Monthly Archives: November 2013

Just doing a little road work

When I was a kid in North Alabama I found Indian arrowheads in the cotton fields when we hoed and picked cotton. (Yes, I really did!) The only Indian I ever heard of (on the radio) was Tonto.

In Israel, ancient ruins are discovered as foundations are dug for new buildings or roads are being widened. It happened recently along Highway 38 at Eshtaol, the area where Samson grew up (physically) (Judges 13:24-25). Eshtaol is located about 10 miles west of Jerusalem as one approaches the Sorek Valley and Beth Shemesh. I have stopped several times for gas and water at the station on the left side of the highway.

An aerial view of the large excavation along Highway 38. Photo: Sky View Company, courtesy of the IAA.

An aerial view of the large excavation along Highway 38. Photograph: Sky View Company, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Archaeologists working on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority exposed a site belonging to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period. Buildings belonging to the end of the Chalcolithic period exposed a large standing stone (massebah) 51 inches high. The archaeologists said,

“The standing stone was smoothed and worked on all six of its sides, and was erected with one of its sides facing east. This unique find alludes to the presence of a cultic temple at the site”.  …  “In the past numerous manifestations have been found of the cultic practice that existed in the Chalcolithic period; however, from the research we know of only a few temples at ‘En Gedi and at Teleilat Ghassul in Transjordan”.

A Chalcolithic period building and the standing stone (massebah) positioned at the end of it. Photo: Assaf Peretz, courtesy IAA.

A Chalcolithic period building and the standing stone (massebah) positioned at the end of it. Photo: Assaf Peretz, courtesy IAA.

The IAA news release is available here. The photos we have used here, and four others, are available here. Several Israeli papers have articles about the find, including the one in Arutz Sheva here.

Todd Bolen discussed the identification of Eshtaol here.

Advertisements

Canaanite Wine Cellar discovered at Tel Kabri

Tel Kabri is a Canaanite site located a few miles east of Nahariya in the Plain of Akko in northern Israel. Excavations have been conducted at the site for several years under the direction of Prof. Eric H. Cline of Washington University and scholars from the University of Haifa, Israel.

A total of forty clay jars were discovered. Each have a capacity of 13 gallons. You may read more about the discovery here and here.

Wine jars at Tel Kabri. Credit: Prof. Eric H. Cline & Tel Kabri Excavation.

Wine jars at Tel Kabri. Credit: Prof. Eric H. Cline and the Tel Kabri Excavation.

The photo below shows a room in the Canaanite palace at Tel Kbri. The excavators date this structure to 1700 B.C.

Wine cellar at Tel Kabri. Credit: Prof. Eric H. Cline and Tel Kabri Excavation.

Wine cellar at Tel Kabri. Credit: Prof. Eric H. Cline and the Tel Kabri Excavation.

This discovery reminds us of the wine cellars discovered at El-Jib (Gibeon) by James Pritchard in 1959. Sixty-three cellars with a possible capacity of 25,000 gallons were excavated (Pritchard, Gibeon, 79-99).

HT: Joseph Lauer

Did you know C. S. Lewis died Nov. 22, 1963?

Recently I have been reading C. S. Lewis – A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet by Alister McGrath. He says that Warnie found his brother dead at the foot of his bed at 5:30 p.m. [in Oxford], “Friday, 22 November 1963.” Then comes this paragraph:

At that same time, President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade left Dallas’s Love Field Airport, beginning its journey downtown. An hour later, Kennedy was fatally wounded by a sniper. He was pronounced dead at Parkland Memorial Hospital. Media reports of Lewis’s death were completely overshadowed by the substantially more significant tragedy that unfolded that day in Dallas.

C. S. Lewis was buried in the churchyard of Holy Trinity, Headington Quarry, Oxford after a private, and very small service. Warnie chose a phrase from a Shakespearean calendar that was in their home back in Belfast at the time of their mother’s death in August 1908: “Men must endure their going hence.” The quotation is from Shakespeare’s King Lear.

The grave of C. S. Lewis. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The grave of C. S. Lewis. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

McAlister suggests that a better epitaph might be one from Lewis’s own words,

a seed patiently waiting in the earth: waiting to come up a flower in the Gardner’s good time, up into the real world, the real waking. I suppose that our whole present life, looked back on from there, will seem only a drowsy half-waking. We are here in the land of dreams. But cock-crow is coming.

C. S. Lewis is appreciated by many for the Chronicles of Narnia. Others have found his popular apologetic writings helpful. More information, including photos, about sites associated with Lewis is available here.

Where were you on November 22, 1963?

Most of us who were old enough to remember know exactly where were were and what we were doing the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

I was in a speaking engagement that week in Prescott, Arizona. David Curtis, a college friend, was the minister there at the time and he wanted to take me to see Montezuma Castle and Camp Verde, Arizona. This was an hour’s trip from Prescott. We could easily make the trip, have a little time to visit the sites, and be back in time for the evening service.

Montezuma Castle National Monument. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins, May, 2003.

Montezuma Castle National Monument. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins, May, 2003.

In Camp Verde we visited a small museum with artifacts illustration life about time shortly after the Civil War. We saw a framed newspaper front page on the wall with some wording like “President Dead.” It was about Abraham Lincoln. We stopped at a store in the center of the little town to get some refreshments. Someone came in and said, “Did you hear about the president?” Then another person said something similar. We went along by saying we had heard. We thought it was some of the local promotion.

After a few minutes someone mentioned specifically that Kennedy has been shot in Dallas. Well, you know that we had the car radio on all the way back to Prescott.

In 2003 my wife and I visited the same area. The old newspaper article was no longer displayed on the wall of the little museum. I asked the lady who showed us around about it. She confirmed that it had been there, but that she did not know where it was now (2003).

Where were you that fateful day?

Damage Reported at Mari in Syria

The French archaeologist André Parrot (1901-1980) carried out several excavations at Mari between 1933 and 1960. Having read about recent damage to the ancient buildings of Mari, I wanted to share a couple of photos of artifacts from the site.

The first statue is of the Iku-Shamagan, King of Mari. It dates to about 2650 B.C. and is from the temple of Ishtar in Mari. The statue is about 47 inches high and was displayed in the Damascus Museum in 2002 when I made this photograph.

King of Mari statue in Damascus Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins 2002.

Iku-Shamagan, King of Mari, praying. Statue in Damascus Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins 2002.

The small (about 20 inches high) statue of Ebih-II, the superintendent of Mari, was discovered in the temple of Ishtar. It dates to the period of about 2900-2750 B.C. and is made of gypsum, with eyes of shells and lapis lazuil. This artifact, along with several others, is displayed in the Louvre.

Attendant to Ebih II of Mari. Louvre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Statue of Ebih II superintendent of Mari. Louvre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Mari is located far east in Syria near the Euphrates River. The city was located on the main route between Assyria and Babylon. If Abraham first lived in south Mesopotamia then he might have passed this way on the trip to Haran (Genesis 11:27 – 12:5).

Project Syrian Archaeology has some photos of poor quality showing damage to historical sites at their Facebook page here.

Caesarea Maritima – the Lower Palace

A few columns of the Palace of the Procurators have been restored at Caesarea. The late Jerome Murphy-O’Connor describes the lower level of the Palace.

From the west colonnade one can look down to the sea shore at a point where its dominant feature is a rectangular rock-cut pool (35 x 18). There are channels to the sea on both sides. A square statue base can be discerned in the middle. The colonnaded pool was originally the centerpiece of a two-storey building (83 x 51 m) which surrounded it on all sides. Presumably it was here that the Roman procurators lived. Wave action and the activities of stone robbers have ensured that virtually nothing remains. A staircase in the north-east corner gave access to the upper level. (The Holy Land, Fifth Edition, p. 243)

Our photo below shows this area. In the foreground you will see portions of some mosaics.

The lower level of the Place of the Procurators. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The lower level of the Place of the Procurators. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This was not a bad place for the Roman procurators to live a luxurious life while the Apostle Paul was held in custody nearby (Acts 23:23 – 26:32).

Procurators associated with Caesarea in the New Testament include…

  • Pilate (A.D. 26-26) – John 18, et al.
  • Felix (A.D. 52-59) – Acts 23-25
  • Festus (A.D. 59-61) – Acts 24-26

The Jewish rulers associated with Caesarea include…

  • Herod the king [Agrippa I] (A.D. 37-44) – Acts 12
  • Herod Agrippa II (lived A.D. 27-100) – Acts 25-26

The Pool of Siloam like you have never seen it

Elie, my friend and guide in Israel, sent me a photo just a few minutes ago that he made Sunday at the pool of Siloam.

Water in the pool of Siloam due to a clogged drain. Photo: Elie Ben-Meir

Water in the pool of Siloam due to a clogged channel. Photo: Eliemelech Ben-Meir

Here is the explanation Elie gave:

Thought you might enjoy this shot of the pool. We couldn’t get in because of a clog in the channel that caused the pool to fill up and flood! We had to walk around and come in from the top past Ibrahim Siams antiquities shop and walk down the wooden stairs!