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Since excavations began again at Megiddo in 1994, various improvements have been made to the site. These include a modest reconstruction of the northern palace and stables area as well as signs at the major structures around the tell. The latest work is the reconstruction of a single Israelite tri-partite building on the south side of the tell. This should make it easier to explain these buildings to visitors, as until now little could be clearly seen except for some mangers and tethering posts. This photo shows how the building looked in mid-January.


The American excavators identified these buildings as “Solomon’s stables.” Since that time, the stratigraphy has been clarified and most believe these are from the time of Ahab. Scholars do not agree on the function of these buildings, with some holding to the original identification and others insisting they were storehouses. It is one of the most controversial issues in “biblical archaeology” and it is especially surprising that archaeologists cannot agree because so many of these buildings have been found all over the country. Studying the issue out is quite interesting, but if you just want to know the answer, you came to the right place.

Stables.

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A date palm that sprouted from a seed found in excavations near Masada continues to grow and is now 14 inches tall. Most of the date trees in the Jordan Valley today come from California, and scientists have hope of learning more about the ancient date that flourished in Israel 2000 years ago.

Solowey, who raised the plant, has grown over 100 rare and almost extinct species of plants. Together with Hadassah Hospital’s Natural Medicine Center, she seeks to use the plants listed in ancient remedies to seek effective uses for modern medical conditions. The Judean date has been credited with helping fight cancer, malaria and toothaches. Solowey was skeptical about the chances of success at first, but gave it a try. “I treated it in warm water and used growth hormones and an enzymatic fertilizer extracted from seaweed in order to supplement the food normally present in a seed,” she said.

Arutz-7 has the full story.

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In one of those “I wish this were me” stories, the Jerusalem Post is reporting that three boys, aged 11-13, found an intact burial cave from the Second Temple Period (probably 1st century A.D.) near Beth Shemesh. The cave includes skeletons, ossuaries, and probably some other interesting goodies. The Antiquities Authority sealed the cave, presumably until they have the manpower to properly excavate it.

The above photo is of an ossuary from the 1st century, but not one that was recently discovered.
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I had no idea when I wrote yesterday about Finkelstein’s view of the City of David that he has a new book coming out on David and Solomon. Like Unearthing the Bible, David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible’s Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition is co-authored by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman. I haven’t seen the book yet, but you get an idea for the content of this book from a review in Publisher’s Weekly:

The authors are careful to note that the absence of contemporary confirmation outside the Bible is no reason to believe that the characters did not actually exist. Rather, the biblical stories form the basis for a legend tradition in which the Davidic legacy gradually transforms “from a down-to-earth political program into the symbols of a transcendent religious faith that would spread throughout the world.”

To whom would I recommend this book? Only to those who need insight into the creativity that is required (or allowed) when you jettison the major historical sources and set about inventing your own history.

Which reminds me of a similar point: I have my students read from (many) liberal authors with whom I greatly disagree. I wonder how many liberal teachers require their students to read from conservative authors? I can tell you from own experience in graduate school: liberals don’t seem aware that there are other opinions. And they certainly don’t want their students exposed to those ideas. Yes, it is ironic that these are the “liberals.”

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