Archaeology Updates from ASOR

My wife and I are back with our kids after hearing some great things at the ASOR annual meeting in San Antonio. Here are some highlights from our experience.

Jerusalem’s Gihon Spring: The massive 18th century BC tower over the Gihon Spring has surprisingly given some radiocarbon dates for the 9th century BC, the time of the kings of Judah. Was this massive fortification built in the 9th century, or was it built in the 18th century and repaired in the 9th century? Not sure at this point. It’s a pretty big thing to re-date a well-known monumental structure by 900 years.

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The ancient Gihon Spring Tower in 2011. Visitors to the City of David park, which includes Hezekiah’s Tunnel, will remember this site. It’s been assumed this fortification existed when David took Jerusalem. New C-14 tests suggest it could date to one of David’s descendants instead. If I heard correctly, the tested samples came from soil beneath the large stones to the right. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

The Ark of the Covenant: We heard a proposal that two recently-discovered Iron Age (kingdom period) temples at Beth Shemesh and Tel Moza might relate to the Ark of the Covenant’s journey from its capture by the Philistines to its final home in Jerusalem. Further investigation is needed on this one.

Philistine skeletons: The excavators of a newly-discovered Philistine cemetery at Ashkelon reported details on their findings. (This discovery made the news this past summer.) The cemetery dates from the 10th to 8th centuries BC, making it contemporary with the monarchies of Israel and Judah. Some 200 skeletons of men, women, and children. Interesting burial practices. Groundbreaking stuff (literally and figuratively).

The Gezer Water Tunnel: We got an update on the project to clear the underground water tunnel at Gezer. They’ve been going at it for 6 years and are still going deeper. The bottom is surprisingly not yet in sight. There are some interesting carvings on the tunnel ceiling and side walls that deserve attention. They might relate to those massive monoliths discovered on the surface.

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Some of our excavation team posing with some of the monoliths at Gezer. These Canaanite stones may have represented gods, or possibly a political alliance. The issue is debated. Carvings in the underground Gezer water system may help to shed some light.

There were too many presentations to mention here, but a few other favorites covered new archaeological results from the biblical city of Azekah and the Judean Shephelah (foothills), some discussions on the Exodus from Egypt, and a paper on whether 1 Corinthians 8:5-6 refers to Roman emperor worship. (The presenter argued against this, based on an assemblage of inscriptions from that area.) In my previous post I mentioned some great sessions on Gath and our own excavations at Lachish.

Next year’s ASOR meeting is in Boston. It’s too early to know if I will be able to attend, but it promises a plethora of opportunities to learn of new discoveries from across the biblical world.

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About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister in English and Spanish with the North Terrace Church of Christ and participates annually in archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke also leads tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
This entry was posted in Bible comments, Biblical Archaeology, Conference, Gezer, Jerusalem, New Discoveries, New Testament, Paul, Philistines, Tel Azekah, Water systems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Archaeology Updates from ASOR

  1. Wayne Stiles says:

    Nice update, Luke. Thanks very much. Sorry I missed you in San Antonio.

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