Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Archaeological Evidence: We Were Here in Israel Long Ago

Nadene Goldfoot
In the Jordan Valley, the Galilee and the Carmel Range, bones of Early Man were found together with his tools and remains of the animals that he hunted. The oldest of these remains go back over a million years. Who were these people? We know that Abraham came from the Iraq area later.

Some of the Canaanite settlements from the 3rd and 2nd millenia BCE were found in such biblical sites as Hazor, Megiddo, Ashdod, Jerusalem and Shechem. Recent finds (1972) at Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer, Jerusalem, Beersheba, Ashdod and Dan prove the settlement of the Israelites on their return from Egypt during the end of the 2nd millennium BCE and after the establishment of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. They show us details about the daily life, architecture, arts and forms of religious worship.

Remains from the time of the 2nd Temple-from the Hasmonaean period through the Jewish revolt against the Romans in the 1st century CE were unearths at Jerusalem, Caesarea, Beit-Sha'an, Tiberias and Jaffa. They found the fortresses in the Judaean Desert, such as Masada and Herodion, which were bases for the revolt ending in 70CE when the land was devastated and converted into a Roman province.

Digs in Jerusalem since 1967 when were were first allowed to enter show the city's fortifications and public and religious edifices, as well as the remains of Roman burnings. Traces of the camp of the Roman 10th Legion were found.

Exploring the caves of the Judaean desert led to finding the Letters of Shimon Bar Kochba, commander of the 2nd Jewish revolt against the Romans in the 2nd Century ACE.

We had an unbroken presence of a Jewish community throughout the Byzantine period (4th-7th centuries). Archaeologists found beautiful synagogues in the Galillee, Judaea and in the south. They also found evidence of the new Christian community that developed at that time.

This takes us up to 1972. I'd love to know if any dna testing has been done.

When we lived in Israel from 1980-1985 we did visit the Hazor ruins. I was amazed at how small a space people had to live in. Exploration was constantly going on in Jerusalem. Much more has been found. What amazes me is that this work has gone on despite all the wars Israel has had to endure.

Resource: Facts about Israel.

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