Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

Posts tagged “Lachish

1826-1827 Michael Hasel – The Ivory Comb Alphabetic Inscription

The Lachish lice comb with inscription, dated to 1700 BC.

The Lachish lice comb with inscription, dated to 1700 BC.

Sometimes it takes years to assess an archaeological discovery, and that’s what happened with a small ivory comb that was excavated in 2016, and then was recently discovered to have writing on it. That writing makes it one of the most significant inscriptions ever discovered in Israel!

On these programs we are joined by Michael Hasel — Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Archaeology at Southern Adventist University, Director of the Institute of Archaeology at Southern Adventist University. He is the Co-Director of The Fourth Expedition to Lachish and it was his team that actually found this ivory comb during the 2016 excavation season.

The style of writing dates this comb to 1700 BC and makes it “a landmark in the history of the human ability to write,” according to Hasel’s colleague Yosef Garfinkel, co-director of the excavation. It is the first full sentence of alphabetic writing in recorded history.

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1792 Clyde Billington – Saul’s Palace/Lachish Siege Ramp

Site of Saul's Palace in Givat Shaul

Site of Saul’s Palace in Givat Shaul

I had no idea that the ruins of Saul’s palace might be located on a hilltop in western Jerusalem. But one of the stories in the winter issue of ARTIFAX included a call to excavate that site and find out what’s really there. That was one of the item’s we discussed in this week’s program. (And we’ll have more on this story in the next issue of ARTIFAX-you might want to consider subscribing to our biblical archaeology newsmagazine.)

Also on this week’s program, we report on new research into the construction of the siege ramp used by Assyrian King Sennacherib to conquer Lachish. The archaeological findings match the depiction of the siege in reliefs excavated from Sennacherib’s palace in the 19th century.

We also report on the excavation of St. Hilarion’s monastery in Gaza. Yes, in Gaza.


1731 Clyde Billington – Tefach, a Biblical Unit of Measurement

The diameter of the opening of a storage jar is always the same, one tefach.

The diameter of the opening of a storage jar is always the same, one tefach.

Storage jars come in all shapes and sizes but archaeologists have discovered that the mouths of the storage jars are always the same size, one hand breadth. One hand breadth equals one tefach, a biblical unit of measurement much like a cubit.

Today, we are taller and heavier than our biblical counterparts, but our hand breadth is still basically the same size. This is one of the stories from the autumn issue of ARTIFAX, our biblical archaeology newsmagazine.

Other stories include a story on the oldest metal forge in the world, an update on the world’s oldest and largest wine cellar, and the discovery of another Assyrian siege ramp at the walls of a Judean city.


1552 Clyde Billington – Lachish Gate Shrine & New IAA Archaeology Campus

Excavating the toilet at the Lachish Gate Shrine.

Excavating the toilet at the Lachish Gate Shrine.

A second look at some of the top archaeology stories from the Autumn 2016 issue of ARTIFAX magazine with co-editor Clyde Billington.

On this program we discuss the recently renewed excavations at Lachish and the discovery of a gate shrine which appears to have been permanently desecrated by the installation of a toilet.

We also discuss the Israel Antiquities Authority’s new archaeology campus in Jerusalem, as well as the reopening of the restored Mamertine Prison in Rome, where Peter and Paul may have been held.