Archive for the ‘Archaeology’ Category
With thanks to Alexander Fantalkin for mentioning this-
בעתיד נוכל ללבוש משקפי תלת ממד, לסייר באתר עתיק, ולחוש כיצד הוא נראה בתקופת גדולתו. ד”ר פיליפ ספירשטיין, חוקר אמריקני שבילה בשנים האחרונות בחפירות בישראל וביוון הצליח לפענח בתלת ממד כיצד נראו מבנים שנשארו מהם רק שרידים, ועל הדרך לתקן את התרשימים ששרטטו חוקרים מלפני 100 שנה.
Read it all. It’s right interesting.
Check it out here.
If you’re looking for a program, look into this one-
Column bases thought to be from a temple dedicated to Haldi, the supreme god of the kingdom of Urartu, have been
uncovered by villagers in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, where doctoral student Dlshad Marf Zamua of Leiden University has been conducting fieldwork. The 2,500-year-old temple was located in the city of Musasir, known as a “holy city founded in bedrock,” and “the city of the raven.” To the south of where the borders of Iraq, Iran, and Turkey intersect, Marf Zamua has also found several life-sized statues of bearded males carved from limestone, basalt, and sandstone that were originally erected above burials. Some of the figures hold a cup in their right hands, with their left hands on their bellies. “One of them holds a hand ax. Another one put on a dagger,” he told Live Science. The statues date to the seventh or sixth century B.C., after Musasir fell to the Assyrians.
The Daily Beast has an essay which discusses the horrific fate about to befall significant antiquities in the Iraqi territory of Mosul. The essayist writes
More than two and a half millennia ago, the Assyrian King Senaccherib descended on his enemies “like the wolf on the fold,” as the Bible tells us—and as Lord Byron wrote in cantering cadences memorized by countless Victorian schoolchildren: “His cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold; And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea.”
And then he writes
The Assyrian and Babylonian empires appear throughout the Old Testament as examples of ruthless grandeur and godless decadence. The Bible says Sennacherib’s army was destroyed by the Angel of the Lord.
And, of the museum’s curators,
They could have learned from al-Baghdadi’s operations in neighboring Syria that a major source of revenue for his insurgency has been the sale of looted antiquities on the black market. As reported in The Guardian, a windfall of intelligence just before Mosul fell revealed that al-Baghdadi had accumulated a $2 billion war chest, in part by selling off ancient artifacts from captured Syrian sites. But the Iraqi officials concerned with antiquities said the Iraqi intelligence officers privy to that information have not shared it with them.
So the risk now—the virtual certainty, in fact—is that irreplaceable history will be annihilated or sold into the netherworld of corrupt and cynical collectors. And it was plain when I met with Rashid and his colleagues that they are desperate to stop it, but have neither the strategy nor the resources to do so.
This is a real tragedy. But fear not- when looted items do surface, you’ll see the adverts in BAR first.
Jodi Magness writes to inform of this news:
Excavations led by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill faculty member revealed stunning new mosaics decorating the floor of the Late Roman (fifth century) synagogue at Huqoq, an ancient Jewish village in Israel’s Lower Galilee.
Since 2012, three well-preserved mosaics have been discovered in the same location in excavations directed by Jodi Magness, Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism in the College of Arts and Sciences, and co-directed by Shua Kisilevitz of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Sponsors are UNC, Brigham Young University in Utah, Trinity University in Texas, the University of Toronto in Canada and the University of Wyoming. Students and staff from UNC and the consortium schools participated in the dig.
In 2012, a mosaic showing Samson and the foxes (as related in the Bible’s Judges 15:4) was discovered in the synagogue’s east aisle. Last summer (2013), a second mosaic was found which shows Samson carrying the gate of Gaza on his shoulders (Judges 16:3).
A third mosaic discovered in the synagogue’s east aisle is divided into three horizontal registers (strips), and differs in style, quality and content from the Samson scenes. It is the first time a non-biblical story has been found decorating any ancient synagogue. Portions of this mosaic were uncovered in 2013, and the rest was revealed this summer.
The lowest register shows a bull pierced by spears, with blood gushing from his wounds, and a dying or dead soldier holding a shield. The middle register depicts an arcade, with the arches framing young men arranged around a seated elderly man holding a scroll, and lighted oil lamps above each arch. The uppermost register depicts a meeting between two large male figures. A bearded, diademed soldier wearing elaborate battle dress and a purple cloak is leading a large bull by the horns, accompanied by a phalanx of soldiers and elephants with shields tied to their sides. He is meeting with a grey-haired, bearded elderly man wearing a ceremonial white tunic and mantle, accompanied by young men with sheathed swords, also wearing ceremonial white tunics and mantles.
The identification of the figures in this mosaic is unclear because there are no stories in the Hebrew Bible involving elephants, Magness said.
And more, including a photo. It’s a fascinating report. You can read more here and follow along on twitter too at @unccollege.
Israel Finkelstein has a new essay just published in Semitica.
It deals with the archaeology and history of Tell el-Kheleifeh at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba on the background of the broader history of the south. Note the suggestion to date the first fort at the site – the casemate fort – to the first half of the 8th century and its implications.
Persons interested in archaeology will wish to read it.