Posts Tagged ‘biblical archaeology’

Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 8.32.51 PM.pngThe Tower of Babel is recorded in Genesis 11:1-9.  Critical scholars have traditionally viewed this story as mythical and not historical. There just seemed to not be enough corroborating evidence.

But, recently the Smithsonian Channel’s show titled Secrets aired its first episode of season four titled “The Tower of Babel” which seemingly supports the biblical record.

The episode focused on the Tower of Babel Stele (i.e., stone tablet) from the Schøyen Collection which is the private collection of Norwegian businessman Martin Schøyen. Joseph M. Holden, author of The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Biblestates that “according to most critical scholars, this event [i.e., the Tower of Babel] found in Scripture is mythical and certainly could not have taken place in Mesopotamia, where it is said to have occurred.  Originally, support for this notion was found in the fact that no extra-biblical Mesopotamian record existed that documented such an incredible event.” That is until, apparently, now:

 

On the website of the Schøyen Collection the commentary section on the Tower of Babel Stele states: “Here we have for the first time an illustration contemporary with Nebuchadnezzar II’s restoring and enlargement of the Tower of Babel, and with a caption making the identity absolutely sure. We also have the building plans, as well as a short account of the reconstruction process.”  Apparently the ziggurat in Bablyon was originally built during the time of Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC).

The Secrets episode on the Smithsonian Channel states that there is “some very compelling evidence the Tower of Babel was real.”  Professor Andrew R. George, featured in the episode and the professor of Babylonian history at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, states that “This is a very strong piece of evidence that the tower of Babel story was inspired by this real building.”

Related Articles on The Tower of Babel Stele:

Evidence for Bible’s Tower of Babel Discovered” | The Christian Post May 9, 2017

Ancient Babylonian Tablet Provides Compelling Evidence that the Tower of Babel DID Exist” | Ancient Origins May 8, 2017

Smithsonian Channel Spotlights Stone Tablet Believed to Confirm Biblical Tower of Babel” | Christian News Network May 7, 2017

Tower of Babel Discovered? Ancient Tablet Describes Mesopotamian Structure Built By ‘Multitudes’ ” | Breaking Israel News May 8, 2017

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Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

50 People in the Old Testament Confirmed Archaeologically

History Has Gone to the Toilets-The Ancient Latrine of Lachish

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

12th Dead Sea Scroll Cave Found!

 

 

 

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dssA twelfth cave has been found!  Craig Evans, of Houston Baptist University reports its importance:

The last Dead Sea Scrolls cave, linked to the ruins on the marl shelf at the mouth of Wadi Qumran, was discovered in 1956, bringing the total number of caves to eleven — eleven caves containing the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, ceramic jars, and a number of other artifacts.

For sixty years archaeologists and looters have been searching for a twelfth cave. Would another one ever be found? Most didn’t think so. This is what makes the announcement from Hebrew University so astounding: A twelfth cave has been discovered!

In 1947 one of the most significant archaeological discoveries ever found was the Dead Sea Scrolls.  This short video is a great summary of the discovery:

 

Eleven caves were discovered containing artifacts, some included scrolls of the Hebrew Scripture (i.e. The Old Testament) and other writings, and some did not.  This discovery, the first in over 60 years to discover a new scroll cave and to be properly excavated, apparently contained at one time Dead Sea scrolls.  Christian Post reporter Stoyan Zaimov, writes:

Since being discovered in a series of findings between 1947 and 1956, nearly 900 manuscripts and thousands of fragments containing biblical text, written on animal skin and papyrus in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, have been analyzed by researchers.

Dov Smith at Phys.org reports:

Numerous storage jars and lids from the Second Temple period were found hidden in niches along the walls of the cave and deep inside a long tunnel at its rear. The jars were all broken and their contents removed, and the discovery towards the end of the excavation of a pair of iron pickaxe heads from the 1950s (stored within the tunnel for later use) proves the cave was looted.

 

Johnston and Evans fills in the backstory of the Dead Sea Scrolls at FoxNews.com:

Bedouin shepherds in a cave near Khirbet Qumran made this amazing discovery in 1947, about one mile inland from the western shore of the Dead Sea.

By 1956, a total of eleven caves had been found at Qumran; however, no caves have been discovered since, until now.

Here are some short videos on this discovery:

 

 

 

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Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

50 People in the Old Testament Confirmed Archaeologically

History Has Gone to the Toilets-The Ancient Latrine of Lachish

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

 

Jehu strikes down the prophets of Baal.  “So when they put them to the sword, the guard and the officers cast them out and went into the inner room of the house of Baal and they brought out the pillar that was in the house of Baal and burned it.  And they demolished the pillar of Baal, and demolished the house of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day.” (2 Kings 10:25-27)

Archaeologists of the Israeli Antiquities Authority have found that toilet.  As John Stonestreet reports for his podcast on Breakpoint:

Archaeologists found a “large room that appears to have been a shrine. The room contained two four-horned altars, whose horns had been intentionally damaged.” Excavatiolachish-latrinen leader Sa’ar Ganor “believes that the destroyed altars corroborate biblical references to King Hezekiah’s reforms: his efforts to centralize worship in Jerusalem and abolish it elsewhere.”  As if this weren’t exciting enough, Ganor and his team found something else in the room: a “seat carved of stone with a hole in the center.” In other words, a toilet.

The biblical narrative as recorded in 2 Kings, King Hezekiah oversaw an effort to get rid of the foreign religious practices such as Baal and idol worship that had started up in Judah.  2 Kings 18:4 stated that “He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles.”

According to Richard Gray at The Daily Mail:

Tests at the site showed that while the toilet stone appears to have been installed to desecrate the shrine, it was never actually used.

Archaeologists instead believe it had been placed there symbolically and the inner sanctum of the shrine was sealed shut.

This discovery, along with other recent discoveries, confirms  a great deal of what scripture is telling us about King Hezekiah and his reforms.

Below are some quick videos on the dig site at Lachish and the discovery of the latrine:

 

 

Resources:

The Wrong Kind of Throne” by Richard Gray, Dailymail.com, Sept 28, 2016

Ancient City Gate and Shrine from Hebrew Bible Uncovered” by Laura Geggel, LIveScience, Sept 28, 2016

No Pooh-Poohing Biblical History” by John Stonestreet, Breakpoint Commentaries, Oct 13, 2016

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Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

Possibly the first Philistine cemetery has been discovered at Ashkelon, Israel.  They have been excavating this known Philistine city for decades, but have just recently uncovered a burial site which could answer many questions concerning the origins and life of the Philistines, the biblical archenemy of the Israelites.  Ashkelon, was a major Philistine city in the ancient world dating from the 12th to the 7th centuries B. C.  Over 200 individuals have been discovered in this cemetery.  They began digging is Ashkelon in 1985 and this discovery is a nice end cap to the several decade long expedition.

Here is a quick video on the discovery:

 

Some articles on the discovery:

“Discovery of Philistine Cemetery May Solve Biblical Mystery,” National Geographic | July 10, 2016

Possibly the first discovery of its times National Geographic reports:

An unrivaled discovery on the southern coast of Israel may enable archaeologists to finally unravel the origins of one of the most notorious and enigmatic peoples of the Hebrew Bible: the Philistines.

The discovery of a large cemetery outside the walls of ancient Ashkelon, a major city of the Philistines between the 12th and 7th centuries B.C., is the first of its kind in the history of archaeological investigation in the region.

“First-Ever Philistine Cemetery Unearthed at Ashkelon,” Bible History Daily | July 10, 2016

Five known Philistine cities have been discovered, revealing artifacts, but this discovery reveals the Philistines themselves:

Now Ashkelon has yielded the Philistines themselves.

Directed by Lawrence E. Stager, Dorot Professor of the Archaeology of Israel, Emeritus, at Harvard University, and Daniel M. Master, Professor of Archaeology at Wheaton College, the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon discovered the Iron Age cemetery in 2013 and began excavating it extensively in 2014. Three seasons of significant investigation have revealed previously unknown details of the Philistines in death—and life. First of all, the cemetery provides a window into Philistine burial practices.

“Story of Philistines Could be Reshaped by Ancient Cemetery,” The New York Times | July 10, 2015

This site has seemingly been undisturbed for several millennia according the the NYT:

After more than 30 years of excavating the remains of a Philistine city, a team of archaeologists says it believes it has found a cemetery belonging to the ancient people on the outskirts of Ashkelon in Israel.

The team has unearthed skeletons and artifacts that it suspects had rested for more than 3,000 years in the cemetery, potentially offering clues to the Philistines’ lifestyle and perhaps providing some answers to the mysteries of where the Philistines came from. Much has remained unknown about their origins.

“When we found this cemetery right next to a Philistine city, we knew we had it,” said Daniel Master, an archaeologist from Wheaton College in Illinois. “We have the first Philistine cemetery that’s ever been discovered.”

Any great discovery is not without its criticism. Questions about it being the first discovery is under discussion.  Live Science reports:

[E]xperts not affiliated with the excavations are not yet convinced of the claim, saying that the identity of the people buried at the Ashkelon cemetery is not clear-cut and the finding itself has not been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Further muddying the waters, other burials found in known Philistine cities, though never confirmed, also have dibs on the title of “first-discovered Philistine cemetery.”

“First Ever? Discovery of Philistine Cemetery Draws Criticism” Live Science | July 14, 2016

Another quick video on the discovery from CNN:

Here are other posts I have reported on concerning biblical archaeology:

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla