#1657

2019-04-23

Natan-Melech, Servant of the King

With Clyde Billington

One of the most exciting discoveries announced in biblical archaeology so far this year is highlighted on the cover of the latest issue of our quarterly magazine ARTIFAX, a seal impression bearing the name of a man who is referenced in II Kings 23:11: Nathan-Melech. The seal impression, or bulla, was found in the ruins of a burned out administrative building dating to the 5th-6th century BC at a site known as the Givati Car Park excavation. This is a 12-year (so far) excavation just outside the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem, next to the entrance to the City of David, the oldest part of Jerusalem. The biblical reference and the text of the bulla both describe Nathan Melech as "servant of the king." It might not be the same guy, but odds would say it probably is. Along with this bulla, an actual stamp seal was also found in approximately the same place, with the inscription "(belonging) to Ikar son of Matanyahu." Ikar is not known from the Bible. Also on this program, we discuss the 50-year anniversary of the Madeba Plains Project. This is an ongoing excavation involved three major sites in Jordan, handled principly by archaeologists connected with colleges of the Seventh Day Adventist Chuch. The Madeba Plains Project is widely regarded as an exemplary archaeological operation.

tags: Jordan Seal Heshbon Bulla excavation Natan Melech Givati Madeba Plains Jalul

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#1651

2019-03-05

From Qeiyafa to Lachish

With John DeLancey

The archaeological sites of Khirbet Qeiyafa and Tel Lachish give us biblical connections to the reign of King David and to the conquests of the Assyrians and the Babylonians. We visited both sites during the same day during our 2018 Archaeology Adventure Study Tour and we also have them on our itinerary for our March 2020 tour. Khirbet Qeiyafa overlooks the Elah Valley, where David met Goliath. This unusual city may or may not be mentioned in the Bible, depending on the clues you read. Lachish is mentioned prominently, it was the most important city in Judea outside of Jerusalem.

tags: Khirbet Qeiyafa Elah Valley Goliath King David Azekah Tel Lachish Sennacherib Assyrians

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#1650

2019-02-26

A Visit to Tel Gezer

With John DeLancey

John DeLancey was a volunteer at the Bronze Age Gate excavation, which was digging the ancient Canaanite water system among other things. On this program (from last May's Israel tour), John orients us to the site and gives us his personal insights on the archaeology that has taken place at Tel Gezer, one of the most important archaeological sites in Israel.

tags: Water System Tel Gezer pendant Shephelah Via Maris gate

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#1648

2019-02-12

Yahweh Worshiped at Tel Dan

With Clyde Billington

King Jeroboam I of Israel erected golden calf statues at Dan and at Bethel, saying, "Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." (I Kings 12:28) The idols were meant to keep people from going to Jerusalem to worship in the temple. But who were the people worshiping when they came to Dan and Bethel? Apparently Yahweh and not pagan Canaanite gods, judging by a new analysis of archaeological finds from years of excavations at Tel Dan. Before that discussion with my colleague, professor Clyde Billington, we reviewed another news item from the news digests of the latest issue of ARTIFAX, our quarterly biblical archaeology magazine: the excavations at Tel Keisan, near Acre, the Persian military base from which King Cambyses II launched an attack on Egypt in 525 BC. Also discussed in this program, the discovery of a tiny beka stone, used for weighing the half-shekel temple tax that was assessed on each Jewish male.

tags: Persians Tel Dan Jezreel Valley golden calf idol Jeroboam I Tel Keisan Cambyses II beka temple tax half shilling

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#1646

2019-01-30

Byzantine Desert Monasteries and the Anchor Church

With Yizhar Hirschfeld

This week's program comes from a 1993 interview that I did at the Israel Museum with Yizhar Hirschfeld, at that time the Field Director of Archaeology for the museum. Among the topics we discussed were the Byzantine monasteries of the Judean desert, the topic of his PhD studies, and the Anchor Church of Mt. Berenice in Tiberias. It too was an outgrowth of the Byzantine era, and was visited by pilgrims for many centuries until its destruction at the end of the Crusader period. Hirschfeld was beginning another major excavation in Tiberias in 2006 when I had some correspondence with him. He died suddenly on November 16, which just happens to be my birthday. He had a distinguished archaeological career that ended much too soon. May his memory be blessed.

tags: Church Byzantine Tiberias Yizhar Hirschfeld Anchor Mt. Berenice Judean Desert monasteries

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