Archaeological News And Notes -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 04:4 (Autumn 1991)
Article: Archaeological News And Notes
Author: Anonymous

Archaeological News And Notes

Iron Age Farms Near Jerusalem

Israeli archaeologists have found the remains of large farms on the Shuafat ridge, two miles north of ancient Jerusalem. In antiquity, these farms no doubt supplied food to the city. Many of the farmers may have been refugees from the north, since the Jerusalem area experienced a sharp increase in population following the fall of the Northern Kingdom to the Assyrians in 721 BC.

Excavations are being undertaken at one of the farms which dates to the time of the Monarchy. The farm complex is comprised of a compound 230 x 230 ft in area. Inside the compound are a large courtyard, wine presses and facilities for producing olive oil.

In addition to the farms, quarries with good-quality limestone have been found in the area. It is possible that these quarries were a source of limestone for building the Temple and other royal buildings in Jerusalem. The elevation of Shuafat above Jerusalem would facilitate the transport of the quarried stones to the city. (Jerusalem Post July 20, 1991)

Jar Handles Tell a Story

A common artifact found in excavations in Judah is a jar handle stamped with an inscription containing the Hebrew letters lmlk, meaning “belonging to the king.” The stamps are consequently referred to as “lmlk stamps,” the handles as “lmlk handles,” and the jars they came from as “lmlk jars.” Below the lmlk is either a four-winged scarab or a two-winged (sun?) disc, and below that a place name. The scarab and sun disc are understood to be royal emblems. Although opinion is divided as to the precise function of the stamps, nearly all authorities agree that they date to the reign of Hezekiah, ca. 714–686 BC.

Randall Younker of Andrews University has come up with a novel interpretation as to the significance of the two different motifs on the seals. First, he notes that in the central hills of Judah, 80% of the royal jar handles display the two-winged disc motif. In the Shephelah (the low hills between the coastal and the central hills), on the other hand, 80% of the lmlk handles have the four-winged scarab. A number of lines of evidence indicate that there was a population surge in the south following the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 721 BC. Younker suggests that many of these refugees were placed in the Shephelah in order to strengthen the defenses of this border region.

Some time ago Douglas Tushingham of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto concluded that the four-winged scarab was the royal emblem of the Kingdom of Israel in the north, while the two-winged sun disc was the royal emblem of the Judahite Kingdom in the south. Combining that information with the historical situation has led Younker to theorize that the Juda...

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