Just Archaeology- 8

31 Oct

#1. Maybe It Was Disease

Peruvian archaeologist Gabriel Prieto and John Verano of Tulane University have expanded the excavation of a site where the sacrificed remains of 42 children and 76 young llamas were found in 2011. “This is unusual, and not what we’ve seen before, especially on the coast of Peru,”

Religion sells even if people hate it. That topic brings in a lot of interest and money. What I find amazing is the fact that almost every time an archaeologist comes across a dead body a religious ritual or sacrifice is invoked. Now that is a bit of an exaggeration but that is what it seems like. What about other forms of death? Did they not take place in the ancient world?  So instead of a sacrifice here maybe these children and animals were victims of a plague or mass murder due to genocide.

Having read about Nazi women executing Jewish children and the many mass murders the Nazis committed I find it hard to accept that these remains were of a religious nature. Without supporting contemporary documentation it is hard to say why these bodies were located where they were and why. But it would be nice if archaeologists would stop painting religious people as blood thirsty maniacs. I do not care what religious beliefs they hold, most religious people do not sacrifice others.

I am beginning to think that the secular archaeologists have an agenda to paint any religion in a bad light regardless of what the evidence says.

#2. More Likely Their Funerary Practices

“The technical sophistication of all three mummies suggests that these were well-off individuals. We would expect to see that reflected in the condition of their teeth and skeletons. The CT scan helps us to better understand their lifestyles,”

Not really. The technical sophistication only demonstrates to the modern world that the embalmers mastered their craft. It says nothing about the individuals at all. Teeth and skeletons also do not show much about a lifestyle because even the poor take care of their teeth and some wealthy people do not take care of themselves very well. The small objects would merely be an attempt to make the corpse look good for the relatives. That is done in the modern world as well.

#3. An Interesting Find

Skilled divers from the group Global Underwater Explorers are helping Italian archaeologists investigate a shipwreck under 410 feet of water near the Aeolian Islands. The well-preserved ship, thought to have sailed between Rome and Carthage sometime between 218 and 210 B.C., has been out of reach of looters and fishing lines and nets.

From what I understand, underwater archaeology is very dangerous. It takes special equipment to reach these sites and it is difficult to extract what they find. It will be interesting to hear what they did find among the wreck.

#4. On Cue

Phaistos Disk Deciphered? Not Likely, Say Scholars

I tend to agree with these scholars.

Since its discovery, scholars have debated the origin, meaning and function of the disk, as well as what its symbols actually say. The disk has been interpreted to be a hymn, a curse and even an almanac.

One major problem with attempting to decipher the signs? There aren’t enough examples to work with. The script stamped on the disk appears nowhere else, but two objects display similar—though not identical—signs: a bronze axe from Arkalokhori in central Crete and a clay seal from Phaistos.

Despite its mysteriousness, the Phaistos Disk is thought to be authentic by many, but not all, scholars.

but again, the main archaeologist turns to religion to make the news

Owens adds, “Why should the Disk be treated differently as a Cretan syllabic inscription? My Ph.D. demonstrated that Minoan is an independent, insular Indo-European language. The Disk is a genuine Minoan religious inscription in a syllabic script in an IE language, so we must try both to ‘read’ and to try to ‘understand’ the text

Sorry but I can’t agree with that conclusion simply because we do not have enough information to corroborate the identity.

#5. Another Interesting Find

Salvage excavations led by Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologists Dr. Rina Avner and Roie Greenwald north of Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate have uncovered a stone fragment engraved with an official Latin inscription dedicated to the Roman emperor Hadrian. Scholars already consider it one of the most important Latin inscriptions discovered in Jerusalem.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem scholars Avner Ecker and Hannah Cotton, who translated the stone’s six lines of Latin, said that the inscription was dedicated by the Legio X Fretensis (“Tenth legion of the sea straits”) to Hadrian in the year 129/130 C.E. The inscription reads:

“To the Imperator Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus, son of the deified Traianus Parthicus, grandson of the deified Nerva, high priest, invested with tribunician power for the 14th time, consul for the third time, father of the country [dedicated by] the Tenth Legion Fretensis Antoniniana.”

At least they are not attributing the inscription to religion or religious ceremonies.

#6. Back To Religion

Excavations at Tel Burna, located in the Shephelah region in Israel, have uncovered a 3,300-year-old cult complex where Baal, the Canaanite storm god, may have been worshipped. While the complex has not been fully excavated yet, its 52 by 52-feet courtyard has given archaeologists an idea of the overall size of the place. The excavators found within the complex three connected cups, facemask fragments, massive storage jars and burnt animal bones.

“From the finds within the building, we can reconstruct the occurrence of feasts, indicated by several goblets and a large amount of animal bones,” excavation director Itzick Shai of Ariel University told LiveScience. “Some of these animal bones are burnt, probably indicating their use in some sacrificial activity.”

Maybe it was a restaurant that catered to large groups and had outdoor seating? Sorry but there is not enough evidence to say that this was a cult site.

#7. The Ancients Were Talented

Not too long ago, archaeologist Rengert Elburg found something that convinced him that “Stone Age sophistication” is not a contradiction in terms. It was a wood-lined well, discovered during construction work in Altscherbitz, near the eastern German city of Leipzig. Buried more than 20 feet underground, preserved for millennia by cold, wet, oxygen–free conditions, the timber box at the bottom of the well was 7,000 years old—the world’s oldest known intact wooden architecture.

Actually, nothing is new under the sun and believers already knew that the ancients could build, fashion metal, and do a lot more than they are given credit. Genesis told us that long before science and archaeology did.

17 Cain [j]had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son. 18 Now to Enoch was born Irad, and Irad [k]became the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael [l]became the father of Methushael, and Methushael [m]became the father of Lamech. 19 Lamech took to himself two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other, Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22 As for Zillah, she also gave birth to Tubal-cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron; and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah. (Gen. 4 NASB)

Even after so many millennia, the well’s extraordinary state of preservation began to give the researchers clues to the tools and techniques the ancient woodworkers used. They learned, for example, that to reinforce the bottom of the well, prehistoric carpenters had fashioned boards and beams from old-growth oaks three feet thick, then fit them together using tusked mortise-and-tenon joints, a technique not seen again until the Roman Empire, five millennia later. (from the article)

Ancient people were not a bunch of knuckle-draggers who one day suddenly developed speech, cognitive thought or even abilities. They were given all those abilities and talents at the beginning when God created Adam and Eve.

#8. The Sea People

Through archaeology, however, we have learned that the Philistines were just one tribe of Sea Peoples who invaded Canaan in the 12th century B.C.E. and settled along the coast. The Bible refers to all of these tribes collectively as the Philistines.

The Philistines established the famous Pentapolis—Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gath and Ekron—in the southern coastal plain. Archaeological excavations at each of these sites, save for Gaza (due to the modern buildings constructed atop its tell), reveal a rich material culture with origins in the Aegean. The Philistines were far from lacking in culture as the modern derogatory term suggests.

In “The Other ‘Philistines’” in the November/December 2014 issue of BAR, Ephraim Stern sheds light on the “Philistines” in the Bible who lived in the northern region of Canaan. These settlers may be called the northern Sea Peoples to differentiate them from the Sea Peoples who lived in the south (the Philistines)

I have come across references and articles on the sea People many times throughout the years but haven’t been able to give them a lot of time or thought. I am unsure about the conclusions of archaeologists concerning these migrating societies because we have little documentation on them. It is possible that the Philistines were part of a marauding horde but it is also possible that they were just migrating to find a new home after theirs had been destroyed. We really cannot trust Egyptian records for we know that they embellished their history to make themselves look good for future generations.


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Posted by on October 31, 2014 in academics, archaeology, history, science, theology


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