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May 11, 2010May 11, 2010  0 comments  Geography

While working on Jerusalem’s present day water infrastructure, workers uncovered a section of the city’s ancient aqueduct and a 14th century bridge near Sultan’s Pool, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Tuesday.

The aqueduct conveyed water to the Temple Mount during Solomon’s time.

“The bridge, which could still be seen at the end of the 19th century and appears in old photographs, was covered over during the 20th century,” said Yehiel Zelinger, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. “We were thrilled when it suddenly reappeared in all its grandeur during the course of the archaeological excavations.”

Zelinger explained that the aqueduct actually began in Bethlehem at Solomon’s Pools and ended at the Temple Mount cutting through the neighborhood today known as Yemin Moshe, across from Mount Zion. Its route has been documented by scholars. The bridge, Zelinger said, was built in order “to maintain the elevation of the path along which the water flowed.”

“Two of the original nine arches that were in the bridge were currently excavated to their full height of about 3 meters,” Zelinger said.

jerusalem, archaeology, aqueductThe bridge, rebuilt in 1320 by Sultan Nasser al-Din Muhammed Ibn Qalawun according to an inscription on the bridge, was constructed in order to replace a bridge from the time of the Second Temple period.

The Israel Antiquities Authority and Nature and Parks Authority plans to expose the entire length of the bridge and integrate it in the framework of the overall development of the Sultan’s Pool, as part of underscoring the importance of the water supply to Jerusalem in ancient times.

The Gihon Corporation, name for Jerusalem’s ancient source of water, is assisting in funding the excavations.


By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah

Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy  Land.


August 8, 2010August 8, 2010  0 comments  Biblical Archaeology

While not the exact temple destroyed by Samson, archaeologists in Israel have uncovered a Philistine temple that dates back to the 10th century BC that could typify the type of structure Samson brought down with his God-given supernatural strength as told in Judges 16.
 
Prof. Aren Maeir of Bar Ilan University said he and his team of international volunteers have discovered a Philistine temple and a number of ritual items dating back to the Iron Age.

“We found a structure that we have been slowly exposing over the last few seasons,” Maeir told Travelujah, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. “What is unique about this temple is there are two large pillar bases situated 2 meters away from each other. That immediately rings the bell of the story of Samson.”

The temple of Dagon, the one Samson knocked over, was located in present-day Gaza, Maeir said. Finding this temple, however, is reminiscent of the time of Samson and the biblical narrative.

“It adds flesh on the bones or color on the story to the biblical story,” he said. “Even if you don’t believe if it happened ... the story resonates cultural authenticity (through the archaeology).”

The excavations at Tel Zafit National Park have been ongoing for 15 years. This year, the team also found evidence of an earthquake in the 8th century BC, possibly the one mentioned in the Book of Amos.

“In several parts of the excavation we found buildings that collapsed,” Maeir said.

holy land, archaeology philistine, templeHe explained how an exposed brick wall, more than 2 meters high, was toppled over. Seismologists estimate that the energy for such a fall can only be caused by a major earthquake. The destruction of the wall was dated in the mid-8th century BC and coincides with the earthquake mentioned in Amos 1:1.

Excavations have also uncovered evidence of the destruction of the city by King Hazael of Damascus, around 830 BC, as mentioned in 2 Kings 12, as well as evidence of the first Philistine settlement in Canaan, circa 1200 BC, and different levels of the Canaanite city of Gath.

The park is located in the southern coastal plain of Israel, between Jerusalem and Ashkelon.  It is open to visitors and includes a nature trail with a view to half of country, archaeology finds and a window into the nature of land of Israel.

The Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project is a long-term investigation aimed at studying the archaeology and history of one of the most important sites in Israel. It is one of the largest ancient ruin mounds in Israel and was settled almost continuously from the 5th century BC until modern times. Maeir blogs about the findings and other items at gath.wordpress.com.
 
Participants in this summer's dig hail from the US, Canada, Australia, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, UK, Holland, Poland, and Israel.  Maier said volunteers are welcome to join the dig every summer.

“It is an enjoyable, enriching experience,” he said. “In the 14 years I’ve been doing this, of the hundreds of volunteers that have come through, I have yet to hear someone say, ‘I did not enjoy this.’”

For more information on how you can volunteer, visit the Tell es-Safi/Gath website.


By Nicole Jansezian, Travelujah


Nicole Jansezian writes for Travelujah.com, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. Travelujah is a vibrant online community offering high quality Christian content, user and expert blogs, travel tours and planning services for people interested in connecting with or traveling to the Holy  Land.


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