Tel Gezer, a benchmark site in biblical archaeology, has been under excavation for the past ten years by Steve Ortiz and Sam Wolff (co-directors). During this year’s final season of excavation, the remains of two adults and one child were found in a destruction layer dated to about 1200BC.
In this 2-part interview we talk with Steve Ortiz about the results of their excavation, what they know about those three skeletons, and why Gezer was such a hard city to conquer, for the Israelites, the Egyptians, and the Philistines, who were all in the area at the time.
More stories from the news digests of the latest issue of ARTIFAX magazine, including inscriptions that name a newly discovered Roman governor of ancient Judea, and that connect to the ruling family of the Hasmonean period.
An inscription naming Gargilius Antiquus was found in the harbor of Dor, indicating that he was probably the governor of the Roman province of Judea when the second Jewish revolt broke out.
An inscription, “Hyrcanus,” was found in the massive Givati Parking Lot excavation just outside the walls of Jerusalem. It is probably one or the other John Hyrcanus, from the Hasmonean lineage of the 1st and 2nd centuries BC.
“The Thinker” is the name given to the figure of a man found sitting atop a pot dating to around 1800 BC, the patriarchal period. The man is shown deep in thought.
And finally mention of some of the finds from last summer’s Gezer excavation of the Bronze Age gate.
The 11 caves in which Dead Sea Scroll materials were found more than a half century ago have been joined by one more cave, cave #12. No new scrolls were found, but archaeologists did unearth evidence of scroll storage jars and related materials left behind by looters who plundered the site decades ago. We discuss this find and several other sites where archaeology is going on this year with John DeLancey, who will be the co-leader of our May 2018 TB&TS Israel Study tour.
In the second program we continue to review some of the most interesting sites in Israel where excavations are planned for 2017. This is an annual feature which gives listeners an idea of where Biblical Archaeology is focused right now, and it also serves to remind listeners that these are all opportunities where volunteers can get involved and do some hands-on biblical research. As William Dever once said, on The Book & The Spade program, “The only new facts about the Bible and the biblical world are coming from the ground.”
Professor Clyde Billington, the new president of the Near East Archaeological Society and fellow editor of ARTIFAX magazine, joins me to discuss some of the news items from the latest issue of ARTIFAX.
Our discussion includes this summer’s excavation of a palace from the time of Solomon at Tel Gezer, the discovery of the cave that may have been the source of the water/wine containers present at the wedding in Cana attended by Jesus and his disciples, the results of the excavations in the priestly quarter of first century Jerusalem, and a possible gem from the Jewish High Priest’s ephod.
A number of archaeological sites in Israel have water systems that have been excavated – Megiddo, Hazor, Beersheba, Sepphoris, and even Jerusalem – and all are marvels of engineering. But the water system at Gezer may be the largest and earliest of them all, and perhaps not even (originally) a water system.
Dan Warner, professor of archaeology and Old Testament at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, has been excavating at Gezer’s water system for seven years and discovered that the mystery increases with each succeeding year. On these two programs he brings us up to date on what they’ve discovered so far and what they still need to do.