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Rare mark from biblical king's seal found in Jerusalem
King Solomon’s Mines found
Based on multi-disciplinary investigations, Erez Ben-Yosef concluded that the copper mines at Timna formed part of an extensive economic/industrial system operated by the Edomites.
JANUARY 24, 2020 12:44

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Timna Park.
(photo credit: JNF USA)

People are fascinated by King Solomon and his fabled wisdom, fantastic wealth, and tantalizing liaison with the beauteous Queen of Sheba. For 3,000 years, there have been numerous efforts made to locate King Solomon’s mines, and in the last year alone, there have been two cable television documentaries investigating recent discoveries confirming that the legendary mines are in Timna Park, located deep in the deserts of  Southern Israel. This is the most important archaeological breakthrough since the naming of King Solomon’s Pillars there 90 years ago by world-famous archaeologist Nelson Glueck. 

For the last 70 years, many archaeologists assumed that King Solomon was at best a minor local chieftain, simply because no credible evidence had been found documenting his Biblical realm in 900 BCE. However, discoveries beginning 10 years ago at Timna, led by Erez Ben-Yosef, a young articulate archaeologist (who sports a leather hat but does not carry a bullwhip), have upended these theories. Ben-Yosef examined the 1,000 copper mines at Timna and found materials which could be carbon-dated. He was quite surprised to find that they were from 900 BCE, corresponding with the specified period of Solomon’s rule in the Bible.

This year, Ben-Yosef made further revolutionary discoveries of food, dung, and pristine clothing amazingly well-preserved by the region’s dry climate, which was also carbon-dated to the Solomonic period. Based on multi-disciplinary investigations, Ben-Yosef concluded that the copper mines formed part of an extensive economic/industrial system operated by the Edomites, a local tribe also described in the Bible.  Furthermore, it appears the Edomites smelted copper ore and traded it in exchange for passage through Solomon’s territory.  As part of the trade, Solomon also supplied luxury foods—not available locally—to Edomite artisan smelters at the mines.  Ben-Yosef states that “if King Solomon had mines, they were of copper, and were here [at Timna].”

Copper was the most valuable mineral of that age, equivalent to oil in our day. Experts now believe that Solomon traded copper from Timna’s mines for the gold and silver used in the Temple in Jerusalem and his cities. 

These facts are fully described in a fascinating episode of “Smithsonian Secrets” (Season 5, Episode 6), told like a detective story, where Ben-Yosef and other investigators make findings which cause us to “totally rethink history.” Another prominent English historian describes Solomon as a “savvy entrepreneur” who extorted copper tribute in exchange for passage rights, like a modern industrial tycoon.

A History Channel installment of “In Search Of” (Season 2, Episode 4) shows recent finds at Tigray, Ethiopia, by Louise Schofield, a former curator at the  British Museum.  In it Sisay Tsegay, a noted historian, states that the Queen of Sheba was probably the source of Solomon’s gold. They have already uncovered the queen’s palace and soon hope to discover her mines.

My family has been working with Jewish National Fund-USA (JNF) and the Israeli government in Timna Park for 30 years, donating and raising funds in the US and overseeing the park’s development. My father, Avrum Chudnow, was instrumental in building an artificial lake which is now a focal point of the park, and one of the first in the Middle East. I have been involved in constructing the park’s Visitor Center and other attractions. I have served on Jewish National Fund’s Greater Los Angeles Board for 35 years. These recent archaeological developments at Timna bring the park the validation and recognition which has been long overdue.

The park is located 20 miles north of Eilat, in Israel’s vast Negev Desert. The Ramon-Timna Airport has just opened across from the park; it is the third largest airport in Israel and currently receives about 80% of its traffic from former Eastern bloc countries. It is anticipated to receive up to two million tourists a year. A luxury hotel is also planned near the entrance of the park. 

In addition to its historic and geologic splendor, Timna affords many opportunities for recreational activities, be it biking, hiking, boating, stargazing, camping, ballooning, rock climbing, or yoga. With these recent discoveries, Timna now also offers the opportunity for visitors to walk in King Solomon’s footsteps, and gain a glimpse into Israel’s rich Biblical past.

JANUARY 23, 2020
Study reveals two writers penned landmark inscriptions in eighth-century BCE Samaria

[Image: 2-studyreveals.jpg]Ostraca (ink on clay inscriptions) from Samaria, the capital of biblical Israel. The inscriptions are dated to the early 8th century BCE. Colorized Ostraca images are courtesy of the Semitic Museum, Harvard University. Credit: American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Colorized images courtesy of the Semitic Museum, Harvard University.
The ancient Samaria ostraca—eighth-century BCE ink-on-clay inscriptions unearthed at the beginning of the 20th century in Samaria, the capital of the biblical kingdom of Israel—are among the earliest collections of ancient Hebrew writings ever discovered. But despite a century of research, major aspects of the ostraca remain in dispute, including their precise geographical origins—either Samaria or its outlying villages—and the number of scribes involved in their composition.

A new Tel Aviv University (TAU) study finds that just two writers were involved in composing 31 of the more than 100 inscriptions and that the writers were contemporaneous, indicating that the inscriptions were written in the city of Samaria itself.
Research for the study was conducted by Ph.D. candidate Shira Faigenbaum-Golovin, Dr. Arie Shaus, Dr. Barak Sober and Prof. Eli Turkel, all of TAU's School of Mathematical Sciences; Prof. Eli Piasetzky of TAU's School of Physics; and Prof. Israel Finkelstein, Jacob M. Alkow Professor of the Archaeology of Israel in the Bronze and Iron Ages, of TAU's Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology. The study was published in PLOS ONE on January 22, 2020.
The inscriptions list repetitive shipment details of wine and oil supplies to Samaria and span a minimal period of seven years. For archaeologists, they also provide critical insights into the logistical infrastructure of the kingdom of Israel. The inscriptions feature the date of composition (year of a given monarch), commodity type (oil, wine), name of a person, name of a clan and name of a village near the capital. Based on letter-shape considerations, the ostraca have been dated to the first half of the eighth century BCE, possibly during the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel.
"If only two scribes wrote the examined Samaria texts contemporaneously and both were located in Samaria rather than in the countryside, this would indicate a palace bureaucracy at the peak of the kingdom of Israel's prosperity," Prof. Finkelstein explains.
"Our results, accompanied by other pieces of evidence, seem also to indicate a limited dispersion of literacy in Israel in the early eighth century BCE," Prof. Piasetzky says.
"Our interdisciplinary team harnessed a novel algorithm, consisting of image processing and newly developed machine learning techniques, to conclude that two writers wrote the 31 examined texts, with a confidence interval of 95%," said Dr. Sober, now a member of Duke University's mathematics department.
"The innovative technique can be used in other cases, both in the Land of Israel and beyond. Our innovative tool enables handwriting comparison and can establish the number of authors in a given corpus," adds Faigenbaum-Golovin.
The new research follows up from the findings of the group's 2016 study, which indicated widespread literacy in the kingdom of Judah a century and a half to two centuries later, circa 600 BCE. For that study, the group developed a novel doink-headwith which they estimated the minimal number of writers involved in composing ostraca unearthed at the desert fortress of Arad. That investigation concluded that at least six writers composed the 18 inscriptions that were examined.
"It seems that during these two centuries that passed between the composition of the Samaria and the Arad corpora, there was an increase in literacy rates within the population of the Hebrew kingdoms," Dr. Shaus says. "Our previous research paved the way for the current study. We enhanced our previously developed methodology, which sought the minimum number of writers, and introduced new statistical tools to establish a maximum likelihood estimate for the number of hands in a corpus."
Next, the researchers intend to use their methodology to study other corpora of inscriptions from various periods and locations.

Explore further
Handwriting analysis provides clues for dating of old testament texts

[b]More information:[/b] Shira Faigenbaum-Golovin et al, Algorithmic handwriting analysis of the Samaria inscriptions illuminates bureaucratic apparatus in biblical Israel, PLOS ONE (2020). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0227452
[b]Journal information:[/b] PLoS ONE [/url]

Provided by [url=]Tel Aviv University
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
All of this is very interesting.
So, the words Autumn and Fall are not to be capitalized?
They are in my world!

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said, "See, this is new?"It has been already, in the ages before us. Ecc 1: 9-10
Quote:Thread Review (Newest First)
Posted by Fsbirdhouse - Friday, January 24th, 2020, 04:40 pm

All of this is very interesting.

It is still unclear, she said, when the Judahites eliminated polytheism and Yahweh became the main deity.

“If we were to transport ourselves to Judah in the 8th century,” she said, we would be struck by the hugely different ways in which the people then worshiped compared to today.

Revealed: In First Temple era, another massive temple was in use near Jerusalem
Large 10th century BCE worship complex being excavated at Motza in ancient Judah; 4 miles from Temple Mount, site was ‘sanctioned’ by Jerusalem administration, say archaeologists
By AMANDA BORSCHEL-DAN 3 February 2020, 3:02 pm
  • [Image: Picture-1-2-1024x640.jpg][color=rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.6)]Aerial photo of the temple at Motza at the end of the 2013 excavation. (P. Partouche, SkyView)[/color]

  • [Image: 11-1024x640.jpg][color=rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.6)]Ancient figurines of people found at Tel Motza (photo credit: Clara Amit/courtesy of IAA)[/color]
  • [Image: 51-1024x640.jpg][color=rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.6)]Figurine of a horse found in Tel Motza (photo credit: Clara Amit/ courtesy of IAA)[/color]
  • [Image: ram-II-1024x640.jpg][color=rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.6)]A ram figurine found at Tel Motza, outside Jerusalem (photo credit: Yael Yolovitch/Israel Antiquities Authority)[/color]
Solomon’s Temple on the Jerusalem Temple Mount was likely not the only site of centralized worship in the Holy Land region of Judah, according to research newly published in the Biblical Archaeology Review by a team of archaeologists from Tel Aviv University and the Israel Antiquities Authority.
A massive Iron Age II temple complex, which stood from around 900 BCE until circa the early sixth century BCE, is currently being excavated at Tel Motza, just seven kilometers (four miles) northwest of ancient Jerusalem’s City of David. First discovered in 2012, the Motza temple is contemporaneous with the First Temple in Jerusalem and uses the same architectural plan.
It would have been about two-thirds the size of the First Temple and was likely built by similar builders who came to the region from Syria in the north, as described in the Bible, the IAA’s Shua Kisilevitz told The Times of Israel on Monday.
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Due to Motza’s proximity to the First Temple in Jerusalem, the excavation’s principal researchers, Kisilevitz and Prof. Oded Lipschits of TAU’s Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology, hypothesize that this separate cultic site would have been approved by the administration of the Jerusalem “main branch.”
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Israel Antiquity Authority’s Shua Kisilevitz (courtesy)

“You could not have built a major monumental temple so close to Jerusalem without it being sanctioned by the ruling polity,” said Kisilevitz. The fact that the temple at Motza functioned in parallel with the larger Jerusalem site means that it was “probably under the auspices of Jerusalem,” she said, which is a really different way of conceiving of religious practices during the era of the legendary United Monarchy and beyond.
Kisilevitz said that while the entire perimeter of Motza’s cultic structure has yet to be uncovered, the excavations have so far yielded every indication of a parallel worship center.
“It’s almost like a checklist for what we’d expect to find — though of course we would like to see more — but it’s more than what has been found so far in the region,” Kisilevitz said.
She noted the temple’s east-west orientation and a layout that consists of a courtyard and a large rectangular building. This blueprint was developed in the Near East in the third millennium BCE and is found at other cultic centers in the region, including the Jerusalem Temple and ‘Ain Dara and Tell Ta‘yinat in Syria.
An altar found in the Motza courtyard positioned directly in front of the building’s entrance is another check on Kisilevitz’s list. “A temple is not a place that worshipers entered; rather, they gathered in the courtyard. That’s where we expect to see remains of activity,” she said.
Among the other remains of worship activity are a stone-built offering table, and “a whole lot of artifacts,” including figurines, cult stands, and chalices, which would have both been brought by the penitents and been the “furniture” of the temple.
Another telling clue is a nearby refuse pit, where the team discovered bone and pottery remains. Kisilevitz explained that it was used in a similar way that Jews today use a [i]geniza[/i] for sacred texts.
“Anything that you use in a temple, the animals or the vessels, is imbued with religious symbolism and becomes sacred on its own when used in religious rituals. So they can’t be discarded; rather are deposited in the sacred terminus,” she said.
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Horse figurine discovered at the temple complex at Motza. (Clara Amit/IAA)

The four figurines discovered at the site — two human-like and two horses — may indicate that the temple was used for worshiping a variety of gods, not just Yahweh as in Jerusalem.
Kisilevitz noted that the Bible records two religious reforms enacted by King Hezekiah and King Josiah, and said wryly that the fact that there were two is very telling about the widespread cultic practices that were being forbidden. According to the biblical account, the kings consolidated worship practices to the Jerusalem temple and eliminated cultic activity beyond its boundaries.
She maintained the figurines — or idols — were not necessarily worshiped, but rather were mediators between the petitioner and his deity or deities.
“We have to think about things within their contexts… In the ancient Near East, temples were literal houses of the gods,” she said. So along with food, drink, and vessel offerings, these figurines were “a way of reminding the god that you were there and put in a request,” she laughed.
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An artist’s rendition of Solomon’s First Temple (YouTube screen capture)

It is still unclear, she said, when the Judahites eliminated polytheism and Yahweh became the main deity.
“If we were to transport ourselves to Judah in the 8th century,” she said, we would be struck by the hugely different ways in which the people then worshiped compared to today.
What future excavations may uncover
The floor plan of the Motza temple is not fully clear, as parts of the walls are still covered. The archaeologists hope to uncover more in the upcoming 2020 and 2021 spring seasons, with a team of 50 participants, including staff and students from Tel Aviv University, Charles University (Prague) in the Czech Republic, Universität Osnabrück in Germany and UCLA in the United States, according to the TAU press release.
Among the other lingering questions the team hopes to unearth is when its use as a cultic site halted.
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Cult stand with a pair of sphinxes or lions in low relief; the heads were not preserved, discovered at the temple complex at Motza. (Clara Amit/IAA)

“Until when it was in use is a key issue,” said Kisilevitz. The researchers are very interested to know whether it could have continued as a temple after the reforms instituted by King Josiah in circa 640–609 BCE. “Unfortunately, we do not yet have an answer,” she said.
According to the excavation’s website, there have been numerous surveys at the site, primarily salvage excavations ahead of a new road to Jerusalem, in 1993, 2002, 2003, and 2012–2013. During these excavations, archaeologists discovered that this fertile area was first settled some 9,000 years ago, and there was an almost continual presence there until today.
According to the website, it is “situated towards the bottom of a slope on a saddle encompassed by springs and expansive agricultural lands, and dominating the gateway to Jerusalem along the ancient road leading from the lowlands (Coastal Plain and Shephelah) into the central hill country. The Soreq and Moẓa/Arza valleys converge at the base of the slope and form a wide basin known for its fertile soil and seasonal water flow.”
The large number of artifacts dating to the Iron Age II (10th to 6th centuries BCE) during these earlier excavations allowed archaeologists to identify the site as biblical Moẓah, which is noted in the Book of Joshua 18 as a city in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin.
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Two Stone Age animal figurines were found outside Jerusalem at Motza. Archaeologists say they are 9,500 years old (Yael Yolovitch/Israel Antiquities Authority)

In 2009, archaeologists Zvi Greenhut and Alon De Groot called the site “a royal granary specializing in grain storage, which supplied its products first and foremost to Jerusalem,” based on the discovery of dozens of silos and two storage buildings. Thanks to the wealth attained through the grain, the residents of Motza were apparently affluent enough to build and maintain their own temple.
They were not alone in their extra-Jerusalem cultic activity — remains of idols were found in excavations in Beit Shemesh, and earlier digs have found a small 8th century BCE worship center in the Arad border garrison, as well as apparently cultic rooms in Lachish.
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Horse figurine discovered at the temple complex at Motza. (Clara Amit/IAA)

Until this Motza discovery, there have been no known large-scale, purpose-built temples in the region of Judah outside of Jerusalem, but Kisilevitz doesn’t think it will be the last.
“Definitely there is cultic activity going on throughout the region. I think at some point we will find more temples,” she said. The people of the time were clearly conducting “cultic acts,” she said, hypothesizing that every settlement would have had some kind of center, depending upon its size and resources.
The Motza temple, however, gives proof to the idea of such worship being approved by the Jerusalem priestly classes.
“Despite the biblical narratives describing Hezekiah’s and Josiah’s reforms, there were sanctioned temples in Judah in addition to the official temple in Jerusalem,” said Lipschits in a TAU press release. “Our discoveries thus far have fundamentally changed the way we understand the religious practices of Judahites.”
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Quote:The settlement is mentioned in both the Bible and in various Egyptian sources and was one of the few Canaanite cities to survive into the 12th century BCE.

Canaanite Temple Unearthed At Lachish
 2/17/2020 08:00:00 PM 
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A team of archaeologists led by Professor Yosef Garfinkel at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology and Professor Michael Hasel at Southern Adventist University in Tennessee has unearthed a 3,000-year-old Canaanite temple in Tel Lachish National Park.

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Aerial view of the newly found temple at Tel Lachish [Credit: Emil Eljem]

In a study published last month in Levant, Garfinkel and his co-authors revealed, for the first time ever, extensive ruins of a Canaanite temple dating to the 12th century BCE that they uncovered in National Park Tel Lachish, a large Bronze Age-era settlement near the present-day Israeli city of Kiryat Gat.

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Some of the pottery uncovered in the temple [Credit: C. Amit/IAA]
Lachish was one of the most important Canaanite cities in the Land of Israel during the Middle and late Bronze Ages; its people controlled large parts of the Judean lowlands. The city was built around 1800 BCE and later destroyed by the Egyptians around 1550 BCE. It was rebuilt and destroyed twice more, succumbing for good around 1150 BCE. The settlement is mentioned in both the Bible and in various Egyptian sources and was one of the few Canaanite cities to survive into the 12th century BCE.

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Weapons and jewellery found near the temple inner sanctum: beads, earrings, an arrowhead,
a dagger and an axe head [Credit: T. Rogovski]

"This excavation has been breath-taking,” shared Garfinkel. “Only once every 30 or 40 years do we get the chance to excavate a Canaanite temple in Israel. What we found sheds new light on ancient life in the region. It would be hard to overstate the importance of these findings.”

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Two ancient figurines found at the temple in Tel Lachish likely represent Baal and Resheph,
deities worshipped by the Canaanites [Credit: T. Rogovski]

The layout of the temple is similar to other Canaanite temples in northern Israel, among them Shechem [Nablus], Megiddo and Hazor. The front of the compound is marked by two columns and two towers leading to a large hall. The inner sanctum has four supporting columns and several unhewn “standing stones” that may have served as representations of temple deities. The Lachish temple is more square in shape and has several side rooms, typical of later temples including Solomon’s Temple.

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Bronze cauldron found at Tel Lachish [Credit: T. Rogovski]

In addition to these archaeological ruins, the team unearthed a trove of artifacts including, bronze cauldrons, Hathor-inspired jewellery, daggers and axe-heads adorned with bird images, scarabs, and a gold-plated bottle inscribed with the name Ramses II, one of Egypt’s most powerful pharaohs. Near the temple’s holy of holies, the team found two bronze figurines. Unlike the winged cherubs in Solomon’s Temple, the Lachish figurines were armed “smiting gods”.

[Image: Israel-02.jpg]
An extremely rare find found at Tel Lachish shows a Caananite inscription and the oldest-known
example of the letter “samekh” (highlighted) [Credit: T. Rogovski]

Of particular interest was a pottery sherd engraved with ancient Canaanite script. There, the letter “samek” appears, marked by an elongated vertical line crossed by three perpendicular shorter lines. This makes it the oldest known example of the letter and a unique specimen for the study of ancient alphabets.

Source: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs [February 17, 2020]

Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
MAY 28, 2020
Who were the Canaanites? New insight from 73 ancient genomes
[Image: whoweretheca.jpg]A general view of the Tel Megiddo site. Credit: Megiddo Expedition
The people who lived in the area known as the Southern Levant—which is now recognized as Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Lebanon, and parts of Syria—during the Bronze Age (circa 3500-1150 BCE) are referred to in ancient biblical texts as the Canaanites. Now, researchers reporting in the journal Cell on May 28 have new insight into the Canaanites' history based on a new genome-wide analysis of ancient DNA collected from 73 individuals.

"Populations in the Southern Levant during the Bronze Age were not static," says Liran Carmel of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "Rather, we observe evidence for the movement of people over long periods of time from the northeast of the Ancient Near East, including modern Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, into the Southern Levant region.
"The Canaanites, albeit living in different city-states, were culturally and genetically similar," he adds. "In addition, this region has witnessed many later population movements, with people coming from the northeast, from the south, and from the northwest."
Carmel and colleagues came to these conclusions based on an analysis of 73 new ancient DNA samples representing mainly Middle-to-Late Bronze Age individuals from five archaeological sites across the Southern Levant. To these new data, the researchers added previously reported data from 20 individuals from four sites to generate a dataset of 93 individuals. The genomic analysis showed that the Canaanites do represent a clear group.

[Image: 1-whoweretheca.jpg]
The area of the Tel Megiddo site supplied most of the samples for the aDNA study. Credit: Megiddo Expedition
"Individuals from all sites are highly genetically similar, albeit with subtle differences, showing that the archaeologically and historically defined 'Canaanites' corresponds to a demographically coherent group," Carmel says.
The data suggest that the Canaanites descended from a mixture of earlier local Neolithic populations and populations related to Chalcolithic Iran and/or the Bronze Age Caucasus. The researchers documented a significant increase in the proportion of Iranian/Caucasus-related ancestry over time, which is supported by three individuals who are descendants of recent arrivals from the Caucasus.
"The strength of the migration from the northeast of the Ancient Near East, and the fact that this migration continued for many centuries, may help to explain why rulers of city-states in Canaan in the Late Bronze Age carry non-Semitic, Hurrian names," says Shai Carmi of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "There were strong and active connections between these regions through movements of people that help to understand the shared elements of culture."
The researchers also studied the relationship of the Canaanites to modern-day populations. While the direct contribution of the Canaanites to modern populations cannot be accurately quantified, the data suggest that a broader Near Eastern component, including populations from the Caucasus and the Zagros Mountains, likely account for more than 50 percent of the ancestry of many Arabic-speaking and Jewish groups living in the region today.
Carmel reports that they are now working to extend their sampling, both geographically and over time. "We wish to analyze Iron Age samples from different areas of the southern Levant," Carmel says. "This may shed light on the composition of the populations in the biblically mentioned kingdoms of the region, among them Israel, Judah, Ammon, and Moab."

Explore further
Present-day Lebanese descend from Biblical Canaanites, genetic study suggests

[b]More information:[/b] Cell, Agranat-Tamir et al.: "The Genomic History of the Bronze Age Southern Levant" , DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.04.024
[b]Journal information:[/b] Cel

JULY 15, 2020
Hyksos, 15th Dynasty rulers of Ancient Egypt, were an internal takeover
[Image: hyksos15thdy.jpg]Seal amulet with the name of the Hyksos pharoah Apophis. Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (CC0)
The Hyksos, who ruled during the 15th Dynasty of ancient Egypt, were not foreign invaders, but a group who rose to power from within, according to a study published July 8, 2020 in the open-access journal PLoS ONE by Chris Stantis of Bournemouth University, UK and colleagues.

The Hyksos were a foreign dynasty that ruled parts of Egypt between approximately 1638-1530 BCE, the first instance of Egypt being ruled by individuals of a foreign origin. The common story is that the Hyksos were invaders from a far-off land, but this idea has been drawn into question. Archaeological evidence does link Hyksos culture with an origin in the Near East, but exactly how they rose to power is unclear.
In this study, Stantis and colleagues collected enamel samples from the teeth of 75 humans buried in the ancient Hyksos capital city of Tell el-Dab'a in the northeast Nile Delta. Comparing ratios of strontium isotopes in the teeth to environmental isotope signatures from Egypt and elsewhere, they assessed the geographic origins of the individuals who lived in the city. They found that a large percentage of the populace were non-locals who immigrated from a wide variety of other places. This pattern was true both before and during the Hyksos dynasty.
This pattern does not match the story of a sudden invasion from a single far-off land, but of a multi-cultural region where one internal group—the Hyksos—eventually rose to power after living there for generations. This is the first study to use archaeological chemistry to address the origins of the Hyksos rulers, but the authors note that more investigations and broader chemical techniques will be needed to identify the specific ancestries of the Hyksos and other non-local residents of Egypt.
Stantis adds: "Archaeological chemistry, specifically isotopic analysis, shows us first-generation migration during a time of major cultural transformations in ancient Egypt. Rather than the old scholastic theories of invasion, we see more people, especially women, migrating to Egypt before Hyksos rule, suggesting economic and cultural changes leading to foreign rule rather than violence."

Explore further
US dig unearths tomb of previously unknown pharaoh

[b]More information:[/b] Stantis C, Kharobi A, Maaranen N, Nowell GM, Bietak M, Prell S, et al. (2020) Who were the Hyksos? Challenging traditional narratives using strontium isotope (87Sr/86Sr) analysis of human remains from ancient Egypt. PLoS ONE 15(7): e0235414. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0235414
[b]Journal information:[/b] PLoS ONE

Biblical site of Ziklag finally identified?
After King Saul was killed in battle with the Philistines, David left Ziklag and traveled to Hebron to be anointed king of Israel.
JULY 15, 2020 19:01

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Tel a Sheria

The location of Ziklag, a settlement mentioned several times in Jewish scriptures, has long been debated. To date, up to 15 sites have been suggested by archaeologists attempting to find the biblical town, such as Tel Halif near Kibbutz Lahav, Tel Shera in the western Negev, and Tel Sheva.

Ziklag is mentioned several times in the Bible, most famously in the Book of Samuel, when a young David was granted refuge from King Saul by the Philistine King Achish of Gat. David was awarded Ziklag as a vassal state, under the protection of Achish, and he used it as a base for raids against the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites.

According to the Book of Samuel, the city was destroyed by the Amalekites and the population was enslaved. After Saul was killed in battle with the Philistines, David left Ziklag and traveled to Hebron to be anointed king of Israel.

Tel a-Sharia in the Negev has long been identified as one of the possible locations of Ziklag, and has one of the strongest claims to being the ancient settlement. Now, another theory has been put forward that supports Tel a-Sharia’s claims.

Prof. Moshe Garsiel, professor emeritus of Bible at Bar-Ilan University, and his wife, Dr. Bat Sheva Garsiel, who is a Koranic expert, have used Arabic toponymy (the study of place names) and local Islamic traditions to come to the conclusion that the real location of Ziklag is Tel a-Sharia, based on a law instituted by David regarding the sharing of spoils of war. Garsiel explains that Arabic names of sites do not preserve the old biblical names, but perpetuate something of historical significance that occurred there and that local Arabs attributed to the place – and that is the basis of his theory regarding Ziklag.

“King David saved the hostages from the Amalekites and returned with lots of booty,” Garsiel explained to The Jerusalem Post. “He returned with everyone to Ziklag, but on the way to battle, a third of the battalion – around 200 soldiers – stayed behind, and two-thirds went out to war.

“All those who went to war with David asked why they should have to share their booty with the others who had remained behind, so David made the ruling that for those who stayed behind, it’s as if they went to war.”

The Book of Samuel reads: “David replied, ‘The Lord kept us safe. He gave us success in the battle. No one will agree with what you say. Each person will receive an equal share. Some men stayed with the baggage. Some men fought in the battle. But each person will receive the same amount.’ David made this ruling as an order. The Israelites have followed this ruling ever since that day” (Samuel I, 30:23-26).

“It’s a law,” Garsiel explains. “And this was the connection I made to Sharia, which means ‘law’ in Arabic.”

“The valley [below Tel-a Sharia] is called Wadi a-Sharia – The valley of ‘the law’. That became shortened to Tel Shera.... From there I got to understanding that the Arabs named it after ‘the law of David.’”

Garsiel also points out the Islamic connections between the Prophet Muhammad and King David, who is held in high esteem in Islamic tradition and was honored with the title ‘halif.’ The archaeological site Tel Halif is only a few kilometers from Tel a-Sharia and Garsiel says it is also named in honor of King David.

During one of Muhammad’s first victories in his conquest of the Arabian Peninsula, he issued a law that the spoils of war should be divided fairly between those who went to battle and those who stayed in the camp, as David had done.

“When Muhammad fought and won, he introduced a Sharia law that everyone who went out to war and those who remained behind share the spoils. That’s one of the connections between Muhammad and David,” Garsiel explained.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Gem seal with face of Apollo on it found near Jerusalem's Western Wall
by Bob Yirka ,
[Image: gemsealwithf.jpg]A gem seal depicting a portrait of Apollo. Credit: Eliyahu Yanai, City of David.
A team of researchers working with citizen archeologists on the Tzurim Valley National Park sifting project (near Temple Mount) has found a unique ancient gem seal—one that bears the face of the god Apollo. The team, led by Eli Shukron, has been speaking with the press about the unique find and its possible history.

Gem seals are flat-faced, carved stones, generally coin-sized. They were used by ancient people as a form of signature. The seal was pressed against a soft material such as wax to leave an imprint of whatever was carved on the stone. Such signatures were used when purchasing goods, signing documents or during business transactions. With this new find, the face on the seal was surprising, because it bears the face of the god Apollo. It has been dated to approximately 2000 years ago, a time when Jews were living in the area. Apollo was a Greek god, not theirs; the Jews were monotheistic. Thus, the question of why such a seal would be found there arose.
The researchers found that the stone was made of jasper (once considered to be precious), and had once been affixed to a ring (the stone is smaller than a fingernail), which means the owner likely wore it for purposes unrelated to making transactions. They suggest the owner was likely trying to take advantage of attributes that Apollo was supposed to represent, such as purity, success, health and light. The researchers also note that it was a particularly attractive seal; as the stone was carved, layers of yellow, light brown and white were revealed, giving the seal a certain aura. The face of Apollo was carved in profile with his long hair flowing down his neck. The researchers note that the god Apollo was revered by many people along the Eastern Mediterranean during that time, and people of different faiths were more than willing to embrace his more positive attributes.
The site of the dig contained soil that was once part of the foundation of the Western Wall, which surrounded the Second Temple in the City of David (modern Jerusalem). When the Romans came in AD 70, they destroyed the wall, leaving its foundation to crumble.

Explore further
Jerusalem site reveals ancient Judean tax centre

[b]More information:[/b] A Gem Seal Bearing the Portrait of Apollo:
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
A Jewish merchant, who had business with the Romans,
and had been sending out letters, might have used a seal like this
even though his own belief system banned "graven images".
A Roman probably demanded an Apollo seal be used on any mail
and thus making the merchant commit heresy,
and therefore ensuring secrecy.

Saturday, November 14th, 2020, 07:19 pm (This post was last modified: Saturday, November 14th, 2020, 07:25 pm by Kalter Rauch.)

he had to vote biden but loves trump.
[Image: presidential-seal-2.jpg]   

Sealed fate???

this is real and happening now.

[Image: roman-emperor-septimius-severus-caracall...=640%2C480]

The newly read stone inscription of a letter by Roman Emperors Septimius Severus and Caracalla to the residents of the city of Nicopolis ad Istrum in today’s Northern Bulgaria reveals bribery, political corruption and lies in the Roman Empire. Photo: Veliko Tarnovo Regional Museum of History
A newly decoded ancient stone inscription in Ancient Greek reveals that Roman Emperor Septimius Severus and his son and Co-Emperor Caracalla told “political lies" [Image: ?]  and demonstrated corruption in the Roman Empire by expressing gratitude for a large-scale “bribe" from the residents of the huge Roman city of Nicopolis ad Istrum, today near Veliko Tarnovo in Central North Bulgaria.

everything old ain't knew again
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
JANUARY 28, 2021
A glimpse into the wardrobe of King David and King Solomon, 3000 years ago
by Tel-Aviv University
[Image: aglimpseinto.jpg]Wool fibers dyed with Royal Purple,~1000 BCE, Timna Valley, Israel. Credit: Dafna Gazit, the Israel Antiquities Authority
"King Solomon made for himself the carriage; he made it of wood from Lebanon. Its posts he made of silver, its base of gold. Its seat was upholstered with purple, its interior inlaid with love." (Song of Songs 3:9-10)
For the first time, rare evidence has been found of fabric dyed with royal purple dating from the time of King David and King Solomon.
While examining the colored textiles from Timna Valley—an ancient copper production district in southern Israel—in a study that has lasted several years, the researchers were surprised to find remnants of woven fabric, a tassel and fibers of wool dyed with royal purple. Direct radiocarbon dating confirms that the finds date from approximately 1000 BCE, corresponding to the biblical monarchies of David and Solomon in Jerusalem. The dye, which is produced from species of mollusk found in the Mediterranean, over 300 km from Timna, is often mentioned in the Bible and appears in various Jewish and Christian contexts. This is the first time that purple-dyed Iron Age textiles have been found in Israel, or indeed throughout the Southern Levant. The research was carried out by Dr. Naama Sukenik from the Israel Antiquities Authority and Prof. Erez Ben-Yosef, from the Jacob M. Alkow Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures at Tel Aviv University, in collaboration with Prof. Zohar Amar, Dr. David Iluz and Dr. Alexander Varvak from Bar-Ilan University and Dr. Orit Shamir from the Israel Antiquities Authority. The unexpected finds are being published today in PLOS ONE.

[Image: 1-aglimpseinto.jpg]
Wool textile fragment decorated by threads dyed with Royal Purple, ~1000 BCE, Timna Valley, Israel Credit: Dafna Gazit, the Israel Antiquities Authority
"This is a very exciting and important discovery," explains Dr. Naama Sukenik, curator of organic finds at the Israel Antiquities Authority. "This is the first piece of textile ever found from the time of David and Solomon that is dyed with the prestigious purple dye. In antiquity, purple attire was associated with the nobility, with priests, and of course with royalty. The gorgeous shade of the purple, the fact that it does not fade, and the difficulty in producing the dye, which is found in minute quantities in the body of mollusks, all made it the most highly valued of the dyes, which often cost more than gold. Until the current discovery, we had only encountered mollusk-shell waste and potsherds with patches of dye, which provided evidence of the purple industry in the Iron Age. Now, for the first time, we have direct evidence of the dyed fabrics themselves, preserved for some 3000 years."

Prof. Erez Ben-Yosef from Tel Aviv University's Archaeology Department says, "Our archaeological expedition has been excavating continuously at Timna since 2013. As a result of the region's extremely dry climate, we are also able to recover organic materials such as textile, cords and leather from the Iron Age, from the time of David and Solomon, providing us with a unique glimpse into life in biblical times. If we excavated for another hundred years in Jerusalem, we would not discover textiles from 3000 years ago. The state of preservation at Timna is exceptional and it is paralleled only by that at much later sites such as Masada and the Judean Desert Caves. In recent years, we have been excavating a new site inside Timna known as Slaves' Hill. The name may be misleading, since far from being slaves, the laborers were highly skilled metalworkers. Timna was a production center for copper, the Iron Age equivalent of modern-day oil. Copper smelting required advanced metallurgical understanding that was a guarded secret, and those who held this knowledge were the "Hi-Tech' experts of the time. Slaves' Hill is the largest copper-smelting site in the valley and it is filled with piles of industrial waste such as slag from the smelting furnaces. One of these heaps yielded three scraps of colored cloth. The color immediately attracted our attention, but we found it hard to believe that we had found true purple from such an ancient period."
According to the researchers, true purple [argaman] was produced from three species of mollusk indigenous to the Mediterranean Sea: The Banded Dye-Murex (Hexaplex trunculus), the Spiny Dye-Murex (Bolinus brandaris) and the Red-Mouthed Rock-Shell (Stramonita haemastoma). The dye was produced from a gland located within the body of the mollusk by means of a complex chemical process that lasted several days. Today, most scholars agree that the two precious dyes, purple [argaman] and light blue, or azure [tekhelet] were produced from the purple dye mollusk under different conditions of exposure to light. When exposed to light, azure is obtained whereas without light exposure, a purple hue is obtained. These colors are often mentioned together in the ancient sources, and both have symbolic and religious significance to this day. The Temple priests, David and Solomon, and Jesus of Nazareth are all described as having worn clothing colored with purple.

[Image: aglimpseinto.jpeg]
Excavating Slaves' Hill. Credit: Sagi Bornstein, the Central Timna Valley Project.
The analytical tests conducted at Bar Ilan University's laboratories, together with dyes that were reconstructed by Prof. Zohar Amar and Dr. Naama Sukenik, can identify the species used to dye the Timna textiles and the desired hues. In order to reconstruct the mollusk dyeing process, Prof. Amar traveled to Italy where he cracked thousands of mollusks (which the Italians eat) and produced raw material from their dye glands that was used in hundreds of attempts to reconstruct ancient dyeing. "The practical work took us back thousands of years," says Prof. Amar, "and it has allowed us to better understand obscure historical sources associated with the precious colors of azure and purple."
The dye was identified with an advanced analytical instrument (HPLC) that indicated the presence of unique dye molecules, originating only in certain species of mollusk. According to Dr. Naama Sukenik, "Most of the colored textiles found at Timna, and in archaeological research in general, were dyed using various plant-based dyes that were readily available and easier to dye with. The use of animal-based dyes is regarded as much more prestigious, and served as an important indicator for the wearer's high economic and social status. The remnants of the purple-dyed cloth that we found are not only the most ancient in Israel, but in the Southern Levant in general. We also believe that we have succeeded in identifying the double-dyeing method in one of the fragments, in which two species of mollusk were used in a sophisticated way, to enrich the dye. This technology is described by the Roman historian Pliny the Elder, from the first century CE, and the dye it produced was considered the most prestigious."
Prof. Ben-Yosef identifies the copper-production center at Timna as part of the biblical Kingdom of Edom, which bordered the kingdom of Israel to the south. According to him, the dramatic finds should revolutionize our concepts of nomadic societies in the Iron Age. "The new finds reinforce our assumption that there was an elite at Timna, attesting to a stratified society. In addition, since the mollusks are indigenous to the Mediterranean, this society obviously maintained trade relations with other peoples who lived on the coastal plain. However, we do not have evidence of any permanent settlements in the Edomite territory. The Edomite Kingdom was a kingdom of nomads in the early Iron Age. When we think of nomads, it is difficult for us to free ourselves from comparisons with contemporary Bedouins, and we therefore find it hard to imagine kings without magnificent stone palaces and walled cities. Yet in certain circumstances, nomads can also create a complex socio-political structure, one that the biblical writers could identify as a kingdom. Of course, this whole debate has repercussions for our understanding of Jerusalem in the same period. We know that the Tribes of Israel were originally nomadic and that the process of settlement was gradual and prolonged. Archaeologists are looking for King David's palace. However, David may not have expressed his wealth in splendid buildings, but with objects more suited to a nomadic heritage such as textiles and artifacts." According to Ben-Yosef, "It is wrong to assume that if no grand buildings and fortresses have been found, then biblical descriptions of the United Monarchy in Jerusalem must be literary fiction. Our new research at Timna has showed us that even without such buildings, there were kings in our region who ruled over complex societies, formed alliances and trade relations, and waged war on each other. The wealth of a nomadic society was not measured in palaces and monuments made of stone, but in things that were no less valued in the ancient world—such as the copper produced at Timna and the purple dye that was traded with its copper smelters."

Explore further
3,000-year-old textiles are earliest evidence of chemical dyeing in the Levant

[b]More information:[/b] PLOS ONE (2021). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0245897
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Alphabet's 'missing link' possibly discovered
By Owen Jarus - Live Science Contributor 18 days ago

Alphabet's 'missing link' possibly discovered
By Owen Jarus - Live Science Contributor 18 days ago

[Image: 9yX8j9r83tUFM6AhisJMpJ-970-80.jpg.webp]
This inscription, written on a jar fragment, contains what may be a "missing link" in the history of alphabetic writing. It was recently discovered beside an ancient fortification at the site of Tel Lachish in Israel. (Image credit: J. Dye, Austrian Academy of Sciences, courtesy Antiquity Publications Ltd.)

An alphabetic inscription written on a jar fragment found at the site of Tel Lachish in Israel and dating back around 3,450 years may provide a "missing link" in the history of the alphabet, a team of researchers said.

"Dating to the fifteenth century B.C., this inscription is currently the oldest securely dated alphabetic inscription from the Southern Levant," wrote the researchers led by Felix Höflmayer, an archaeologist at the Austrian Archaeological Institute, in a paper published April 14 in the journal Antiquity.

The earliest evidence of writing that uses a system of letters to represent sounds — an alphabet — was found in Egypt and dates to the 12th dynasty (around 1981 B.C. to 1802 B.C.), with more examples being found from around 1300 B.C. in the Levant (an area that includes modern-day Israel), Höflmayer's team wrote in their paper. In later times, the Greeks adopted the use of an alphabet system, followed by the Romans (with their Latin writing system) who also used one. The use of an alphabet system was gradually adopted by more and more cultures.

Related: Cracking codices: 10 of the most mysterious ancient manuscripts

The recently discovered inscription, dating to around 1450 B.C., is being called a "missing link," because it fills a gap between early examples of alphabetic writing from Egypt and later examples found in the Levant, wrote Höflmayer's team. The inscription also provides clues about how the alphabet may have been transmitted to the Levant, with the team suggesting that the Hyksos, a group from the Levant that ruled northern Egypt until around 1550 B.C., may have helped to bring the alphabet from Egypt to the Levant. Their reasoning is based on the fact that, for a time, the Hyksos controlled territory in both the Levant and northern Egypt. It is also based on the fact that hieroglyphic symbols were used to symbolize letters on this jar.

Short inscription
The newly found alphabetic inscription is quite short: The first word in the inscription contains the letters ayin, bet and dalet, while the second word contains the letters nun, pe and tav. All of these letters are part of the early Semitic alphabet used at one time on the Arabian Peninsula; they can also be found today in the Hebrew language, although the modern-day symbols look different.

The writer used hieroglyphic symbols to represent some of the letters; for instance, ayin was represented with a hieroglyphic symbol that looks like an eye.

"As in most early alphabetic inscriptions from the Southern Levant, the letter is shaped like a circle, resembling an iris with the pupil missing," the team wrote in the Antiquity article.

They aren't sure what the words mean, though they may be part of two names, the team said. The inscription is being called a missing link because it dates to around 3,450 years ago, after the first alphabetic symbols appeared in Egypt around 3,900 years ago but before they appeared again in the Levant around 3,300 years ago.

The letters in the first word can spell out "slave," though this doesn't mean that the inscription refers to an enslaved person. The researchers noted that the surviving letters are likely part of longer words, and the combination of those letters that spell out "slave" are used in many other words.

The inscription was uncovered by archaeologists in 2018 near an ancient fortification at Tel Lachish. The researchers also found the remains of barley alongside the jar fragment holding the inscription, and radiocarbon dating indicated that the barley was grown in around 1450 B.C.

That date may be controversial, however, said Benjamin Sass, an archaeology professor at Tel Aviv University who has written extensively about the early history of the alphabet, but who was not involved in the study. The dating of the barley may or may not be an accurate date for the inscription, Sass noted. (For instance, the barley could have been harvested after the jar.) "The data published so far makes this a possibility, but by no means a certainty," Sass told Live Science.
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