A Pair of Holy Land Discoveries

It’s amazing that new things are still emerging from Holy Land sites and discoveries.

After a hundred years of excavations at Tel Megiddo, archaeologists have just discovered a hidden vessel containing gold and silver jewelry wrapped in cloth.  The objects date from about 1100BC, and include a unique gold earring decorated with either ibex or wild goats. The objects may be of Egyptian origin, and were probably from the private home of a Canaanite. The vessel was quite obviously hidden by the owners to prevent discovery (and succeeded for a few thousand years, and following countless excavations), and may have been left behind during the area’s many conflicts.

A “tel” is an area that has been built into a mound over many, many years of occupation and rebuilding. There are more than two dozen layers of occupation at Tel Megiddo stretching back over 3000 years. Megiddo is mentioned multiple times in the Bible, and was the site of various battles, ancient and modern.

The find is an important one:

The assortment of jewelry is also out of the ordinary, notes [Ph.D. candidate Eran Arie]. Though the collection includes a number of lunette (moon-shaped) earrings of common Canaanite origin, researchers found an abundance of gold items in the collection and a number of beads made from carnelian, which was frequently used in the making of Egyptian jewellery in the same period. This points to a strong Egyptian connection, whether in influence or origin. Such a connection would not be surprising, according to Prof. Cline, who stated that interactions between Egypt and Megiddo are known to have taken place during both the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.

The most notable piece, the researchers agree, is a gold earring with a pattern of molded wild goats. “For unique items, we work to find parallels to help place the items in their correct cultural and chronological settings, but in this case we still haven’t found anything,” say the researchers.

New Discoveries from Qumran

The other story has to do with the Dead Sea Scrolls. If you were wondering if they still have any surprises in store after all this time, the answer is yes.

For years, it was believed that the DSS fragments include pieces of every Biblical text with the exception of Nehemiah and Esther.

Well, we can reduce that to just Esther now. Torleif Elgvin of Evangelical Lutheran University College in Oslo has announced that he has discovered a piece of Nehemiah among some two dozen previously unpublished fragments. The pieces are from from Qumran Cave 4, Bar-Kokhba caves, and Wadi ed-Daliyeh, and will appear in a forthcoming book called Gleanings from the Caves.

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About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.