Posts tagged Israel
Posts tagged Israel
As some of you are aware, I am traveling to Israel at the end of the week to be part of Oakland University’s Israel Archaeology Study Abroad Program: Jerusalem, Israel Summer 2012. I am currently repacking (I re-packed yesterday as well, as you can gather..I AM EXCITED for this amazing experience all while still an undergrad, but I digress).
I leave Metro Detroit Airport On Friday June 22nd. I come back July 14th. It is only 28 days but, I am super excited for the next four weeks will bring.
I will be at the lovely, Khirbet Qeiyafa, a Biblical site, is located in the Ellah Valley, Israel; on the main road from Philistia and the Coastal Plain to Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron. Local Bedouin refer to the site as Khirbet Daoud, or David’s ruin (but more about the site as I get there in person)!
I plan to update you as often as possible with my photos, field notes, interesting findings, experiences, my own feelings, and of course my term paper.
Please ask for anything that you all want to know about the field school, the site, my trip, etc! Also, please understand if I cannot update everyday. I am not sure about how great my internet access will be, nor how regular it will be.
Details of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem | Israel
Old Jerusalem | Israel (by strajinzoran)
Dead Sea Scrolls…
“ASHKELON, Israel — To the naked eye, the white, powdery substance appeared to be plaster. That’s what the professional and volunteer archaeologists at a dig in Israel concluded.”
Mysterious stone carvings made thousands of years ago and recently uncovered in an excavation underneath Jerusalem have archaeologists stumped.
Israeli diggers who uncovered a complex of rooms carved into the bedrock in the oldest section of the city recently found the markings: Three “V” shapes cut next to each other into the limestone floor of one of the rooms, about 2 inches (5 centimeters) deep and 20 inches (50 centimeters) long. There were no finds to offer any clues pointing to the identity of who made them or what purpose they served.
The archaeologists in charge of the dig know so little that they have been unable even to posit a theory about their nature, said Eli Shukron, one of the two directors of the dig.
“The markings are very strange, and very intriguing. I’ve never seen anything like them,” Shukron said.
The shapes were found in a dig known as the City of David, a politically sensitive excavation conducted by Israeli government archaeologists and funded by a nationalist Jewish group under the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in east Jerusalem. The rooms were unearthed as part of the excavation of fortifications around the ancient city’s only natural water source, the Gihon spring.
It is possible, the dig’s archaeologists say, that when the markings were made at least 2,800 years ago the shapes might have accommodated some kind of wooden structure that stood inside them, or they might have served some other purpose on their own. They might have had a ritual function or one that was entirely mundane. Archaeologists faced by a curious artifact can usually at least venture a guess about its nature, but in this case no one, including outside experts consulted by Shukron and the dig’s co-director, archaeologists with decades of experience between them, has any idea.
There appears to be at least one other ancient marking of the same type at the site. A century-old map of an expedition led by the British explorer Montague Parker, who searched for the lost treasures of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem between 1909 and 1911, includes the shape of a “V” drawn in an underground channel not far away. Modern archaeologists haven’t excavated that area yet.
Ceramic shards found in the rooms indicate they were last used around 800 B.C., with Jerusalem under the rule of Judean kings, the dig’s archaeologists say. At around that time, the rooms appear to have been filled with rubble to support the construction of a defensive wall.
It is unclear, however, whether they were built in the time of those kings or centuries earlier by the Canaanite residents who predated them.
The purpose of the complex is part of the riddle. The straight lines of its walls and level floors are evidence of careful engineering, and it was located close to the most important site in the city, the spring, suggesting it might have had an important function.
A unique find in a room beside the one with the markings — a stone like a modern grave marker, which was left upright when the room was filled in — might offer a clue. Such stones were used in the ancient Middle East as a focal point for ritual or a memorial for dead ancestors, the archaeologists say, and it is likely a remnant of the pagan religions which the city’s Israelite prophets tried to eradicate. It is the first such stone to be found intact in Jerusalem excavations.
But the ritual stone does not necessarily mean the whole complex was a temple. It might simply have marked a corner devoted to religious practice in a building whose purpose was commonplace.
With the experts unable to come up with a theory about the markings, the City of David dig posted a photo on its Facebook page and solicited suggestions. The results ranged from the thought-provoking — “a system for wood panels that held some other item,” or molds into which molten metal would could have been poured — to the fanciful: ancient Hebrew or Egyptian characters, or a “symbol for water, particularly as it was near a spring.”