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Recent Archaeological Findings In The Holy Land
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Recent Archaeological Findings In The Holy Land


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  • 1. Recent archaeological findings in the Holy Land Laindon Bible Class ‒ 12 th August 2009
  • 2. Our study plan
    • Why study archaeology?
    • What do we mean by recent?
    • Current archaeological practice
    • Archaeological findings relating to:
      • People
      • Places
      • Events
      • Life in Biblical times
  • 3. Current archaeological practice
    • Academic policy: “the Bible should be assumed false until proven true”
    • The Old Testament thought to have been written in the early 6 th century BC
    • Question whether there was a distinct Jewish state before the 8 th century BC
    • Dating of findings frequently the subject of argument and uncertainty
  • 4. Archaeological dating Archaeology
  • 5. Findings relating to people
    • The Baruch seal (bulla)
    • The ossuary of Caiaphas
    • Reference to the House of David
    • The home of Goliath
    • The seal of Jezebel
  • 6. The Baruch seal Archaeology Came to light in 1975, original source unknown
  • 7. The Baruch seal
    • Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe (Jeremiah 36)
    • The use of clay seals
    • How they have survived
    • The inscription: “belonging to Berechiah son of Neriah the scribe”
    • Has a fingerprint on its edge
    • Part of a collection that also includes a seal of Seraiah son of Neriah
  • 8. The ossuary of Caiaphas Archaeology Joseph Caiaphas Discovered in Jerusalem 1990
  • 9. The ossuary of Caiaphas
    • Caiaphas (Matthew 26:3, Luke, John & Acts)
    • What is an ossuary?
    • Inscription reads “Joseph son of Caiaphas”
    • Contained bones of two infants, a child, a boy, a woman and a man about 60
  • 10. House of David inscription Archaeology Discovered at Tel Dan in 1994
  • 11. House of David inscription
    • Thought to refer to the exploits of Jehoash, grandson of Jehu (2 Kings 13:23)
    • Found in Dan at the foot of Mt Hermon (1979)
    • Inscription reads: “killed Ahaz iahu son of Jehoram kin g of the House of David”
    • One of only two references to King David outside the Bible
  • 12. Goliath of Gath Archaeology Excavation of the Philistine city of Gath & pottery fragment with ‘Goliath like’ names discovered 2009
  • 13. City of Gath Archaeology
  • 14. Goliath of Gath
    • Excavations in Gath (1 Samuel 17:4,23)
    • Large quantities of Philistine style pottery fragments found at Tell es-Safi dating back to 1000BC (2001 onwards)
    • Inscription found 2005 using names “Alwat and Wlt” thought to be early Semitic spellings of Goliath or something very similar
  • 15. Ancient seal of Jezebel Archaeology Came to light 1964, precise original source unknown
  • 16. Ancient seal of Jezebel
    • Jezebel, wife of King Ahab (1 Kings 16:31)
    • Seal discovered in 1964 by Nahman Avigad and dated to 9 th century BC
    • Work of Dr Korpel confirms it to be almost certainly the seal of Queen Jezebel
    • Queen Jezebel uses Ahab’s seal (1 Kings 21:8) but also appears to have had one of her own, perhaps later
  • 17. Findings relating to places
    • King David’s Palace
    • The significance of the Kingdom of Edom (13 th to the 8 th century BC)
    • The Philistine city of Ekron
  • 18. King David’s Palace Archaeology Discovered in East Jerusalem by Dr Eilat Mazar 2005
  • 19. King David’s Palace? Archaeology
  • 20. King David’s Palace
    • King David’s ‘house’ (2 Samuel 5:11 2 Kings 11:2, 1 Chronicles 17:1)
    • The work of Eilat Mazar, uncovering what is thought to be David’s palace from around 1000BC (2005)
    • Faced considerable opposition from archaeologists who deny the authenticity of David & Solomon
    • Outside wall above the fortress (2 Samuel 5:17)
  • 21. Excavations at Khirbat en-Nahas Archaeology Evidence of the powerful Kingdom of the Edomites uncovered in 2006
  • 22. Kingdom of Edom Archaeology
  • 23. The Kingdom of the Edomites
    • Significant Kingdom (south of Dead Sea) in existence at time of David (2 Samuel 8:14)
    • A fortress, 100 buildings and copper mines discovered in the Biblical land of Edom dating back to 10 th century BC (2006-8)
    • The Edomites mentioned in scripture 99 times but academics had questioned its significance before 7 th century BC
  • 24. Philistine city of Ekron Archaeology Inscription & excavations at Ekron 1998
  • 25. Philistine city of Ekron
    • David fled to Achish ‘king of Gath’ (1 Samuel 21:10)
    • Discoveries identified the city of Ekron, 22 miles SW of Jerusalem (1982 – 2005)
    • Inscription names Achish and also Padi, who is identified in the royal Assyrian annals as a contemporary of Hezekiah when he was besieged by Sennacherib
  • 26. Findings relating to events
    • The altar on Mount Ebal
    • Herod’s tomb
  • 27. Altar on Mount Ebal Archaeology Excavated during the period 1982 – 1984
  • 28. Altar on Mount Ebal
    • Joshua built an altar on Mount Ebal (Joshua 8:30)
    • Remains of an altar discovered during excavations in 1982 – 1987 (dated c1200BC, which is too recent)
    • However, design is remarkably consistent with later altars as specified by God
    • Animal remains sheep, goats & cattle (no pigs, donkeys or dogs)
  • 29. Herod’s Tomb Archaeology Herod’s tomb discovered in 2007 at Herodium (his winter palace) 3 miles SE of Bethlehem
  • 30. Herod’s Tomb
    • Herod the Great died a few years after the birth of Christ (Matthew 2:19-21)
    • In 2007 his tomb was found on the NE slope of Herodium
    • The sarcophagus was broken into 100s of pieces (no doubt smashed during the Jewish revolt against Romans 66 – 72AD)
    • Josephus describes the grand funeral
  • 31. Findings relating to life in Biblical times
    • Evidence of early form of Hebrew in the 10 th century BC
    • Reference to the name of Yahweh in the 7 th century BC
    • Remains of a boat in the Sea of Galilee dating from around 120BC – AD40
  • 32. Hebrew alphabet from 10 th century BC Archaeology
  • 33. The earliest alphabet known
    • Discovered in Tell Zayit SW of Jerusalem embedded in a wall and dated back to 10 th century BC
    • Written in an early form of Hebrew
    • Confirms the level of literacy of the Jewish people
    • Possibly the mother of all modern languages
  • 34. Silver amulet - 7 th century BC Archaeology Rolled silver amulet discovered in a tomb in Jerusalem 1979 and unrolled 1983
  • 35. The name of Yahweh Archaeology Ancient Hebrew script
  • 36. The name of Yahweh
    • A silver amulet was found on the SW slope of the Valley of Hinnom
    • Found in a tomb in 1979 and dated back to the 7 th century BC
    • Took about 3 years to discover how to unroll and yet to be fully translated
    • Contains a prayer like inscription which includes YHWH the name of God
  • 37. Galilee boat Archaeology Discovered in the mud at edge of Sea of Galilee during drought of 1986
  • 38. Reconstruction of the boat Archaeology
  • 39. Remains of Galilee boat
    • Discovered in the mud during a severe drought in 1985 – 6
    • Dated to period 120BC – AD40
    • 30 feet long and 8 feet wide (10 x 2.5m)
    • Contained a complete lamp and cooking pot plus other fragments
    • Would have been similar to the boats Jesus and his disciples used
  • 40. What can we conclude?
    • With the Bible we are dealing in facts, for it is God’s word
    • These discoveries bring things to life for us, from out of the dust
    • They contradict the false theories of modern archaeologists who reject the Biblical record
    • They can help interested friends build their confidence in the truth of the Bible