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Posted 13 June 2012 - 05:49 AM

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Israel Archaeological News

News items relating to recent discoveries in Israel and including up-dates of past discoveries.

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 06:00 AM

Archaeologists Uncovering Possible 10th Century B.C.E. City Gate Near Sea of Galilee

Fri, Jun 08, 2012

The discovery could shed more light on a period of time hotly debated among scholars.


"Although its traces were first excavated in 1994, it is only recently that archaeologists began to understand that what they had uncovered were the possible remains of a city gate dated to the 10th century B.C.E.

Located at an ancient Tel (or mound containing archaeological remains) just northeast of the Sea of Galilee, the structure is located near a later (9th century), fully excavated city gate complex which is part of a larger ancient settlement or city that some scholars suggest is the possible site of the capital city of the biblical Geshurites, a people who shared an important connection with the ancient Israelites. The Geshurite city also underlies the remains of what is believed to be the biblical town of Bethsaida, known from the Gospels as the birthplace of Jesus' disciples Peter, Andrew and Phillip. Bethsaida was a fishing town often visited by Jesus during his ministry, where some of the miracles as recorded in the Gospels were performed. The more ancient Geshurite city at the same location is eluded to in 2 Samuel 3:3, which records the birth of King David's son Absalom by his wife Maacah, who was the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur. The marriage between David and Maacah has been interpreted by scholars as a means of strengthening the political union between the kingdom of Geshur and Israel, as this was not an uncommon practice among the royalty of ancient kingdoms. It was also to the land of Geshur that Absalom fled for refuge after he slew his half-brother Amnon: "But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur." (2 Samuel 13:37) Absalom 's daughter, also called Maacah, married Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, the king of Judah after the united Israelite kingdom split into two kingdoms, Judah in the south and Israel in the north."

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 12:19 PM

Excavating Armageddon, Israeli Researchers Reveal Canaanite Past

By Gwen Ackerman - Jun 19, 2012 9:00 AM ET

"Archaeologists who found a 3,000- year-old gold ibex earring in the remains of the ancient Canaanite city identified with Armageddon anticipate further discoveries will broaden historical insight about the site.
Digging resumed on June 17, almost a month after the announcement that a jewelry trove was found in the remains of a private home built near the palace that housed the then rulers.

At question is a debate over whether Megiddo, now part of present-day Israel, was one of several Egyptian garrisons in the late Bronze Age, said Israel Finkelstein, co-director of the dig.

“I personally think Megiddo was not such a city,” Finkelstein said. “But what we are doing now illuminates this question.”

Megiddo, which the New Testament identifies with the “Armageddon” battle of the end of days, has been home to 37 different cities over thousands of years and is a trove of archaeological treasure."

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 04:53 AM

More on:

Pictures: "Emergency" Gold Treasures Found in Holy Land "Among the Most Valuable"

Photograph by Dan Balilty, AP

Though separated by a thousand years, two newfound "emergency hoards" from Israel­including gold jewelry and coins­may have been hidden by ancient families fleeing unknown dangers, archaeologists say.

Revealed late last month, these 3,000-year-old rings (foreground) and earrings, from the older hoard, were found in a ceramic jug among the ruins of a house. Though unearthed in 2010, the vessel concealed its cargo until late last year, when scientists began molecular analysis of the contents.

The valuables likely belonged to wealthy Canaanites­a Semitic people who inhabited ancient Palestine and Phoenicia beginning about 5,000 years ago­according to Tel Aviv University archaeologist Israel Finkelstein, who led the excavation.

Discovered near Megiddo­the biblical site of Armageddon­the trove is, according to Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "among the most valuable ever found from the Biblical period."

(Related pictures: Gold hoard is largest known Anglo-Saxon treasure.)

Brian Handwerk

Published June 19, 2012


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Posted 02 July 2012 - 12:41 PM

Ancient Synagogue and Mosaic Unearthed in Galilee

Huqoq discovery dates back 1,500 years; artwork depicts biblical story of Samson

By MATTI FRIEDMAN July 2, 2012, 9:44 am

"The remains of an ancient synagogue with a striking mosaic floor have been uncovered in northern Israel, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Monday.

The synagogue was uncovered in a dig that ended last week north-west of the Sea of Galilee at the ruins of the town of Huqoq, next to a modern-day kibbutz with the same name. The synagogue dates to between the 4th and 6th centuries C.E., according to the Antiquities Authority. At the time, Jewish life in the land of Israel was largely centered in the north."

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 04:17 AM

Is the Maccabees’ Ancient Mystery Close to Solution?

New impetus in the 150-year search for the spectacular tomb of the famed Judean rebels

By MATTI FRIEDMAN

July 9, 2012, 11:34 am

"Few ancient sites in the Holy Land have ignited the imagination like the lost tombs of the Maccabees, the family that led a Jewish rebel army to victory against Seleucid religious repression in the second century BCE.

Beginning more than 140 years ago, travelers, clergymen and enthusiastic scholars of varying levels of religious fervor and competence have been looking for the tomb site – described in contemporary sources as a magnificent Hellenistic monument that included pyramids and ships of carved stone and could be seen by sailors on the Mediterranean Sea, 18 miles away. The complex was one of the greatest man-made landmarks in ancient Judea.

No trace of it has ever been found.

For the early archaeologists who arrived in Ottoman Palestine with shovels, Bibles, and a thirst for the physical traces of the events described in Scripture, the tombs were a tantalizing mystery. More than a century later, so they remain.

Today, archaeologists have their eyes on a site that might — just might — provide an answer.

Maccabean Graves?

Many locals and visitors probably don’t realize there is a mystery at all. Off a road near the city of Modi’in in central Israel is a sign in English and Hebrew pointing unambiguously to the “Maccabean Graves,” and a path leads to 20 stone tombs cut deep into the rock on a nearby hillside. Prayers are held here every year on Hannukah, the holiday that celebrates the triumph of Mattathias the Priest and his five sons, who rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem in 165 BCE and established the Hasmonean royal dynasty."

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 01:30 PM

Archeologists Find 3,300-year-old Burnt Wheat

By SHARON UDASIN

07/24/2012 02:59

Team from Heb. U., Israel Nature and Parks Authority uncovers 14 large pithoi-style bulk storage jugs filled with wheat.

"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.

A team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) uncovered 14 large pithoi-style bulk storage jugs filled with the wheat inside what was a storage room in a monumental, palace-like building from the Canaanite period (2,000-3,000 BCE), the INPA said on Monday.

After the jars are fully exposed the researchers will transfer them to conservation and restoration laboratories. Afterwards, the palace will be covered up again until the next excavation season.

Archeological excavations at Hatzor have been conducted by Hebrew University in cooperation with the INPA for the past couple of decades. In 2007, according to the INPA, the hill was given World Heritage Site status.

“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."

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Also @

A 3,400-year-old mystery: Who burned the palace of Canaanite Hatzor?

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 05:37 AM

MONDAY, JULY 30, 2012

Seal helps give substance to the story of Samson?

"A seal has been discovered at excavations in Beit-Shemesh, which is not far from Tel-Gezer where I have been taking students to dig the last few years. According to Judges 14 and 15, Samson was from Zorah and his wife from Timnah. Beit-Shemesh was located in the same area between the two cities.

Archaeologists have uncovered a seal depicting a man with a large animal. Some say it shows Samson fighting the lion (Judges 14:5-6). Here is what they are saying."

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Haaretz

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 11:30 AM

July 29, 2012

Have the Skeletons of the Temple Mount Massacre Been Found?

Veteran journalist Benny Liss releases movie he filmed of underground cave on Temple Mount where he found a mass grave • He believes the skeletons are the remains of Jews massacred by the Romans when they destroyed the Temple Mount, but urges the authorities to properly examine the area.

Nadav Shragai

"Remains of thousands of Jews massacred by the Romans on the Temple Mount at the time of the destruction of the Second Temple may have been uncovered in Jerusalem, according to a veteran archaeological journalist.

During a conference on Thursday at Megalim – the City of David Institute for Jerusalem Studies, journalist Benny Liss screened a movie recorded a few years ago that clearly shows thousands of skeletons and human bones in what appears to be a mass grave.

Liss, veteran archaeological correspondent for Israel's Channel 1, told the amazed audience that the film had been shot in a spacious, underground cavern in the area of the Mercy Gate, near the eastern wall of the Temple Mount, but just outside it. Liss raised the possibility that the skeletons were the remains of 6,000 Jews, mostly women and children, killed on the Temple Mount when the Romans destroyed the Second Temple, as described in the writings of Flavius Josephus, who witnessed the destruction."

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Further:

Discovery of skeletons near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Comment @ Ritmeyer Archaeological Design

H/t: KG

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 03:31 AM

Archaeologists Claim Objects are Earliest 'Matches'

8 August 2012 Last updated at 06:54 GMT

By Nick Crumpton
BBC News

"Researchers from Israel say that mysterious clay and stone artefacts from Neolithic times could be the earliest known “matches”.

Although the cylindrical objects have been known about for some time, they had previously been interpreted as “cultic” phallic symbols.

The researchers’ new interpretation means these could be the earliest evidence of how fires were ignited.

The research was published in the open access journal Plos One.

The journal reports that the artefacts are almost 8,000 years old.

Although evidence of “pyrotechnology” in Eurasia is known from three quarters of a million years ago, this evidence usually takes the form of remnants of fire itself."

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 03:41 AM

Unique 1,300 Year Old Olive Oil Factory Unearthed in Tel Aviv Suburb

Antiquities Authority rescues Byzantine-era site from being paved over in Hod Hasharon

By ILAN BEN ZION August 7, 2012, 8:03 pm

An exceptional 1,300-year-old olive oil factory was unearthed Tuesday during excavations in the Tel Aviv suburb of Hod Hasharon. The Israel Antiquities Authority’s find, dated to the late Byzantine or early Muslim period, narrowly escaped being paved over by a planned roadway.

Excavators found a pressing floor for olives, a piping system, trenches, and cisterns that drained and stored the fresh olive oil. Stone weights used for pressing sacks of olives were found beside the ruins. By the archaeologists’ estimations, the site was an industrial concern and not private.

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 09:58 AM

Evidence The Sophisticated Carpentry Developed Alongside Agriculture During Neolithic Period

August 10, 2012

"A new study from Tel Aviv University reveals that the transition from hunting to agricultural societies parallels development of woodworking tools.

Early man evolved from hunter-gather to farmer and agriculturalist during the Neolithic Age, from approximately 10,000 – 6,000 BCE. Neolithic man also began living in larger settlements with a variety of domesticated animals and plant life. This transition brought about significant changes in the economy, architecture, man’s relationship to the environment, and more.

Dr. Ran Barkai of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations, along with a team of colleagues, has shed new light on this milestone in human evolution. The study demonstrates a direct connection between the development of woodworking tools and an agricultural society.

Prior to the Neolithic period, no evidence has been found to suggest that tools were powerful enough to cut and carve wood, let alone fell trees. New evidence suggests that as the Neolithic age progressed, sophisticated carpentry developed alongside agriculture.

“Intensive woodworking and tree-felling was a phenomenon that only appeared with the onset of the major changes in human life, including the transition to agriculture and permanent villages,” says Dr. Barkai, whose research was published in the journal PLoS ONE."

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 02:52 AM

The Palace of Annas the High Priest

Posted on August 28, 2012 by Leen Ritmeyer

Justin Taylor, with whom I worked on the ESV Study Bible, is co-authoring, with Andreas Köstenberger, a volume entitled Jesus’s Final Week: An Easter Chronology and Commentary. His interview with me concerning the High Priestly Palace can be seen on his blog:

He [Leen] has tentatively identified the “Palatial Mansion” (or “Herodian Mansion”) as the place of residence for Annas the high priest. If this is correct, then this would be a “look inside” the first phase of Jesus’s Jewish trial. And it may explain things like where the courtyard was located and how Jesus could look at Peter though they were in two different locations (Jesus inside and Peter outside, warming himself by a charcoal fire).


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Posted 30 August 2012 - 12:59 AM

Stone Age Figurines were Exposed in Archaeological Excavations at Tel Moza near Jerusalem (August 2012)

The two figurines – c. 9,500 year old – in the image of a ram and a wild bovine, point to the existence of a cultic belief in the region in the New Stone Age. They might have been used good-luck statu

"The figurines were found in excavations of the Israel Antiquities Authority prior to widening Highway 1 by the National Roads Company

Two figurines from the New Stone Age (Pre-Pottery Neolithic B) were discovered in excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is currently conducting at the Tel Moza archaeological site, prior to work being carried out on the new Highway 1 from Sha'ar HaGai to Jerusalem by the National Roads Company.

According to Anna Eirikh and Dr. Hamoudi Khalaily, directors of the excavation at the site on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “The figurines, which are 9,000-9,500 years old, were found near a large round building whose foundations were built of fieldstones and upper parts of the walls were apparently made of mud brick. The first figurine, in the shape of a ram with twisted horns, was fashioned from limestone and is c. 15 cm in size. The sculpting is extraordinary and precisely depicts details of the animal’s image; the head and the horns protrude in front of the body and their proportions are extremely accurate. The body was made smooth and the legs of the figurine were incised in order to distinguish them from the rest of the body. The second figurine, which was fashioned on hard smoothed dolomite, is an abstract design; yet it too seems to depict a large animal with prominent horns that separate the elongated body from the head. The horns emerge from the middle of the head sideward and resemble those of a wild bovine or buffalo”."

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 12:27 PM

Archaeologists Unearth Ruins of 1,500-year-old Jewish Town in Southern Israel

Authorities will change the planned route of Highway 6 to avoid damaging newly unearthed remains

By MATTI FRIEDMAN

September 2, 2012, 6:09 pm

Israeli archaeologists digging on the route of a planned highway have found new ruins from a 1,500-year-old Jewish town, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Sunday.

"The remains of two Jewish ritual baths and two public buildings were uncovered in a salvage dig ahead of the paving of a new section of Israel’s Highway 6, a north-south toll road eventually slated to run much of the length of the country.

Both of the public buildings feature raised platforms along the walls facing Jerusalem, archaeologists say — a trademark feature of Jewish houses of prayer.

The highway will be rerouted to preserve the ruins, the IAA statement said."

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 02:18 PM

Israeli Archaeologists Uncover 3,000-year-old Cistern in Jerusalem

Discovery near the Western Wall has changed archaeologists’ understanding of Jerusalem’s water supply during the First Temple Period.

By Nir Hasson | Sep.06, 2012 | 3:48 PM

"A large public water cistern, dating back to the period of the First Temple, was recently discovered in archaeological excavations conducted in Jerusalem. The cistern is the first of its kind to be uncovered in Jerusalem.

The excavations, conducted at a site in the Jerusalem Archaeological Garden not far from the Western Wall, are being carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority in cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority and funded by the Elad foundation.

In recent years, archaeologists with the Antiquities Authority have been excavating a large channel running from the Temple Mount area to around the Siloam Pool. Today, visitors can already tour a part of the channel which is located near the Western Wall."

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 02:51 AM

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on

Israeli Archaeologists Uncover 3,000-year-old Cistern in Jerusalem

"According to Eli Shukron, Excavation Director on Behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "It is now absolutely clear that the Jerusalem's water consumption during the First Temple Period was not solely based on the output of the Gihon Spring, but that it also relied on Public Reservoirs"."

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 03:38 AM

Popular Archaeology

Archaeologists Return to Excavate Near Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Fri, Sep 07, 2012

"Beginning August 22, 2012, a team of archaeologists, other specialists, and students from the Herbert W. Armstrong College in Edmond Oklahoma in the U.S. have returned to the site of the headline-making discoveries in the "Ophel" area near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The area contains structural features and artifacts bearing on thousands of years of human occupation.

The Ophel is the narrow promontory that straddles the southern edge of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and Old City, and is thought to contain monumental remains extending from at least the time of the early Israelite and Judahite kings through the Byzantine and early Islamic periods."

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 03:34 AM

The Conservation Work at the Lions Gate has Finished

September 2012

"The largest and most important project carried out in the past 5 years by the Jerusalem Development Company, Prime Minister’s Office and the Israel Antiquities Authority of conserving and rehabilitating the Old City walls and gates has been completed

The work of preserving and stabilizing the Lions Gate in the Old City’s eastern wall has been completed. This impressive gate is the last of the seven open gates of the city wall that were meticulously and professionally treated in recent years by the Conservation Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority. This was done within the framework of the comprehensive project of conserving and rehabilitating the Old City walls, at the initiative of and with funding provided by the Jerusalem Development Authority and the Prime Minister’s Office.

At the start of the conservation work on the Lions Gate the project engineers discovered that the sentry’s post situated above the gate’s entrance, which was where the soldier guarding the tower once stood, was in danger of collapse. The sentry’s post was entirely dismantled, broken stones in it were replaced and it was returned and secured to its original place on the wall. The two lions carved on either side of the gate also underwent conservation and cleaning.

Within the framework of the conservation work carried out on the Old City walls in Jerusalem, which lasted five years, the walls were conserved which had been built and renovated in the mid-sixteenth century by the Ottoman sultan Suleiman I. Both sides of the wall were treated for a total distance of c. 3,800 m. Each and every one of the stones in the wall was photographed with a laser, documented and studied. Approximately 1,000 deteriorating stones were stabilized; c. 2,000 square meters at the top of the wall were stabilized and sealed to prevent the penetration of water; c. 350 merlons and embrasures were conserved and the stone work in them was completed; c. 2,000 square meters of stones in the wall were dismantled and rebuilt due to vegetation that had taken root in them and a total of c. 5,000 square meters of the walls’ surface were cleaned."

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 02:43 AM

Hadashot Arkheologiyot - Journal 124

Palmahim (North)
Preliminary Report

Amir Gorzalczany , Rona Winter-Livaeh , Angelina Dagot and Vadim Shustin

13/9/2012

"During November–December 2011, a salvage excavation was conducted northeast of Qibbuz Palmahim (Permit No. A-6345; map ref. 17287–9/64927–33), after ancient remains were discovered in preliminary antiquities inspections. The excavation, undertaken on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and underwritten by the Via Maris Company, was directed by A. Gorzalczany, with the assistance of R. Winter-Livneh, A. Dagot and V. Shustin (area supervision), Y. Amrani (administration), M. Kahan and M. Kipnis (surveying and drafting), A. Ganor and J. Bukengolts (field restoration), A. Peretz (field photography), O. Marder (flint artifacts) and D. Bar Yosef (mollusks). R. Gophna, E. van den Brink and E. Braun generously contributed of their considerable knowledge of the Chalcolithic period. Additional assistance was provided by M. Ajami and F. Volynsky."

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