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Israel & Palestine: Archaeology & Archaeological Findings

Yeah; my missus picked up some Minoan potsherds at Knossos, about a thousand years older than that. In some locations, relics are co common that archaeologists just throw them aside.
Well, some towns in Germany make the... apparently legit, claim that the reason some of their roads are so old and worn looking... is that they were built by the ROMAN LEGIONS 2000-ish years ago.

Seriously, stone cobble roads last a ridiculous amount of time when built and maintained properly. so what if it's a little bumpy when it's able to last millennia?

OOH! another fun fact I learned recently: one of the reasons archaeologists spend so much time studying cuneiform... is that even today 4000 or so years after they were written... we have 10,000 examples of Elamite Cuneiform alone. then there's Persian, Hittite, and all the others who used Cuneiform too! Why so common? Well, a lot of the time they'd take the clay they wrote on, bake it in an oven to make it stop being squishy and allow them to transport the document long distances. Yeah, well... it's effectively pottery at that point, and they'd often just pile the used documents in dark holes instead of actually destroying them. Sometimes they'd keep them as official records, but sometimes they'd just toss them in a corner and forget about them. they're durable enough that it meant that tens of thousands of those documents survived for 4+ MILLENNIA.

Some really old things are actually very common. Hmm... I wonder how much it'd cost to buy a real one?
 

Archeologists discover 6,000-year-old fishing hook in central Israel.​

Experts believe that ancient artifact could be one of the oldest fishing hooks ever found and say it was used to catch big fish like sharks and tuna.



Archaeologists in Israel have discovered a rare artifact that could be one of the oldest fishhooks in the world. The 6,000-year-old copper fishhook was unearthed during excavations carried out by the Israel Antiquity Authority ahead of the construction of a new neighborhood in Ashkelon in 2018.



The hook, which is believed to have been used for fishing sharks or other large fish, has never been presented to the public before and will be displayed for the first time at Israel’s 48th Archaeological Congress in April.

Dr. Yael Abadi-Reiss with the hook

Dr. Yael Abadi-Reiss with the hook

The find was presented by Dr. Yael Abadi-Reiss, co-director of the excavation, and Dr. Daniel Varga, both from the Israel Antiquity Authority. “This unique find is 6.5 cm long and 4 cm wide, its large dimensions making it suitable for hunting 2–3 m long sharks or large tuna fish. More ancient fishhooks found previously were made of bone and were much smaller than this one.”
“The use of copper began in the Chalcolithic period and it is fascinating to discover that this technological innovation was applied in antiquity for the production of fishhooks for fishermen along the Mediterranean coast,” Abadi-Reiss explained.
During the Chalcolithic period, Ashkelon was surrounded by sizable settlements that relied on agricultural practices still prevalent in modern times. These communities sustained themselves through livestock rearing, including sheep, goats, and cattle, as well as cultivating crops such as wheat, barley, and legumes, and managing fruit orchards.
“We learn about the dietary habits of the people who lived here 6,000 years ago from the remains of animal bones found in ancient rubbish pits, from burnt wheat grains found in ovens, and from the hunting, cooking and food-processing tools retrieved, including flint sickles, and a variety of pottery vessels that served for the storage, cooking and the conservation of food by fermentation and salting.”

Excavated fishing hook


“The rare fishhook tells the story of the village fishermen who sailed out to sea in their boats and cast the newly invented copper fishhook into the water, hoping to add coastal sharks to the menu,” Dr. Abadi-Reiss said.
Dr. Yotam Asscher and Magda Batiashvilli, both from the Israel Antiquity Authority, are conducting research on the copper fishhook. Thanks to advanced technologies available to contemporary scholars, fresh insights into this intriguing artifact are now possible, answering questions that were once beyond reach.
The extraordinary discovery will be showcased for the very first time at the 48th Archaeological Congress, organized jointly by the Israel Antiquity Authority, the Israel Exploration Society, and the Israeli Archaeological Association. The Congress, scheduled for April 3, 2023, promises to be an exciting platform for presenting and discussing ground-breaking research in the field.
According to Israel Antiquity Authority Director Eli Escusido, the upcoming 48th Archaeological Congress, to be held in Jerusalem, will be a momentous occasion for the Israel Antiquity Authority.

Excavation site in Ashkelon

Excavation site in Ashkelon
(Photo: Yael Abadi-Reiss, Israel Antiquity Authority)
The Congress will take place at the new Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel and will provide a venue for a gathering of archaeologists and scholars from around the world.
During the Congress, a state-of-the-art visitors’ center will be opened to the general public, allowing them to witness the behind-the-scenes activity that characterizes Israel’s extensive archaeological work.
According to the Israel Antiquity Authority, it’s eager to showcase Israel’s rich heritage to the world, with the upcoming congress being a great opportunity to do so.

Source: https://www.ynetnews.com/travel/article/hy1q8vz11h
 
Made of copper? Pure copper would be too soft (and probably wasn't available then anyway), so this may have been like a bronze with mostly copper and a few impurities.
 
heh, we have references to the use of fishing hooks in literature written quite a long time ago.

So yeah.... we already knew they existed just not what shape they were.
 
Made of copper? Pure copper would be too soft (and probably wasn't available then anyway), so this may have been like a bronze with mostly copper and a few impurities.
But the Chalcolithic period was before the bronze age. As for the softness, I'm inclined to agree, but that's what they're saying here.
 
heh, we have references to the use of fishing hooks in literature written quite a long time ago.

So yeah.... we already knew they existed just not what shape they were.
Yes, the interest here is the age and size of the hook, giving newer insight into the dietary habits of the people at that time.
 
Yes, the interest here is the age and size of the hook, giving newer insight into the dietary habits of the people at that time.
Hmm yeah, one thing in the Book of Job suggests that they would seemingly try to pull anything with fins out of the water and eat it. Yeah this quote is part of the discussion of Leviathan. the discussion was about how Leviathan was unusual in that it was too big to be pulled from the water with a hook. At first you don't quite get it then you realize... these people were catching fish bigger than they were?
 
An early Hebrew inscription from Mount Ebal near Nablus that was found on a folded lead tablet during an excavation in the 1980s recently underwent x-ray tomographic measurements to reveal hidden text.

Epigraphic analysis of the data revealed a formulaic curse written in a proto-alphabetic script likely dating to Late Bronze Age that predates any previously known Hebrew inscription in Israel by at least 200 years.


https://www.jpost.com/archaeology/article-743039
 

Ancient architectural treasures found off the coast of Israel​

Ship carrying marble columns and capitals likely destined for an elaborate public building like a temple or a theatre, found by swimmer; IAA says 1st such find of its kind in the Eastern Med​










   Roman-era capital found off the cost of Israel

Roman-era capital found off the cost of Israel

Archeologists found Corinthian column capitals adorned with vegetal motifs, that were partially carved, and marble columns, 6 meters, (nearly 20 feet) long. The valuable architectural artifacts were likely destined for the construction of an elaborate public building - a temple or perhaps a theater.
The find was discovered by Gideon Harris, a swimmer, who saw the artifacts on his swim in the sea and alerted the IAA. “We have been aware of the existence of this shipwrecked cargo for a long time,”, Koby Sharvit, Director of underwater archaeology at IAA said. “but we didn’t know its exact whereabouts as it was covered over by sand, and we could therefore not investigate it. The recent storms must have exposed the cargo, and thanks to Gideon’s important report, we have been able to register its location and carry out preliminary archaeological investigations, which will lead to a more in-depth research project,” he said.
From the angle of the cargo, archeologists believe the ship likely sank in a storm.

  Roman-era column off the coast of Israel

Roman-era column off the coast of Israel

“Such storms often blow up suddenly along the country’s coast,” Sharvit said, “and due to the ships’ limited maneuvering potential, they are often dragged into the shallow waters and shipwrecked," he said.
“From the size of the architectural elements, we can calculate the dimensions of the ship; we are talking about a merchant ship that could bear a cargo of at least 200 tons. These fine pieces are characteristic of large-scale, majestic public buildings. Even in Roman Caesarea, such architectural elements were made of local stone covered with white plaster to appear like marble. Here we are talking about genuine marble,” Sharvit said.
“Since it is probable that this marble cargo came from the Aegean or Black Sea region, in Turkey or Greece, and since it was discovered south of the port of Caesarea, it seems that it was destined for one of the ports along the southern Levantine coast, Ashkelon or Gaza, or possibly even Alexandria in Egypt.”

Rare marble artifact found off the coast of Israel

Rare marble artifact found off the coast of Israel


The swimmer's find, Sharvit said, has led to resolving a long-lived research issue: “Land and Sea archaeologists have long argued whether the Roman period imported architectural elements were completely worked in their lands of origin, or whether they were transported in a partially carved form, and were carved and fashioned at their site of destination. The find of this cargo resolves the debated issue, as it is evident that the architectural elements left the quarry site as basic raw material or partially worked artifacts and that they were fashioned and finished on the construction site, either by local artists and artisans or by artists who were brought to the site from other countries, similarly to specialist mosaic artists who traveled from site to site following commissioned projects," he said.

https://www.ynetnews.com/travel/article/hk6qgd1hn#autoplay
 
Shit stirring reveals interesting find.

A new analysis of ancient feces taken from two Jerusalem latrines dating back to the biblical Kingdom of Judah has uncovered traces of a single-celled microorganism Giardia duodenalis—a common cause of debilitating diarrhea in humans.

A research team led by the University of Cambridge say it is the oldest example we have of this diarrhea-causing parasite infecting humans anywhere on the planet. The study is published in the journal Parasitology.

"The fact that these parasites were present in sediment from two Iron Age Jerusalem cesspits suggests that dysentery was endemic in the Kingdom of Judah," said study lead author Dr. Piers Mitchell from Cambridge's Department of Archaeology.

"Dysentery is a term that describes intestinal infectious diseases caused by parasites and bacteria that trigger diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever and dehydration. It can be fatal, particularly for young children."

"Dysentery is spread by feces contaminating drinking water or food, and we suspected it could have been a big problem in early cities of the ancient Near East due to overcrowding, heat and flies, and limited water available in the summer," said Mitchell.

The fecal samples came from the sediment underneath toilets found in two building complexes excavated to the south of the Old City, which date back to the 7th century BCE when Jerusalem was a capital of Judah.

https://phys.org/news/2023-05-early-toilets-reveal-dysentery-testament.html
 

These ancient flutes may have been used to lure falcons​

The 12,000-year-old wind instruments made from bird bones are the oldest known from the Middle East



Seven ancient bone flutes, each shown from three different angles, against a black backdrop


These seven flutes (each shown from three views) made from the bones of small waterfowl are the oldest known wind instruments from the Middle East, a new study says. The largest measures only about 63 millimeters, or 2.5 inches.

Perforated bones excavated at an ancient settlement in northern Israel may be the oldest wind instruments found in the region. The small flutes could have been used to make music, call birds or even communicate over short distances, the researchers suggest June 9 in Scientific Reports.
The instruments were unearthed from the remains of small stone dwellings at a lakeside site called Eynan-Mallaha, which was home to the last hunter-gatherers in the region until about 12,000 years ago, says Laurent Davin, an archaeologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. All of the flutes were made from the wing bones of waterfowl that spent winter months at the lake, he notes. Of the seven flutes found, the largest appears to be intact and is about 63 millimeters (2.5 inches) long.

Microscopic analyses of the instruments clearly show that the finger holes were carved by humans and were not the results of gnawing by rodents or tooth marks left by predators, says Davin.


Davin and his team used the wing bone of a modern-day female mallard to make a detailed replica of the ancient flute. When played, the instrument produced high-pitched sounds similar to the calls of the common kestrel and the Eurasian sparrowhawk, raising the possibility the instruments were used to lure birds. Evidence suggests the inhabitants of Eynan-Mallaha used the talons of these birds of prey as tools and may have worn them as ornaments, Davin says.



Archaeologist Laurent Davin plays a reproduction of a 12,000-year-old bone wind instrument that was found at a site called Enyan-Mallaha in Israel. The high-pitched sounds are remarkably similar to the calls of kestrels and sparrowhawks.
Such flutes may have themselves been worn when hunting, says Davin. The largest of the flutes was decorated with red ochre and had a worn spot where it may have hung from a string or a strip of leather.


Although the team’s finds are oldest wind instruments in the Middle East, older musical instrument made of bone and ivory have been unearthed in Germany.

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/ancient-bone-flute-lure-falcon
 

Mosaic unearthed in Israel shows biblical scenes and heroines​

The newly discovered mosaic found near the Sea of Galilee is composed of a large slab, featuring an enigmatic Hebrew inscription at its center, surrounded by floral decorations​

Yogev Israely|Yesterday | 16:03



A breathtaking mosaic, dating back approximately 1,600 years, has been uncovered during excavations at an ancient synagogue near the Sea of Galilee.




The mosaic was discovered by a team of archaeologists led by Prof. Jodi Magness from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in the archaeology of the regions of Israel and Jordan, with a focus on the Roman, Byzantine, and early Islamic periods.

אחד הפסיפסים שהתגלו בבית הכנסת העתיק בחוקוק, בו רואים טיגריס רודף אחרי יעל

Mosaic portraying a lion chasing an ox
(Photo: Jim Haberman)

The newly discovered mosaic consists of a large panel with an enigmatic Hebrew inscription at its center, surrounded by floral decorations. On the sides and beneath the flowers, is an Aramaic inscription that specifies the names of those who contributed to the construction of the ancient synagogue or those who created the mosaic, ensuring their names are remembered in the future.
The floral wreath is surrounded on both sides by lions leaning on their front paws, chasing oxen. The entire mosaic is adorned with illustrations of predators chasing after other animals.

These sections depict the figure of the biblical Samson and a depiction of two pairs of foxes, with torches tied to their tails (corresponding to the description in the Book of Judges, Chapter 15). The mosaic portrays a figure believed to be the twelfth and final judge mentioned in the Book of Judges, carrying the gate of the city of Gaza, and taking it to the top of the hill (as described in the Book of Judges, Chapter 16). The new finding also shows a Philistine warrior and a slain Philistine soldier.

איור המתאר את דבורה הנביאה בעודה עומדת תחת עצי דקל

Deborah the biblical prophetess under a palm tree gazing at Barak son of Abinoam, who is equipped with a shield
(Photo: Wikipedia)



In addition, last year's excavations included a mosaic depicting key figures from Judges 4, including Deborah the biblical prophetess, who was the fourth judge to lead Israel during the period of the Judges, under a palm tree gazing at Barak son of Abinoam, who is equipped with a shield. Another figure present Yael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, known for killing Sisera - commander of the Canaanite army of King Jabin of Hazor - with a tent peg, while the figure of Sisera also appears lying dead on the ground with blood streaming from his head.

According to Jewish belief, during that era, King Jabin of Hazor reigned over Israel through his army Sisera. In the absence of a leader in Israel, the people were subjected to their enemies' oppression. Deborah the prophetess received a command from God to initiate a war against King Jabin, and foretold that Barak son of Abinoam would be victorious in the battle that took place in the Jezreel Valley.

Exhausted, Sisera fled on foot and found refuge in the tent of Yael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. Sisera requested water from Yael, and she gave him milk instead. While he slept, she killed him by driving a tent peg through his head. In fact, the figures depicted in the mosaic represent the earliest known descriptions of the biblical heroines Deborah and Yael.

אתר ארכיאולוגי בחוקוק

Archaeological site near the Sea of Galilee
(Photo: Wikipedia)

The archaeological project, led by Prof. Magness since 2011, has left a unique legacy of findings with significant historical significance. Among them is an inscription in Hebrew surrounded by human figures, animals, and mythological creatures, including a putto figure - a chubby male child, usually naked and very often winged, that in art represents the god of love (Eros in Greek mythology and Cupid in Roman mythology).

Additionally, there are art pieces documenting the encounter between Alexander the Great and Jaddus the High Priest - two of the spies sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan - carrying a staff with a cluster of grapes (a reference to the sin of the spies in the Book of Numbers, Chapter 13), and a man with an animal next to the inscription "A little child shall lead them" (from the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 11).

There are also depictions of animals identified by an Aramaic inscription as the four animals representing four kingdoms (in the Book of Daniel, Chapter 7), the biblical site of Elim where the Israelites camped during their wilderness wanderings, near the 12 springs and 70 palm trees (as described in the Book of Exodus, Chapter 15), and more.

https://www.ynetnews.com/travel/article/s1gparakn
 
necromancy near Jerusalem.

Ancient human skulls, oil lamps and parts of weapons hidden in a cave near Jerusalem are signs the site was used in the Roman era for attempts to speak to the dead — a practice known as necromancy, or "death magic" — according to a new study.

Based on the styles of the artifacts, the researchers think the morbid rituals were carried out at the Te'omim cave, about 20 miles (30 kilometers) west of Jerusalem, between the second and fourth centuries A.D.

According to Boaz Zissu, an archaeologist at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, most of the Jewish people who lived in the region had been eradicated or driven away by the ruling Roman Empire after the Jewish rebellion known as Bar Kokhba revolt, between A.D. 132 and 136.

We see a pile of oil lamps against a black background.


The researchers think the artifacts were deposited in the cave between the second and fourth centuries, when the Romans repopulated the region after driving away Jews who'd rebelled against their rule. (Image credit: Boaz Zissu/Te’omim Cave Archaeological Project)

The Romans then repopulated the region with people from other parts of their empire — likely from Syria, Anatolia and Egypt, Zissu said.

"A new pagan population arrived in what had formerly been Judea, but was now Syria Palaestina," Zissu told Live Science. "They brought with them new ideas, new customs, and apparently the idea of necromancy."

Zissu is an author, with archaeologist Eitan Klein of the Israel Antiquities Authority, of a new study published July 4 in the journal published in the Harvard Theological Review. It describes the items discovered in the cave: more than 120 oil lamps, ax and spear blades, and three human craniums.

A large ceramic bowl placed upside down next to five oil lamps against a black background.


Sometimes the lamps were covered over with ancient bronze bowls and deposited in the cave's crevices along with spearheads or ax blades — a practice seen at other necromantic sites. (Image credit: Boaz Zissu/Te’omim Cave Archaeological Project)

https://www.livescience.com/archaeo...-speak-with-the-deceased-found-near-jerusalem
 
Sharp eyed archaeologists find swords hidden by rebels/

A cache of four excellently preserved Roman swords have been discovered by Israeli researchers in a cave overlooking the Dead Sea.

Three of the 1,900-year-old weapons, whose iron blades are 60-65cm long (24-26in), were still in wooden scabbards. They were found in a near-inaccessible crevice by a team photographing an ancient inscription on a stalactite.

Archaeologists believe the swords were hidden by Judean rebels after they were seized from the Roman army as booty.

"This is a dramatic and exciting discovery, touching on a specific moment in time," Eli Escusido, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), said in a statement.

Mr Escusido explained that dry desert climate around the Dead Sea enabled the preservation of artefacts that would not survive elsewhere in Israel.

"This is a unique time capsule, whereby fragments of scrolls, coins from the Jewish Revolt, leather sandals, and now even swords in their scabbards, sharp as if they had only just been hidden away today."

At work in the cave. Photography Oriya Amichai, Israel Antiquities Authority
IMAGE SOURCE, ORIYA AMICHAI/ISRAEL ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY Image caption, The archaeologists excavate the cave - with an extraordinary view

Fifty years ago, a stalactite with an incomplete ink inscription written in ancient Hebrew script was found in a small cave high on a cliff above the Dead Sea, north of the En Gedi oasis in eastern Israel.

Archaeologist Dr Asaf Gayer of Ariel University, geologist Boaz Langford of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and photographer Shai Halevi of the IAA recently went to the cave with the aim of using multispectral photography to decipher parts of the inscription not visible to the naked eye.

While on the upper level of the cave, Dr Gayer spotted an extremely well-preserved Roman pilum, or javelin, in a narrow crevice. He also found worked wood in a nearby niche that turned out to be parts of the swords' scabbards.

The researchers reported the discovery and then returned with another team to carry out a survey of all the crevices in the cave, during which the four swords were uncovered.

Israel Antiquity Authority researchers examining the swords. Photography Emil Aladjem Israel Antiquities Authority
IMAGE SOURCE, EMIL ALADJEM/ISRAEL ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY Image caption, Archaeologists believe the swords were hidden by Judean rebels after they were seized from the Roman army

The three swords that were still in their wooden scabbards were identified as Roman spatha, or long swords, while the fourth, shorter weapon was identified as a ring-pommel sword.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-66728207
 
Ta, Ramon. I was about to post the same. That area has given up a lot of cool stuff which informs our current understanding of the story of antiquity. Archaeologists working those caves are the luckiest. It's why I went to uni - to dig up mummies and scripture.

After I got my degree, I took the well-worn path into teaching and not the path of the intrepid pioneer tomb raider of my imagination. It is still a fascinating area of study allowing for endless speculation while piecing together the puzzles of history. Now with my teaching work behind me, I'm considering a possible return to Archaeology as a second bite at the life gifted to me. Not sure I have the stamina to face academia again.
 
Significant finds in Gaza.

Palestinian workers in the Gaza Strip have found dozens of ancient graves, including two sarcophagi made of lead.

The finds were identified in a Roman-era cemetery – a site dating back some 2,000 years that archaeologists describe as the largest cemetery to be discovered in Gaza.

Workers came upon the site last year during the construction of an Egyptian-funded housing project near Jabaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip. Since then, crews have worked to excavate the 2,700-square-metre site with the support of French experts.

Now, what was once an inconspicuous construction site – surrounded by non-descript blocks of flats – has become a gold mine for archeologists looking to understand more about the Gaza Strip.

Gaza, a coastal enclave home to some 2.3 million people, has a rich history stemming from its location on ancient trade routes between Egypt and the Levant. But a number of factors – Israeli occupation, Hamas’ 16-year takeover of the territory and rapid urban growth – have conspired to endanger many of the besieged strip’s archaeological treasures.

846b08ac006943049ff3286940e4ffd3.jpg
The Roman cemetery in Jebaliya, northern Gaza Strip (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Against this backdrop, the discovery of 60 graves at the site in January marked a major finding, archaeologists say. That number has swelled to 135.

Rene Elter, a French archaeologist leading the dig, said researchers have studied more than 100 of the graves.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/world/arid-41233291.html
 
A high class camp followers grave.

Human remains buried with a 2,300-year-old bronze mirror in Israel may be the first ever found of an ancient Greek courtesan who accompanied the Hellenistic armies on their campaigns.

Gloved hands hold up the bronze folding mirror, showing its engravings.


The newly discovered bronze mirror is decorated with a simple pattern of concentric circles. (Image credit: Yoli Schwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority)

A roadside burial discovered in Israel may hold the cremated remains of an ancient Greek courtesan who accompanied Alexander the Great's armies on their campaigns.

The woman, who was buried with an ornate bronze mirror, was laid to rest 2,300 years ago on the road to Jerusalem and far from any settlement, suggesting she may have been a professional escort, or "hetaira," traveling with military men — the first discovery of its kind, archaeologists said in a statement shared with Live Science.

"It is most likely that this is the tomb of a woman of Greek origin who accompanied a senior member of the Hellenistic army or government," the researchers said in the statement. Her client may have fought in one of Alexander the Great's campaigns, they added, or in a series of conflicts called the Wars of the Diadochi, which saw Alexander's generals battle to succeed him after he died in 323 B.C.

https://www.livescience.com/archaeo...ay-have-accompanied-alexander-the-greats-army
 
An early Hebrew inscription from Mount Ebal near Nablus that was found on a folded lead tablet during an excavation in the 1980s recently underwent x-ray tomographic measurements to reveal hidden text.

Epigraphic analysis of the data revealed a formulaic curse written in a proto-alphabetic script likely dating to Late Bronze Age that predates any previously known Hebrew inscription in Israel by at least 200 years.


https://www.jpost.com/archaeology/article-743039

Fishing for compliments rather than a curse?

Researchers say they see no sign of an inscription on a tablet previously thought to contain the Hebrew name for the god Yahweh.

Photograph of curse tablet in light colored stone, in the shaped of a rough square. Photograph of the front, back and side.

Archaeologists estimate the "curse tablet," made from a folded lead sheet and inscribed with proto-alphabetic characters, may be at least 3,200 years old. (Image credit: ABR/Michael C. Luddeni)

A lead "curse tablet" written in ancient Hebrew more than 3,000 years ago may actually be a fishing weight with no discernible writing, new research suggests.

The postage stamp-size lead piece, known as the Mount Ebal tablet, has been controversial since its discovery was announced last March. Its finders suggested the tablet showed writing in an early form of the Hebrew alphabet that called on the god of the Israelites to curse his enemies. But the new studies reject claims that the tablet is the earliest-known inscription of the name Yahweh and that it supports biblical accounts of the origins of the ancient Israelites.

"Maybe there’s something there," archaeologist Aren Maeir of Israel’s Bar-Ilan University told Live Science. "But with what they’ve published, there isn't."



Proto-alphabetic characters drawn in black against a white backdrop. It appears to include a three-letter version of Yahweh, one of the Hebrew names of God.



The 40-character inscription of proto-alphabetic characters on the inner and outer surfaces of the folded lead tablet appears to include a three-letter version of Yahweh, one of the Hebrew names of God. (Image credit: ABR/Gershon Galil)

Maeir is the lead author of one of the latest studies, and the editor of the Israel Exploration Journal that will publish three new studies addressing the tablet this week.
His own study examines the account of the inscription on the tablet described in an article published in May in the journal Heritage Science.

Maeir noted that only X-ray tomography images of the inscription on the inside of the folded lead tablet were given in the research article; but his examinations of them have revealed no inscriptions in any language. Instead, what appear to be letters are probably just indentations caused by weathering, he said.

https://www.livescience.com/archaeo...od-is-actually-a-fishing-weight-experts-argue
 
Half a sixpence, well, half a sixth century B.C silver coin,

A broken 2,500-year-old silver coin unearthed near Jerusalem is rare evidence that early currency was used in ancient Judea, according to archaeologists.

It's one of only a handful of coins of this age — made in the sixth or fifth century B.C., when Judea was under the control of the Achaemenid Persians — that establish their very early use in the Holy Land.

This coin, however, was deliberately cut in two, probably so each half could be valued for its weight in silver.

"The coin is extremely rare, joining only half a dozen coins of its type that have been found in archaeological excavations in the country," Robert Kool, a coin expert at the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), said in a statement. "The coins were minted in a period when the use of coins had just begun."

https://www.livescience.com/archaeo...d-broken-silver-coin-unearthed-near-jerusalem
 
Half a sixpence, well, half a sixth century B.C silver coin,

A broken 2,500-year-old silver coin unearthed near Jerusalem is rare evidence that early currency was used in ancient Judea, according to archaeologists.

It's one of only a handful of coins of this age — made in the sixth or fifth century B.C., when Judea was under the control of the Achaemenid Persians — that establish their very early use in the Holy Land.

This coin, however, was deliberately cut in two, probably so each half could be valued for its weight in silver.

"The coin is extremely rare, joining only half a dozen coins of its type that have been found in archaeological excavations in the country," Robert Kool, a coin expert at the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), said in a statement. "The coins were minted in a period when the use of coins had just begun."

https://www.livescience.com/archaeo...d-broken-silver-coin-unearthed-near-jerusalem
One thing historically attested is that some kings when minting new coin.... would melt old coin, thus erasing a previous king's contributions.
 
An awesome find.

Archaeologists have discovered the remnants of a massive 1,800-year-old Roman legionary base that is the only one of its size and caliber ever found in Israel.

Located near Tel Megiddo, a national park and the site of the ancient city of Megiddo (also known as Armageddon) in northern Israel, the "Iron Legion" camp once housed more than 5,000 soldiers and was used as a strategic military base for the Romans, according to a statement by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

The Roman legionary was a group of elite infantrymen who served and protected the Roman Empire, which made the region into the province Judaea in A.D. 6.

During ongoing excavations at the site that have stretched the better part of a decade, archaeologists unearthed a multitude of "extensive and impressive architectural remains" of the camp's main road, as well as a semicircular podium and areas paved in stone that were part of a "monumental" public building, according to the statement. ...

https://www.livescience.com/archaeo...scovered-near-armageddon-is-largest-in-israel
 

Palestinians rode an excavator over Second Temple-era site, turning it into a car park​


Umm ar-Rehan in Samaria
Umm ar-Rehan in

Palestinians rode an excavator over the archaeological site of Umm ar-Rehan, a historical site from the Talmudic and Mishnah periods, located on state lands in Area C, near Harish and Katzir in northern Samaria, flattening the ground of the historic site and built a parking lot on the site.

Umm ar-Rehan is a settlement that has existed from the Mishnaic and Talmudic periods, and the Hellenistic, Byzantine and Roman periods, and was one of the largest in the area.

Buildings made of hewn stones, a watchtower, and a mausoleum – a magnificent burial structure – were found at the site.

This week, land scouts of the Samaria Regional Council came to the site and were shocked to discover that the site had been turned into a parking lot, while authorities were busy with the war.

The destruction is documented in aerial photographs, which show that Palestinian residents left no trace of the heritage site that existed there only several weeks ago.

This destruction follows the pattern of the Palestinian Authority's consistent demolition of the Altar of Joshua, the only remnant of the period of the Jewish people’s entry and settlement into the Land of Israel approximately 3,000 years ago, the destruction and theft of antiquities from the ancient Samaria National Park, the sole remnant of the ancient Kingdom of Israel, destruction of the Hasmonean fortress Tel Aroma, and other Jewish heritage sites throughout Judea and Samaria.

Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said that "the war must not be used as an excuse for the destruction of Jewish historical heritage sites in Judea and Samaria. A deliberate attempt was made here to erase Jewish history. This is a crime not only against Jewish history and the people of Israel, but against every civilized person. The remains of Jewish settlements that stood here undisturbed for 2,000 years are consistently being destroyed, shattered and looted on our watch. This should be the responsibility of the State of Israel.

I demand that all the authorities investigate the failure that led to this outcome, restore the site, impose the entire payment on the offender, and grant enforcement, supervision and restoration rights to the Samaria Regional Council, which will help preserve the heritage sites within its boundaries. There is no other way today to protect the heritage sites here in Judea and Samaria."

Minister Amihai Eliyahu said, "Since the outbreak of the war, we have been experiencing increasing attempts to demolish heritage sites throughout Judea and Samaria, and it is our duty, even while we are fighting for our home, to continue fighting for our history. This is our hope for our land. When learning of the destruction, the Archaeology Officer’s Unit conducted an undercover investigation in order to identify those responsible for the damage, raided the home of the main suspect and arrested him. In the coming days an indictment will be filed against him."

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/387068
 

Palestinians rode an excavator over Second Temple-era site, turning it into a car park​


Umm ar-Rehan in Samaria
Umm ar-Rehan in

Palestinians rode an excavator over the archaeological site of Umm ar-Rehan, a historical site from the Talmudic and Mishnah periods, located on state lands in Area C, near Harish and Katzir in northern Samaria, flattening the ground of the historic site and built a parking lot on the site.

Umm ar-Rehan is a settlement that has existed from the Mishnaic and Talmudic periods, and the Hellenistic, Byzantine and Roman periods, and was one of the largest in the area.

Buildings made of hewn stones, a watchtower, and a mausoleum – a magnificent burial structure – were found at the site.

This week, land scouts of the Samaria Regional Council came to the site and were shocked to discover that the site had been turned into a parking lot, while authorities were busy with the war.

The destruction is documented in aerial photographs, which show that Palestinian residents left no trace of the heritage site that existed there only several weeks ago.

This destruction follows the pattern of the Palestinian Authority's consistent demolition of the Altar of Joshua, the only remnant of the period of the Jewish people’s entry and settlement into the Land of Israel approximately 3,000 years ago, the destruction and theft of antiquities from the ancient Samaria National Park, the sole remnant of the ancient Kingdom of Israel, destruction of the Hasmonean fortress Tel Aroma, and other Jewish heritage sites throughout Judea and Samaria.

Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said that "the war must not be used as an excuse for the destruction of Jewish historical heritage sites in Judea and Samaria. A deliberate attempt was made here to erase Jewish history. This is a crime not only against Jewish history and the people of Israel, but against every civilized person. The remains of Jewish settlements that stood here undisturbed for 2,000 years are consistently being destroyed, shattered and looted on our watch. This should be the responsibility of the State of Israel.

I demand that all the authorities investigate the failure that led to this outcome, restore the site, impose the entire payment on the offender, and grant enforcement, supervision and restoration rights to the Samaria Regional Council, which will help preserve the heritage sites within its boundaries. There is no other way today to protect the heritage sites here in Judea and Samaria."

Minister Amihai Eliyahu said, "Since the outbreak of the war, we have been experiencing increasing attempts to demolish heritage sites throughout Judea and Samaria, and it is our duty, even while we are fighting for our home, to continue fighting for our history. This is our hope for our land. When learning of the destruction, the Archaeology Officer’s Unit conducted an undercover investigation in order to identify those responsible for the damage, raided the home of the main suspect and arrested him. In the coming days an indictment will be filed against him."

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/387068

There's a lot of that sort of thing going on. Shouldn't be supported on either side.

Israel Is Systematically Destroying Gaza’s Cultural Heritage​

https://jacobin.com/2024/03/israel-gaza-war-cultural-heritage

More than 200 buildings of cultural and historical significance have been reduced to rubble in Gaza, including mosques, cemeteries and museums
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/feb/04/everything-beautiful-has-been-destroyed-palestinians-mourn-a-city-in-tatters

More than 100 Gaza heritage sites have been damaged or destroyed by Israeli attacks​

https://www.npr.org/2023/12/03/1216200754/gaza-heritage-sites-destroyed-israel
 
Hardy hoard survives building's destruction.

A hoard of 1,700-year-old coins found in Israel provides new evidence about the last known Jewish revolt against Roman rule.

Archaeologists found the hidden coins while conducting excavations inside the remains of a newly discovered public building dating to the Late Roman-Early Byzantine period in Lod (also known as Lydda), a city in what is now central Israel that the Romans renamed "Diospolis," according to a statement from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

Despite the building having "suffered violent destruction" at the time of the revolt, its surviving foundation protected 94 silver and bronze coins dating to between A.D. 221 and 354. Whoever's stash it was, they likely "deliberately placed" it inside the building in hopes of returning to collect it when the situation calmed down, according to the statement.

"This is essentially an emergency hoard, meaning a hoard that people hide in anticipation of a catastrophic event," Mor Viezel, an excavator with the IAA, said in a translated video.

Many of the coins were struck during the Gallus Revolt (A.D. 351 to 354), a tumultuous time when Jews rebelled against the rule of Flavius Claudius Constantius Gallus, the half-nephew of Constantine the Great (the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity) and ruler of the Roman Empire's eastern provinces at the time. Lod was just one of several Jewish communities that revolted as the Romans "burned and destroyed" several cities' buildings, according to the video. ...

https://www.livescience.com/archaeo...tes-to-last-revolt-of-jews-against-roman-rule
 
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