O comoară de 3.200 de ani, descoperită într-un oraş biblic – Israel Dig Unearths Ancient Treasure in a Biblical city

SURSA – Semnele Timpului

Săpăturile arheologice desfăşurate în oraşul Abel Bet Maaca (Israel) au scos la iveală o comoară antică, cu o vechime de 3.200 de ani, alcătuită din lingouri de argint şi bijuterii.

Orasul antic este menţionat de patru ori în Vechiul Testament din Biblie. Potrivit Scripturii, în 1 Împărați 15, versetul 29, se vorbeşte despre un asediu al asirienilor asupra evreilor: „Pe vremea lui Pecah, împăratul lui Israel, a venit Tiglat-Pileser, împăratul Asiriei, şi a luat Iionul, Abel-Bet-Maaca, Ianoah, Chedeş, Haţor, Galaad şi Galileia, toată ţara lui Neftali, şi pe locuitori i-a dus în prinsoare în Asiria.”

Obiectele au fost descoperite într-un urcior de lut şi se crede că fuseseră obiecte de schimb în scop comercial înainte de apariţia banilor. Ceea ce rămâne neclar este plasarea urciorului la vedere şi nu ascunderea lor într-o firidă, aşa cum ar fi fost normal. De asemenea, nu se cunoaşte motivul pentru care proprietarii nu s-au întors să revendice obiectele de valoare.

Ceea ce se ştie însă e că descoperirea este una cu o „semnificaţie biblică”, după cum afirmă arheologul Robert Mullins, care a descoperit artefactele. Este posibil ca oraşul să fi fost o cetate de scăpare pentru evrei. De aceea, obiectele rămase în urmă ar fi martorul unei cuceriri a oraşului de către armata asiriană, episod al cărui martor stă o inscripţie pe o rămăşiţă a porţii oraşului, descoperită tot recent.

În prezent, echipa de arheologi continuă excavările pentru a afla mai multe informaţii legate de cei care au locuit ultima dată în regiune, se arată în comunicatul de presă.

Archaeologists excavating the city of Abel Beth Maacah in northern Israel have discovered a silver treasure in a jug, dating back 3,200 years. Credit: Photo by Gabi Laron

To learn more about the Abel Beth Maacah excavation:
Mullins at Abel Beth Maacah video
Dig updates
Mullin’s dig reflections.
Sursa – http://www.livescience.com

Israel Dig Unearths Ancient Treasure

A jug containing silver earrings and ingots has been discovered at the ancient biblical city of Abel Beth Maacah in Israel.

Found to the north of a massive structure that may be a tower, the jug and its treasure appear to date back to about 3,200 years ago, long before minted coins were invented, archaeologists said. Curiously, they found no sign that the treasure was hidden, and no one appears to have gone back for it, they added.

„We found it in a small jug leaning against a wall, apparently on a dirt floor,” said researchers Robert Mullins, Nava Panitz-Cohen and Ruhama Bonfil in an email to Live Science. „It didn’t seem to have been deliberately hidden in a niche or any other hidey-hole.”

Panitz-Cohen and Mullins are co-directors of an excavation at the ancient city in Israel that found the treasure last summer, and Bonfil is the excavation surveyor and researcher. They published their initial findings recently in the journal Strata.

Why the treasure was not retrieved, and apparently not even hidden, is a mystery. „Perhaps the family needed to leave their home suddenly and hoped to return to retrieve this jug and its contents, but were unable to,” the researchers said. Afterward, „this area was covered by accumulating debris and earth over the centuries, [and] no one knew that the treasure was there,” they added.

The „massive structure,” as the researchers called it in their journal article, may be a tower that overlooked the Huleh Valley. At some point, the structure fell out of use, and the area to the north of it was used for homes. The treasure may date to that time.

The site, now called Tell Abil el-Qameh,was first identified as Abel Beth Maacah in the 19th century based on its location and historical accounts, although little excavation has been done there until now.

Silver treasure

When the treasure was discovered, the silver was bunched together in what looked like a big ball. After conservator Mimi Lavi, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology, cleaned the ancient silver, the team saw that it consisted of five hoop earrings.

They also found an enigmatic silver object that looks like a twisted knot, as well as several ingots or scrap pieces of silver that would have been used for monetary transactions. At the time, the treasure was abandoned, minted coins had not been invented and the pieces of silver would have been used for trade.

The earrings could have been worn by men as well as women, the researchers noted. „We know from ancient iconography and from burials that men also wore jewelry, so it is possible that these were not just female ornaments,” the researchers said.

A period of collapse

The period around 3,200 years ago was a time when many cities were destroyed and some civilizations collapsed. Ancient records indicate an enigmatic group called the „Sea People” descended on the Middle East, leading to chaos in the region, although they do not appear to have settled in the area of Abel Beth Maacah.

Archaeologists are unsure how these events affected Abel Beth Maacah or if they have any bearing on the silver treasure.

„It seems most likely that Canaanites were ‘in charge’ — or at least were the main inhabitants” — of Abel Beth Maacah, the researchers said. If the city did suffer any destruction, it could have been abandoned for a time and perhaps repopulated by returning Canaanites or by Israelite tribes. „Hopefully, next season, we will be closer to some answers,” the researchers said of their forthcoming dig at the site.

Biblical city

The city was used for a long period of time after the silver treasure was abandoned and is mentioned several times in the Hebrew Bible.

According to scripture, a Benjaminite named Sheba ben Bichri, who was rebelling against King David, took refuge in the city. A man named Joab pursued him there and laid siege. A „wise woman,” as the text calls her, protested this action, saying Abel Beth Maacah is part of Israel.

„We are the peaceful and faithful in Israel. You are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why do you want to swallow up the Lord’s inheritance?” (From 2 Samuel 20:14-22, New International Version)

The siege ended when the city’s inhabitants killed the rebel and threw his head from the wall. Some scholars believe that King David would have lived about 3,000 years ago, roughly two centuries after the silver treasure was abandoned. While the biblical story doesn’t shed light on why the treasure was abandoned, it illustrates the importance of the city in the time to come.

Mullins is also a professor at Azusa Pacific University, and Panitz-Cohen and Bonfil are with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology.

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