Biblical History

King David’s city discovered? Ancient site linked to biblical kingdom, archaeologists say

Archaeologists in Israel have uncovered an ancient site that may offer fresh insight into the ancient biblical kingdom of David and Solomon. Researchers from Bar-Ilan University have been excavating the remains of a large house dubbed the “Governor’s Residence” that was destroyed by a fire in an 8th century B.C. Assyrian military campaign. The impressive four-room home, located at Tel ‘Eton in the Judean foothills, had at least two stories and its ground floor extended over 2,420 square feet. Occupying high ground at the top of a mound, the house was carefully built with deep foundations. Large masonry stones were placed in the corners and entrances of the building and high-quality building materials were used, according to experts. The discovery could shed new light on the joint kingdom ruled by David and his son Solomon, which is described in the Hebrew Bible, but has long divided historians. Also known as the united monarchy, the territory is said to have included the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. While some experts believe that the kingdom existed in the 10th-century B.C., others have questioned its existence, citing a lack of evidence of royal construction at the center of the region where the kingdom is said to have existed. However, part of the building at Tel ‘Eton has been dated to a period in history that coincided with the supposed joint kingdom, according to Prof. Avraham Faust and Dr. Yair Sapir. The archaeologists recently published their findings in the journal Radiocarbon. “Surprisingly, radiocarbon dates from within the floor make-up and from within a foundation deposit that was placed below the floor indicate that the building had already been erected in the 10th century BCE, between the late 11th century and the third quarter of the 10th century BCE. This date is in line with other finds related to the construction, like the foundation deposit itself,” said Prof. Faust, in a statement. The construction of such a major residence at the top of a mound, with commanding views over the local area, marks an important event in the site’s history, according to Faust and Sapir, particularly when viewed in the context of the ancient city’s growth. However, the archaeologists note that “the association with David is not based on direct archaeological evidence, but solely on circumstantial grounds.” Nonetheless, the erection of the residence and the growing size of Tel ‘Eton could make a link to the David plausible, the researchers say, noting that the King is said to have existed in the nearby Judean highlands. Another site at Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Judean highlands, about 12.5 miles north of Tel ‘Eton, has also been linked to David, Haaretz reports. Jerusalem and other biblical cities such as Hebron, are also located in the Judean hills. There have been a number of fascinating finds in the region in recent years. A trove of bronze coins, the last remnants of an ancient Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire, were recently discovered near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. In February, archaeologists announced the discovery of a clay seal mark that may bear the signature of the biblical Prophet Isaiah. Last November, new evidence dated Christ’s tomb in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre to the Roman era, matching historical records. Other finds include the skeleton of a pregnant woman, dating back 3,200 years, in Israel’s Timna Valley, at a place once called King Solomon’s Mines. At the site of an ancient city on the West Bank, archaeologists are also hunting for evidence of the tabernacle that once housed the Ark of the Covenant. Some experts also believe they have found the lost Roman city of Julias, formerly the village of Bethsaida, which was the home of Jesus’ apostles Peter, Andrew and Philip.

Fascinating!!  To see some photos, click on the text above.    🙂

Archaeological find in Jerusalem ‘proves Bible passage is historically true’

Archaeologists excavating in Jerusalem have found burned artifacts dating from 2,600 years ago – which prove that a passage in the Bible is true. Researchers uncovered charred wood, grape seeds, fish scales, bones and pottery while digging in the City of David in Jerusalem. The find provides evidence that the Babylonians ‘burned all the houses of Jerusalem’, described in the book of Jeremiah. Researchers from the Israel Antiquities Authority found the artifacts beneath layers of rock in the City of David – along with jars with seals which enabled the researchers to date the artifacts. ‘These seals are characteristic of the end of the First Temple Period,’ said Dr Joe Uziel of the Israel Antiquities Authority, ‘Used for the administrative system that developed towards the end of the Judean dynasty.’ The fire damage can be dated to 2,600 years ago – which ties with events described in the Bible. The book of Jeremiah says, ‘Now on the seventh day of the fifth month, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He burned the house of the Lord, the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem; even every great house he burned with fire.’

Fascinating!!  To see the video, click on the text above.   🙂

Biblical king’s palace uncovered beneath shrine destroyed by ISIS

Archaeologists in Mosul have made a stunning find beneath the Tomb of the Prophet Jonah that was destroyed by Islamic State militants in 2014: the long-hidden palace of ancient Assyrian King Sennacherib. Experts were documenting the jihadists’ destruction of the tomb’s ruins when they located the palace, which dates back to 600 B.C. ISIS had dug tunnels into the site in a search for ancient artifacts to plunder, according to media reports. The Telegraph reports that Iraqi archaeologist Layla Salih found a marble cuneiform inscription of Assyrian King Esarhaddon inside one of the tunnels. The inscription is believed to date to 672 B.C. when the palace was part of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh. One of the earliest forms of writing, cuneiform harnesses wedge-shaped marks and was widely used in ancient Mesopotamian civilizations. The palace was built for the Assyrian King Sennarcherib, expanded by his son Esarhaddon, and renovated by his grandson King Ashurbanipal, according to the Telegraph, which notes that the palace was partly destroyed during the sack of Nineveh in 612 B.C. Sennacherib’s invasion of the ancient kingdom of Judah is extensively documented in the Bible. Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal are also mentioned in scripture, although feature less prominently. Elsewhere in the tunnel, archaeologists found ancient Assyrian stone sculptures of a demi-goddess, the Telegraph reports. The Tomb of Jonah, or Nebi Yunus in Arabic, is located on a hill in Eastern Mosul. The site was recaptured from ISIS by the Iraqi army last month during its Mosul offensive. Jonah is revered in Christian, Muslim, and Jewish traditions. The Prophet’s tomb, which was located within a Sunni mosque, was destroyed by ISIS militants in July 2014.

Just awful..  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.

Ancient city gate and shrine from Hebrew Bible uncovered

An ancient city gate and shrine that King Hezekiah ordered to be destroyed during the eighth century B.C., according to the Hebrew Bible, are seeing the light of day following an excavation in Israel, archaeologists reported. The so-called gate-shrine is likely evidence of actions taken by King Hezekiah, the 12th king of Judea, to abolish idols, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Hezekiah’s father, Ahaz, was known as a godless man, and as soon as Hezekiah ascended the throne, he ordered the destruction of all of the false idols (objects, other deities or animals that people worshipped) in the kingdom, according to Chabad.org, a website on Judaism. In the Hebrew Bible, a verse explains how “He [Hezekiah] removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles [associated with a sacred goddess]…” (II Kings 18:4), the IAA said. The gate is located in the ancient city of Tel Lachish within an 80-by-80-foot six-chambered area, with three chambers on each side and the city’s main street passing between them, the IAA said. The northern section of the gate was unearthed decades ago by an expedition led by archaeologists from the United Kingdom and Tel Aviv University. The latest excavation, which took place from January to March 2016, focused on uncovering the entire gate, the IAA said. The excavation was no small task, as the gate is the largest one in Israel dating back to the First Temple period, a time when the kingdom used the temple built by King Solomon, the IAA said. “The size of the gate is consistent with the historical and archaeological knowledge we possess,” Sa’ar Ganor, an excavation director with the Israel Antiquities Authority, said in a statement. According to biblical narrative, “everything took place” at the gates of the ancient city of Tel Lachish, where the gate-shrine was originally built, the IAA said. High-ranking people — including city elders, judges, governors, kings and officials — would sit on the benches by the city gate, and “these benches were found in our excavation,” Ganor said. Moreover, the new discovery illustrates “how biblical tales that are known to us become historical and archaeological stories” as research progresses, said Ze’ev Elkin, who serves as minister of Jerusalem affairs and heritage and environmental protection as well as a member of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

Fascinating!!  To see a video about this discovery, and read the rest of the article, click on the text above.    🙂

Ancient fortress discovery may solve one of Jerusalem’s great archaeological mysteries

Archaeologists in Israel believe they have found the remains of an ancient Greek fortification used to control the Temple in Jerusalem more than 2,000 years ago. The citadel was recently uncovered during archaeological excavations in a parking lot at the City of David, which is in the Jerusalem Walls National Park. The Greek fortifications, known as the Acra, were built during the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes to control the city and monitor activity in the Temple. However, the Acra’s exact location has been one of Jerusalem’s great archaeological mysteries, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority. “It has been an open question in the archaeology of Jerusalem,” Excavation Director Doron Ben-Ami told FoxNews.com. “For hundreds of years scholars, archaeologists and historians have been looking for the location of this Acra and many, many different locations have been suggested.” Now the parking lot has revealed its incredible secret. “This sensational discovery allows us for the first time to reconstruct the layout of the settlement in the city,” wrote excavation directors Ben-Ami, Yana Tchekhanovets and Salome Cohen, in a statement released by the Israel Antiquities Authority. “The new archaeological finds indicate the establishment of a well-fortified stronghold that was constructed on the high bedrock cliff overlooking the steep slopes of the City of David hill.” The stronghold, they added, controlled all means of approach to the Temple atop the Temple Mount, and cut the Temple off from the southern parts of the city. Excavators now believe that they have exposed evidence of the Acra on Jerusalem’s City of David hill – a section of massive wall, a base of a tower and a glacis, or sloping defensive embankment, which is built of soil, stone and plaster. A host of artifacts, including lead sling shots, bronze arrowheads and ballista stones stamped with the trident symbolizing Antiochus IV Epiphanes have been discovered during the excavations. Other items include coins and wine jars, according to the excavation directors. “The numerous coins ranging in date from the reign of Antiochus IV to that of Antiochus VII and the large number of wine jars (amphorae) that were imported from the Aegean region to Jerusalem, which were discovered at the site, provide evidence of the citadel’s chronology, as well as the non-Jewish identity of its inhabitants.” The temple was liberated from Greek rule by the Hasmoneans in 164 B.C.

Fascinating!! 🙂

Goliath gates: Entrance to famous biblical metropolis uncovered

A massive gate unearthed in Israel may have marked the entrance to a biblical city that, at its heyday, was the biggest metropolis in the region. The town, called Gath, was occupied until the ninth century B.C. In biblical accounts, the Philistines — the mortal enemies of the Israelites — ruled the city. The Old Testament also describes Gath as the home of Goliath, the giant warrior whom the Israelite King David felled with a slingshot. The new findings reveal just how impressive the ancient Philistine city once was, said lead archaeologist of the current excavation, Aren Maeir, of Bar-Ilan University in Israel. “We knew that Philistine Gath in the 10th to ninth century [B.C.] was a large city, perhaps the largest in the land at that time,” Maeir told Live Science in an email. “These monumental fortifications stress how large and mighty this city was.” The gates were uncovered in Tell es-Safi, which was occupied almost continuously for nearly 5,000 years, until the Arab village at the site was left in 1948, Maeir said. Though archaeologists have been excavating at the site since 1899, it wasn’t until the past few decades that they realized how massive the Iron Age remains really were. Both the impressive settlement size and mentions in biblical accounts suggest to scholars that the site is the historic city of Gath, which was ruled by the Philistines, who lived next to the Jewish kingdoms of Judah and Israel. Most scholars think that Gath was besieged and laid to waste by Hazael, King of Aram Damascus, in 830 B.C., Maeir said. The team was digging trenches to look for the ancient city’s fortifications when they found the top surface of a monumental gate and fortifications. Because the remaining walls are so massive, it may take several seasons to fully uncover them, Maeir said. So far, only the top surface of the structures are visible, but based on the size and shape of the stones used to make them, the city walls must have been quite large. The mighty fortifications would have formed a rather imposing boundary that prevented the Kingdom of Judah from expanding westward, he added. The team also found ironworks and a Philistine temple near the monumental gate, with some pottery and other finds typically associated with Philistine culture. Though the pottery represents a distinctive Philistine style, it also shows elements of Israelite technique, suggesting the cultures did influence each other in ways unrelated to war. “This mirrors the intense and multifaceted connections that existed between the Philistines and their neighbors,” Maeir said. Though the Philistines were often seen as the absolute enemies of the Israelites and Judahites, he added, in reality, “it was much more complex.”

Very cool!!    🙂