The IAA announced today that a miqveh, or ritual bath, dating to the Second Temple Period was recently discovered near Jerusalem’s Western Wall.
In a statement released Wednesday, the authority said the ritual bath was found inside a building containing three halls dating back to the Second Temple period, not far from the Western Wall.
The edifice is built of delicately dressed ashlar stones and the architecture is similar to compounds King Herod built on the Temple Mount, and Hebron’s Cave of Patriarchs, the authority said.
(Photo snaked from Jim West)
Via Reuters. Archaeologists, led by University of Tubingen professor Ernst Pernicka, have found a burial dated by nearby pottery fragments to around 1200 BCE. Radiocarbon dating is expected to confirm that dating. Pernicka believes the location of the burial (near a mote) supports a larger perimeter for the city of Troy than previously theorized. Interesting stuff.
Via Jim West. The IAA is reporting here that a synagogue was discovered during excavations at Migdal beach that dates to the Second Temple Period:
A synagogue from the Second Temple period (50 BCE-100 CE) was exposed in archaeological excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting at a site slated for the construction of a hotel on Migdal beach, in an area owned by the Ark New Gate Company. In the middle of the synagogue is a stone that is engraved with a seven-branched menorah (candelabrum), the likes of which have never been seen. The excavations were directed by archaeologists Dina Avshalom-Gorni and Arfan Najar of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
One of the most interesting parts of this story:
This is the first time that a menorah decoration has been discovered from the days when the SecondTemple was still standing. This is the first menorah to be discovered in a Jewish context and that dates to the Second Temple period/beginning of the Early Roman period.
I’m curious if this stone served some kind of liturgical purpose.
Via Jim Davila. Archaeologists in Jerusalem found a stone mug dating from 37 BCE to 70 CE. The mug contains an inscription written in an enigmatic mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic. No one has deciphered it yet, but maybe Jimmy Barfield can take a crack at it.
Claude Mariottini has a CNN video up discussing the recently discovered wall in Jerusalem. It’s a good overview of the story. Check it out.
I think this site provides an entertaining and thorough (for its brevity) introduction to the discipline of biblical archaeology. The section near the bottom about the most important Bible-related archaeological finds provides good introductory info for students. The little trowel interactive stratigraphy game is also pretty cool. Check it out.
Via Jim Davila. An agreement was reached between a landowner and the Tiberias Magistrate’s Court that will allow digging to commence next month on a tomb which has an inscription bearing the name of the famous 3rd century Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi. I have a friend digging at Tel es-Safi who tells me they run into incredible difficulties whenever they come across human remains, and I imagine a personality as well-known as Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi will only raise even more concern. It’s a tight rope to walk, and it almost makes me glad I spend my research time in front of a computer or stuffed in a book. . . . Almost.