Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

Posts tagged “Caesarea

1802 Clyde Billington – BC Metallurgy: Lead and Copper

Mt. Ebal Curse Tablet

Mt. Ebal Curse Tablet

Possibly the most dramatic discovery in biblical archaeology so far in the 21st century, this very small lead tablet, folded in half, inscribed in what appears to be paleo Hebrew, found near the Mt. Ebal altar that was discovered in 1980s by Israeli archaeologist Adam Zertal.  On this week’s program, my co-editor Clyde Billington and I discuss the cover story of the spring issue of our biblical archaeology newsmagazine ARTIFAX, and the connection that this discovery has to the mountain of curses, that’s mentioned in Deuteronomy 27 & Joshua 8. 

There’s also a connection between the curse tablet and another story in our spring issue news digest: lead ingots found in the harbor at Caesarea. These ingots have been dated to 1500 BC: lead isotopes give their source as Sardinia, markings were Minoan (from 1500 BC Cyprus). They had traveled a long distance in those early days.

We also discuss new information about copper mining in Timna, in far southern Israel. We recently reported on new research from Timna indicating that people lived in tents instead of buildings more widely than believed, which is shaking up archaeology a bit. Now there’s further information on their mining and smelting techniques. Tel Aviv University researcher David Luria says the technology was developed by locals using trial and error, not imported from Egypt. Production was heavy during the time of the biblical kingdoms of Israel and Judah, 1200 BC to 850 BC.


1791 Clyde Billington – Treasures from the Bottom of the Sea


The cover of ARTIFAX magazine

On the cover of the just-released winter issue of ARTIFAX, our biblical archaeology newsmagazine, are photos of some of the treasures recovered recently from two shipwrecks off the shore of Caesarea Maritima. There were bronze and silver coins, rings and gemstones, and tools of a scribe.

On this week’s program, professor Clyde Billington and I discuss these treasures from shipwrecks that came from two different eras: the Roman period (250-300 AD) and the Mamluk period (1300 AD).

One of the most amazing items is a gold ring with an engraved gemstone picturing the Good Shepherd, an iconic Christian image. No doubt it belonged to a wealthy individual or a leader in the early church.

Other news digest items discussed on this program included the discovered of a second synagogue at Magdala, and a new exhibit at the nearby kibbutz Ginnosar Yigael Allon museum.

1740-1741 Kathryn Gleason – Herod the Great Gardener

Kathryn Gleason

Kathryn Gleason

The bold architecture of Herod the Great from 2,000 years ago is still seen across Israel today, including remnants of the six palaces he built. Those palaces, as is typical of Roman architecture, had gardens.

We have a better picture of those gardens, thanks to the work of Kathryn Gleason, professor of Landscape Architecture at Cornell University, and her colleagues. Recovering the pollen from the gardens is the key, as she explains in this interview.