Pillar discovered from Solomon’s First Temple

A mysterious First Temple-era archaeological find under a Palestinian orchard near Bethlehem is increasingly gaining attention — despite attempts to keep it quiet.

In February, a tour guide leading a group through an underground tunnel in the rural West Bank, not far from Jerusalem, was surprised to stumble upon the remains of a unique carved pillar. The pillar matched monumental construction from the 9th or 8th centuries BCE — the time of the First Temple in Jerusalem. That signaled the presence of an important and previously unknown structure from that period. Buried under earth and rubble, the pillar was now two yards below the surface.

The guide, Binyamin Tropper, notified antiquities officials. He was surprised when they encouraged him to leave the subject and the site alone, said Tropper, who works at an educational field school at Kibbutz Kfar Etzion. “They told me — we know about it, keep it quiet,” he said.

The remains are in the politically charged West Bank, on the outskirts of an Arab village and on land privately owned by a Palestinian — all reasons the Israeli government might deem attempting an excavation there a major political headache to be avoided. When it became clear that antiquities officials did not intend to excavate what he believed to be a potentially huge find, Tropper went to the Hebrew press, where several reports have appeared on inside pages in recent weeks. Tropper has kept the location secret to avoid attracting the attention of antiquities thieves.

Early this month, several prominent Israeli archaeologists were brought to inspect the site. Among them was Yosef Garfinkel, an archaeology professor from Hebrew University.

There is no doubt the remains are those of monumental construction from the time of the First Temple, Garfinkel said. The top of the pillar, known as a capital, is of a type known as proto-aeolic, he said. That style dates to around 2,800 years ago. The pillar marks the entrance to a carved water tunnel reaching 250 yards underground, he said, complex construction that would almost certainly have been carried out by a central government. At the time, the area was ruled by Judean kings in nearby Jerusalem.

In its scale and workmanship, Garfinkel said, the tunnel evokes another grand water project of First Temple times — the Siloam Tunnel in Jerusalem, now underneath the modern-day Arab neighborhood of Silwan. That project is believed to have been undertaken by the biblical king Hezekiah to channel water into the city ahead of an Assyrian siege in the 8th century BCE, according to an account in the biblical Book of Kings. The existence of a large water tunnel at the new site suggests the presence nearby of a large farm or palace, Garfinkel said. “The construction is first-rate,” he said. “There is definitely something important there from biblical times, the 9th or 8th centuries BCE.”

Archaeology in the Holy Land has long been caught up in modern-day politics. The Zionist movement always viewed unearthing remnants of the ancient past as a way of proving the depth of Jewish roots in the land. Palestinians, for their part, have increasingly taken to denying the existence of any ancient Jewish history and tend to condemn all archaeology conducted by Israel as an attempt to cement political control.

Palestinians would thus be unlikely to be sympathetic to the discovery of a new site of significance to Israel on land they claim for a future state.  Tropper, the guide, said he hoped interest from professional archaeologists would prod the government to conduct an excavation. The site could be a source of income for the Palestinian owners and the nearby village, he suggested. The Israel Antiquities Authority has been careful in its public responses to reports of the new finding, but did not rule out an excavation. “This is indeed an important find, which preliminary information dates to the time of the kings of Judah,” the authority said in a statement Sunday. “At the same time, it should be known that the subject is sensitive and requires treatment that is delicate and responsible. The Antiquities Authority, along with all other relevant authorities, has been dealing with this for some time in an attempt to bring about the complete excavation of the remains, and will continue its attempts to do so.”

source : thetimesofisrael.com

Jerusalem – the making of a city

This is a BBC production that aired in Europe, thus you will hear the narrator giving equal footing to the 3 major religions and at one point stating that although Christians believe every word is inspired, the narrator being in the ‘historical thinking mode’ says some of the Bible is mythological. Putting aside this caveat, the video is an excellent and useful tool in learning the history of the city, while looking at the actual places being discussed. There is a chronological timeline of historic events, some taken from the Bible. And  the BBC’s cinematography is of course excellent, with some  rare footage, including a clip from the underground, 90 feet under the site of the Holy of Holies part of where Solomon’s temple once stood (in video part 1).

Part 1

From Antiquity to Constantine

Part 2

From Islam’s rise to the 13th Century

Part 3

The divided city – 13 th Century to Present

Archaeologists uncover a fortified city in Judah from the time of King David

Read also – Archaeologists Uncover Proof of Pre-Jesus Bethlehem at the Christian Post

Source www.biblicalarchaeology.org and Hebrew University – http://www.huji.ac.il

The exciting finds just keep coming at Khirbet Qeiyafa. This unique, fortified Judahite city on the border with Philistia had a short-lived existence between 1020 and 980 B.C.E., according to carbon-dated remains excavated at the site, that places it at the dawn of the Israelite Monarchy, the time of King Saul and King David. In 2008, excavation director Yosef Garfinkel of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem revealed an ostracon with five lines of early script that had been discovered at Khirbet Qeiyafa. Among the earliest examples of alphabetic writing found in Israel, the enigmatic Qeiyafa Ostracon has been the focus of several articles in Biblical Archaeology Review, including two features in the May/June 2012 issue.

 Now even more fascinating finds from Khirbet Qeiyafa are shedding light on the crucial historical period of King David. Announced today at a press conference in Jerusalem, Garfinkel shared with the public for the first time several cultic items that were recently excavated from three “shrine rooms” at the site, including two portable shrine models, two basalt altars, two pottery libation vessels and five standing stones. According to Garfinkel and his codirector, Saar Ganor of the Israel Antiquities Authority, these finds offer the first clear archaeological evidence of cultic activity in Judah during the time of King David. The shrine models also show the existence of sophisticated royal architecture styles during that period and may shed light on design elements of Solomon’s Temple as described in the Bible.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Department of Media Relations


Hebrew University archaeologist finds the first evidence of a cult in Judah at the time of King David, with implications for Solomon’s Temple

Jerusalem, May 8, 2012—Prof. Yosef Garfinkel, the Yigal Yadin Professor of Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, announced today the discovery of objects that for the first time shed light on how a cult was organized in Judah at the time of King David. During recent archaeological excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa, a fortified city in Judah adjacent to the Valley of Elah, Garfinkel and colleagues uncovered rich assemblages of pottery, stone and metal tools, and many art and cult objects. These include three large rooms that served as cultic shrines, which in their architecture and finds correspond to the biblical description of a cult at the time of King David.

This discovery is extraordinary as it is the first time that shrines from the time of early biblical kings were uncovered. Because these shrines pre-date the construction of Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem by 30 to 40 years, they provide the first physical evidence of a cult in the time of King David, with significant implications for the fields of archaeology, history, biblical and religion studies.

Located approximately 30 km. southwest of Jerusalem in the valley of Elah, Khirbet Qeiyafa was a border city of the Kingdom of Judah opposite the Philistine city of Gath. The city, which was dated by 10 radiometric measurements (14C) done at Oxford University on burned olive pits, existed for a short period of time between ca. 1020 to 980 BCE, and was violently destroyed.

The biblical tradition presents the people of Israel as conducting a cult different from all other nations of the ancient Near East by being monotheistic and an-iconic (banning human or animal figures). However, it is not clear when these practices were formulated, if indeed during the time of the monarchy (10-6th centuries BC), or only later, in the Persian or Hellenistic eras.

The absence of cultic images of humans or animals in the three shrines provides evidence that the inhabitants of the place practiced a different cult than that of the Canaanites or the Philistines, observing a ban on graven images.

The findings at Khirbet Qeiyafa also indicate that an elaborate architectural style had developed as early as the time of King David. Such construction is typical of royal activities, thus indicating that state formation, the establishment of an elite, social level and urbanism in the region existed in the days of the early kings of Israel. These finds strengthen the historicity of the biblical tradition and its architectural description of the Palace and Temple of Solomon.

According to Prof. Garfinkel, “This is the first time that archaeologists uncovered a fortified city in Judah from the time of King David. Even in Jerusalem we do not have a clear fortified city from his period. Thus, various suggestions that completely deny the biblical tradition regarding King David and argue that he was a mythological figure, or just a leader of a small tribe, are now shown to be wrong.” Garfinkel continued, “Over the years, thousands of animal bones were found, including sheep, goats and cattle, but no pigs. Now we uncovered three cultic rooms, with various cultic paraphernalia, but not even one human or animal figurine was found. This suggests that the population of Khirbet Qeiyafa observed two biblical bans—on pork and on graven images—and thus practiced a different cult than that of the Canaanites or the Philistines.”

Description of the findings and their significance

The three shrines are part of larger building complexes. In this respect they are different from Canaanite or Philistine cults, which were practiced in temples—separate buildings dedicated only to rituals. The biblical tradition described this phenomenon in the time of King David: “He brought the ark of God from a private house in Kyriat Yearim and put it in Jerusalem in a private house” (2 Samuel 6).

The cult objects include five standing stones (Massebot), two basalt altars, two pottery libation vessels and two portable shrines. No human or animal figurines were found, suggesting the people of Khirbet Qeiyafa observed the biblical ban on graven images.

Two portable shrines (or “shrine models”) were found, one made of pottery (ca. 20 cm high) and the other of stone (35 cm high). These are boxes in the shape of temples, and could be closed by doors.

The clay shrine is decorated with an elaborate façade, including two guardian lions, two pillars, a main door, beams of the roof, folded textile and three birds standing on the roof. Two of these elements are described in Solomon’s Temple: the two pillars (Yachin and Boaz) and the textile (Parochet).

The stone shrine is made of soft limestone and painted red. Its façade is decorated by two elements. The first are seven groups of roof-beams, three planks in each. This architectural element, the “triglyph,” is known in Greek classical temples, like the Parthenon in Athens. Its appearance at Khirbet Qeiyafa is the earliest known example carved in stone, a landmark in world architecture.

The second decorative element is the recessed door. This type of doors or windows is known in the architecture of temples, palaces and royal graves in the ancient Near East. This was a typical symbol of divinity and royalty at the time.

The stone model helps us to understand obscure technical terms in the description of Solomon’s palace as described in 1 Kings 7, 1-6. The text uses the term “Slaot,” which were mistakenly understood as pillars and can now be understood as triglyphs. The text also uses the term “Sequfim”, which was usually understood as nine windows in the palace, and can now be understood as “triple recessed doorway.”

Similar triglyphs and recessed doors can be found in the description of Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 6, Verses 5, 31-33, and in the description of a temple by the prophet Ezekiel (41:6). These biblical texts are replete with obscure technical terms that have lost their original meaning over the millennia. Now, with the help of the stone model uncovered at Khirbet Qeiyafa, the biblical text is clarified. For the first time in history we have actual objects from the time of David, which can be related to monuments described in the Bible.
Source – http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/artifacts-and-the-bible/breaking-news—evidence-of-cultic-activity-in-judah-discovered-at-khirbet-qeiyafa/

Video of the Week – Herod’s and Solomon’s Temples – virtual reconstructions and the Implication of the Ark of the Covenant on the Future Temple

Click here for Previous Videos of the Week PAGE

Jerusalem Temple – Herod

First Demo of Herods temple in Jerusalem; The Reconstruction of the Herodian Sanctuary According to the Writings of Josephus Flavius. Based on the Doctoral Dissertation of Dr. Yehoshua Peleg, department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, faculty of Jewish Studies, Bar-Ilan University, Supported by the Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem

Studies, Prof. Joshua Schwartz, Director
Project Initiator and Project Director: Yehuda Vinograd
Production: Atom-mc
Temple Utensils and Priests: Shilo Vinograd
Project site: http://atom-mc.com/Clients/Temple/

Uploaded by   semnalat/primit de la Teofil Lemuel Nedelcu

Solomons Temple

A virtual reconstruction of the temple built by Solomon.

Uploaded by

Ark of the Covenant – Lost or Hidden Away

If the ark did exist, where is it now? A group of rabbis claim they believe they have found the room that was the holy of holies in a 1981 excavation, but authorities stopped their excavation and walled off the area. Another rabbi states (back in 2007) that out of the 93 categories of vessels required for use at the Temple, they have now produced 60 of them based on the complicated nuances of Jewish law. The ark however, will not be reproduced as they believe it is sitting under the Al Aqsa mosque in the room they have discovered in the archaeological dig at that site in 1981.

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