Lebanese Cedar—The Prized Tree of Ancient Woodworking From Solomon’s Temple to the Jesus Boat, the Biblical world was built of cedar

Lebanese Cedar—The Prized Tree of Ancient Woodworking From Solomon’s Temple to the Jesus Boat, the Biblical world was built of cedar
In the Biblical world, Lebanese cedar (Cedrus libani) trees were highly sought after as an excellent source of timber for ancient woodworking. The wood’s high quality, pleasant scent and resistance to both rot and insects made it a popular building material for temples, palaces and seagoing vessels, from Solomon’s famed Temple to the so-called “Jesus Boat” of the first century C.E. Today, Lebanese cedar trees grow mostly in Lebanon and southern Turkey, with a few found in Cyprus and Syria. As the Bible makes clear, the valuable wood had to be imported into ancient Israel.
The Phoenician king Hiram of Tyre sent Lebanese cedar, carpenters and masons to Jerusalem to build a palace for King David (2 Samuel 5:11). Likewise, Hiram provided cedars and artisans to King Solomon for the construction of his own palace as well as the Temple in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 2…

A Biblical Altar on Mt. Ebal and Other Israelite Footprints in the Jordan Valley?

Potential archaeological evidence of the Israelites entering the Promised Land
Megan Sauter • 06/24/2018
Archaeological sites in the shape of a foot or sandal—dated to the 13th or 12th century B.C.E.—have been found throughout the Jordan Valley. For decades, archaeologists have debated the purpose of these sites and the identity of their builders—with some suggesting that these sites were built by the Israelites entering the Promised Land and settling it. Ralph K. Hawkins, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Averett University, addresses these varying interpretations in his article “Israelite Footprints: Has Adam Zertal Found the Biblical Altar on Mt. Ebal and the Footprints of the Israelites Settling the Promised Land?” in the March/April 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.
During the course of the Manasseh Hill Country Survey, the late Adam Zertal and his team discovered a half dozen sites in the Jordan Valley with foot-shaped enclosure walls. The size of these site…

Miniature Writing on Ancient Amulets, Ketef Hinnom inscriptions reveal the power of hidden writing

Robin Ngo • 01/29/2018
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
—Numbers 6:24–26
In 1979 during the excavation of a late Iron Age (seventh century B.C.E.) tomb at the funerary site of Ketef Hinnom outside of Jerusalem, archaeologist Gabriel Barkay uncovered two small silver scrolls—no bigger than the diameter of a quarter—that were originally worn as amulets around the neck. When researchers from the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, unrolled the sheets of silver, they detected tiny lines of the ancient Hebrew script inscribed on them. High-resolution photos of the miniature writing were taken in 1994 by the West Semitic Research Project at the University of Southern California, giving researchers the opportunity to study and decipher the Hebrew text on the ancient amulets. When they finally read the arcane writing, the researchers discovered that the …

The Doorways of Solomon’s Temple

King Solomon’s Temple was resplendent. Described in 1 Kings 6–7, the temple was divided into three parts: the forecourt (ulam), the outer sanctum (heikhal) and the inner shrine (devir), also known as the Holy of Holies. Built of stone and roofed with wooden beams, Solomon’s Temple was intricately ornamented. Its interior walls and floors were lined with wooden boards and covered in gold. It took seven years to complete the temple and its furnishings.

Despite the Biblical description and archaeological parallels, there are still some mysteries about Solomon’s Temple. For example, 1 Kings 6:31 describes the doors between the outer sanctum and the inner shrine of Solomon’s Temple as having five mezuzot (the plural form of mezuzah). What is a mezuzah? In the Bible, mezuzah is normally translated as “doorpost.” However, in the context of Solomon’s Temple, doors with five doorposts do not make sense.

Madeleine Mumcuoglu and Yosef Garfinkel explore this enigma in “The Puzzl…

Where Noah Landed?

Mount Ararat (where Noah's Ark landed)
From Strata in the November/December 2014 issue of BAR
Biblical Archaeology Society Staff • 05/27/2018
Still another group is looking for Mt. Ararat, where the Bible says Noah landed after the flood. This group is looking to confirm the tradition that nearby Mt. Cudi (Judi Dagh) is really Mt. Ararat, as recorded in the Quran, Sura 11.44.
They have not uncovered much scientific evidence to date, but they do have an intriguing Assyrian relief, which may explain why a local tradition regards Mt. Cudi as Mt. Ararat.
This photo was taken some months ago on the slopes of Mt. Cudi near the Turkish village of Sah. The figure, who has not yet been identified, dates to a period earlier than Sennacherib (who ruled 705–681 B.C.); there is no accompanying inscription. He has his right hand raised in a gesture of reverence and holds a staff of office in his left hand.
Alan Millard, Emeritus Rankin Professor of Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages at the Un…

Sword of Saint Peter.

Sword of Saint Peter.
The Sword of Saint Peter (Polish: Miecz świętego Piotra) is allegedly the sword with which the Apostle Peter cut off the right ear of the high priest's servant at the time of Jesus' arrest in Gethsemane.
The sword is wide-tipped, similar in shape to a dussack or machete. It is in the Poznań Archdiocesan Museum.
An exact copy of the sword, made by Bogdan Puchalski, is displayed on the wall of the Poznań Archcathedral Basilica.
The sword is mentioned for the first time in the 1609 Vitae Episcoporum Posnaniensium of Jan Długosz as being the original Roman sword (Gladius) used by Saint Peter in the Gospels, or a direct copy made for Pope Stephen VII. However, at that time Stephen was already dead, and the current pope was John XIII.
The sword arrived in Poznań in 968 as a gift from John XIII for either Bishop Jordan or Duke Mieszko I. The Archdeacon of Poznań Cathedral in 1699 wrote about the sword, describing it as a part of St. Peter's sword brought t…

Rare ancient Hebrew scroll deciphered

20 Jul 2015 ​Modern technologies made it possible for the first time to read the contents of a burnt scroll that was found forty five years ago in archaeological excavations at Ein Gedi, on the western shore of the Dead Sea. (Communicated by the Israel Antiquities Authority Spokesperson)

For the first time, advanced technologies made it possible to read parts of a scroll that was completely burnt c. 1,500 years, inside the Holy Ark of the synagogue at Ein Gedi. At the end of extremely challenging efforts, which lasted over a year, the scientists and researchers were amazed to see verses from the beginning of the Book of Leviticus, suddenly coming back to life.

The rare find was presented today (Monday, July 20 2015) at a press conference in Jerusalem, attended by Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev and Israel Antiquities Authority Director Israel Hasson.

The parchment scroll was unearthed in 1970 in archaeological excavations in the synagogue at Ein Gedi, headed by…