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Re: Tablets found in Israel? (fwd)
I a reposting the article re Hazor found in sci.archaeology -
HAZOR NATIONAL PARK, Israel (AP) _ Multiplication tables
inscribed on a chip of reddish clay more than 3,000 years old may
be the tip of a treasure trove of documents describing life in the
times of the biblical patriarchs.
Four palm-sized clay tablets inscribed in Akkadian cuneiform
have been found at the excavation site of the ancient city of
Hazor, referred to in the biblical book of Joshua as one of the
great Canaanite kingdoms.
Hebrew University professor Amnon Ben-Tor, head of the
excavation, said Monday that the tablets and other evidence point
to the existence of two royal archives at the site in as-yet
unexcavated palace rooms.
The discovery of such archives would be unprecedented in the
Holy Land and would provide a wealth of information about life in
the Canaanite period, which lasted from the 18th to 13th century
The tablets discovered so far are ``in my opinion the most
important of all documents found in this country,'' Ben-Tor said.
Dozens of archaeologists and volunteers are at work at the
northern Israel site, about nine miles north of the Sea of Galilee,
scraping and sifting bucketfuls of dirt and ash in oven-like summer
The dig is uncovering layers of civilization at Hazor, first
settled in the 27th century B.C.
By the 18th century B.C. _ around the time of Abraham _ the
city, located along the major trade route between Egypt and
Babylon, had become a major center for commerce in tin, silver,
gold, and precious stones.
``It was the biggest city in this country,'' Ben-Tor said.
This season's work, which wraps up this week, focused on the
Canaanite palace at Hazor. Ben-Tor _ an enthusiastic gray-haired
man in faded shorts and dust-covered canvas boots _ said the palace
is by far the region's most impressive.
The dig has uncovered the two-yard wide bases of stone pillars
in the throne room, and a layer of ash that Ben-Tor believes is the
remains of a wood parquet floor. The palace was destroyed when the
city was burned in about 1,250 B.C., a date researchers believe
corresponds to the biblical account of Joshua burning down Hazor in
Ben-Tor believes there also is a second, earlier palace at the
site, and a royal archive to go with each. He hopes the archives
will be found as soon as next year.
A tablet found earlier at the site indicates there was a school
for scribes in Hazor, Ben-Tor said, increasing the likelihood there
was an archive there as well.
In addition to the multiplication tables, archaeologists found a
tablet inscribed with a list of goods sent from Hazor to Mari, a
major Canaanite city in Babylon dating from the 18th century B.C.
The list represents the first time the name Hazor has been found
in an inscription at the site, confirming its biblical
Two other tablets, dating from around the 14th century B.C.,
show a commercial list and a legal document in which, according to
Ben-Tor, ``A tells B that C is a liar.''
``This shows that nothing has changed,'' he commented wryly.
Ben-Tor said archaeologists made a number of other important
finds at Hazor this season, including a ``very, very, very rare''
coat of mail, an Egyptian battle ax, and a finely detailed,
foot-tall bronze statue of a seated god that he said is the biggest
known of its kind.