series of five moderate earthquakes shook the country in October, experts installed a seismic monitoring system at the Tower of David, one of Jerusalem’s most important — and most visible — historical sites.
The project is Israel’s first attempt to use such technology to determine structural weaknesses in the countless ancient edifices that dot the Holy Land. The efforts, however, have been slowed by authorities’ reticence to publically declare sites as vulnerable, as well as the explosive geopolitics surrounding ancient Jewish, Christian and Muslim sites at the heart of the Mideast conflict.
“We have to remember that this is the Holy Land,” said Avi Shapira, head of a national steering committee for earthquake preparedness. “We have some responsibility not only to preserve the historical monuments of our personal heritage … but also for the rest of the world.”
Most of Israel’s historical sites “have not been checked,” said Shapira. “We have them on the map, but an engineer still hasn’t visited them.”
Israel sits along the friction point of the African and Arabian tectonic plates, and is prone to small tremors. The earthquakes in October caused no major damage, but made Israelis jittery. About once a century throughout history, a large earthquake has rattled the region, often damaging key historical sites. The last major quake occurred in 1927.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, was destroyed in an earthquake shortly after it was built in the 8th century and was damaged and repaired multiple times since due to quakes. The 1927 quake, which was over 6 in magnitude, caused hundreds of deaths and damaged Al-Aqsa and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built on the site where Jesus is believed to have been crucified and buried.
Israel has been bracing for another major earthquake for years. But those efforts have focused on retrofitting existing schools and hospitals and apartment buildings, and improving standards in new construction.
The country is just getting around to surveying its historical sites, and the assessment process has turned out to be sensitive.
Government experts have not published any findings on historical sites at risk, and it is unclear which government authority would be compelled to take responsibility for sites should they face earthquake damage.
Political sensitivities have prevented Israeli officials from conducting earthquake-impact assessments on the region’s most revered, most ancient, and likely most vulnerable sites, including the gold-capped Dome of the Rock, said an official on Israel’s earthquake preparedness steering committee. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.
In the past, Israeli involvement in the Old City’s ancient buildings has sparked protest from Palestinians who seek sovereignty there in their quest for an independent state.
After a centuries-old access ramp to a key holy site was damaged by stormy weather in 2004, Arab and Muslim leaders worldwide protested Israeli excavation work in preparation for the construction of a new ramp, accusing Israel of impinging on the site with conflicting ownership claims.
The site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, has ignited violence when Muslims have perceived Israel to encroach upon the compound.
Israel’s Antiquities Authority, in charge of conserving the country’s ancient sites, declined comment on the earthquake assessment efforts…
Read more here.
Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech to supporters this past weekend that he will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state and he will not sign a peace deal that does not include eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, the Jewish Press website reports today (January 13, 2014).
The Palestinian Authority chairman made the inflammatory remarks on January 11 during a visit by hundreds of Palestinian activists to his Ramallah headquarters in Samaria.
Abbas also told the delegation that without East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state, there will be “no peace between us and Israel.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will not sign a peace agreement unless the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
This behaviour is totally unacceptable and to be denounced in the in the strongest terms. If only we could get proper archaeologists in there!
Muslim worshippers don’t just have more freedom to pray on the Temple Mount, a recent investigation reveals: they apparently also have permission to drill.
An investigation Monday by Yehuda Glick, Director of the Haliba organization for Jewish freedom on the Temple Mount, caught Waqf officials red-handed in the act of drilling through the ancient stones.
Vandalizing the Mount – Judaism’s holiest site and a national landmark for people of all religions – violates the law; when caught in the act on film, the perpetrators quickly tried to conceal their actions.
The Waqf is the Jordanian-run Islamic trust which administers the Temple Mount. It has been accused on numerous occasions of mounting a concerted campaign to “Islamize” the site by destroying ancient Jewish artifacts.
Glick spoke to Arutz Sheva about the revelation and about the special session of the Knesset Committee for the Interior Wednesday regarding the ineffectiveness of Israeli law enforcement system in light of recent events at the Temple Mount compound.
Glick said that on Monday, during his daily visit, he noticed a group of Waqf officials drilling with heavy machinery at the site. Needless to say, such an act is supposed be performed only after obtaining permission from the authorities and in the presence of a government inspector.
“They saw me coming and immediately tried to hide. It set off warning bells for me and I started filming straight away,” Glick recalled. “They tried to hide, and then shouted to the policeman who was there that I could not take pictures without their permission. The policeman ignored them.”
Glick stated that the Waqf officials were using a drill bit measuring over a meter long to drill through the stones, potentially causing serious damage to artifacts buried underneath. “This is in contempt of the law,” he lamented…
If correct, the decryption attests to an organized administration and system in which people were literate, and had a system for classifying wine by quality.
A possible decryption of the oldest inscription ever found at an archaeological site in Jerusalem has interesting implications. If correct, the decryption attests to an organized administration and system in which people were literate, and had a system for classifying wine by quality.
The inscription was found in the Ophel area, south of the Temple Mount, at an archaeological dig run by Dr. Eilat Mazar, from the Archaeological Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The inscription, uncovered six months ago, is etched into a remnant of what was a large clay pitcher, and is eight letters long. It is dated to the second half of the 10th century BCE, the days of King Solomon.
Most scholars who have examined the inscription determined that it was written in an ancient near eastern language, and not in Hebrew.
An article recently published by Professor Gershon Galil from the department of Jewish History at Haifa University, however, suggests a new analysis of the inscription.
Galil suggests that it is written in ancient Hebrew. “The writing itself is unimportant, in Europe, there are currently many languages that use Latin letters,” explains Galil. The word that Galil deciphered, which suggests that the inscription is written in ancient Hebrew is “yayin,” which means wine.
“Here we see the word ‘yayin.’ When you check how all the languages from that period and region wrote ‘wine,’ you see they wrote it with one ‘yud,’ – the same in Samarian northern Hebrew. The Phoenicians wrote it the same way as well. Aside from the southern Hebrew of that time, even the scrolls found in Qumran preserve the same spelling of the word,” explains Galil.
According to Galil, the inscription should be read “in the year [… ]M, wine, part, m[…]”
Galil posits that the inscription can be divided into three parts that describe the wine stored in the pitcher. The first letter is a final “mem”, perhaps the end of the word for twenty or thirty – as in the twentieth or thirtieth year of the kingdom of Solomon. “Wine part” is the kind of wine, and the “mem” represents the place from which it was brought to Jerusalem.
“Wine part” is a term that is known from the Ugarit language from northern Syria, which is the lowest of three categories used to define wine: “good wine,” “no good,” and “partial.”
“This wine wasn’t served to Solomon’s emissaries, or in the temple, but apparently was for the slave construction workers who worked in the area,” says Galil.
From other, later sources, archaeologists know that the low quality wine was given to soldiers or forced laborers. The fact that the wine was of low quality is also logical considering that it was stored in a large vessel that did not keep it very fresh.
This new theory regarding the inscription will no doubt cause a big stir among the archaeological community, regarding the periods of Kings David and Solomon. Many archaeologists claim that during biblical times, Jerusalem was not a large or important city, despite the way it was described in Biblical literature.
Professor Galil and other supporters of the Biblical accounts see the Bible as a historical document, and this particular interpretation of the inscription supports the existence of a complex administrative system, as well as a hierarchical society with regulated shipping from far off places. These claims support the Biblical version of the story, which describes Jerusalem as a large, important city, that ruled over significant kingdoms.
The inscription, according to researchers who support the Biblical version of the history, supports the theory that Jerusalem expanded during King Solomon’s time, from the City of David to the Temple Mount.
An interesting documentary for your viewing.