From 1925 until 1939 The University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute (OI) conducted
an archaeological expedition at Tel Megiddo, in what is now northern
Israel. This was literally the Biblical Armageddon and has an archaeological record going back to c. 3500 BCE. Eric Cline’s
Digging Up Armageddon: The Search
for the Lost City of Solomon is a fascinationg account of these excavations. The author interleaves descriptions of
the discoveries with the story, which Cline describes as a
of the participants in the dig.
I discovered the OI back in the 1960’s and it has been a part of my life ever since.
However, I had no idea it was such an important player in the archaeological work between the world wars. It is amazing what
could be done with Rockefeller money in those days.
The site was occupied almost continuously from about 3500 BCE until about 586 BCE, but a direct connection to King Solomon has yet to be found. What were thought to be Solomon’s stables now seem date from the reign of Ahab, about 870-850 BCE. Ahab and his father Omri get a terrible press in the Biblical book of 1 Kings, but unlike their predecessors in both Israel and Judah, they are mentioned in contemporary Moabite and Assyrian records. We do not yet have such a verification of the Biblical account for David and Solomon.
Did any Exist?
The answer here is “Yes,” although it is almost all speculation. However, as Nassim Nicholas Taleb likes to say, the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
This morning in Church it was my turn to read the lesson from the Hebrew scriptures, about Joseph being sold to the Ishmaelites for 20 pieces of Silver (Genesis 37). I also read the assigned part
of Psalm 105, where this story also comes up.
||He sent a man before them, *
Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
||They bruised his feet in fetters; *
his neck they put in an iron collar.
I saw the phrase “iron collar” and my mind immediately went “Anachronism!”. Continue reading
Extensive remains of vast Mycenaean citadel revealed
A team of archaeologists is excavating the remains of a vast ancient Mycenaean citadel, known as Glas or Kastro (castle)….The area is estimated to measure ten times the size of the ancient citadel of Mycenaean Tiryns and seven times that of Mycenae.
DNA reveals their Origin
Nothing really wrong with this, but I think the conclusion is too strong. What it proves is that the Minoans in general were not invaders from elsewhere. But foreign cultural influences can come in by ways other than massive invasion and genocide. Look at all the speakers of Indo-European languages: Quite a variety of genetic types even in antiquity.
History is much too messy for simplistic interpretations.
Actual Queens Regnant. There were six before Cleopatra.
Queens BEFORE Hatshepsut
Unlike Cleopatra (Cleopatra VII in the Ptolemaic dynasty), the others seem to have been actual Egyptians.
The Lost Community of Lefkandi
I particularly noticed:
From around 1250 BC onwards, post-Mycenaean ‘refugee’ settlements began to appear, establishing a pattern that was to continue throughout the Dark Ages (Whitley 2011: 77-78). The characteristic Dark Age remote, defensible positions, often over 500m above sea level – as in evidence at Karphi (ibid: 78) – exhibited a continuity of older traditions and no obvious change in population levels (ibid.).
This pattern was noted by Robert Drews in The End of the Bronze Age as evidence that the disasters in the Eastern Mediterranean c. 1200 BC were the result of human action, not natural causes. The only reason the survivors would rebuild in such difficult locations is fear of an attack by raiders or invaders. See also my post on From Bronze to Iron.