(as of 1915)
|| Preliminary Consideration
I. ERA OF PREPARATION
1. Outside of Palestine
2. In Palestine
(1) Early Christian Period
(2) Period of Cursory Observation
(3) Beginning of Scientific Observation
II. ERA OF SCIENTIFIC EXPLORATION
1. Period of Individual Enterprise
(1) First Trained Explorers
(2) The Climax of Individual Exploration
2. Scientific Cooperative Surface Exploration
3. Most Recent Results in Surface Exploration
III. ERA OF SCIENTIFIC EXCAVATION
1. Southern Palestine
(1) Tell el-Chesy
(2) Excavations in Jerusalem
(3) Excavations in the Shephelah
(4) Painted "Tombs of Marissa"
2. Northern Palestine
(1) Tell Ta`annek
(2) Tell el-Mutesellim
(3) Tell Chum
3. Eastern Palestine
4. Central Palestine
(3) `Ain Shems
Previous to the last century, almost the entire stock of knowledge concerning ancient Palestine, including its races, laws, languages, history and manners, was obtained from Josephus and the Bible, with a few brief additional references given by Greek and Roman authors; knowledge concerning modern Palestine was limited to the reports of chance travelers. The change has been due largely to the compelling interest taken in sacred history and the "Holy Oracles." This smallest country in the world has aroused the spirit of exploration as no other country has or could. It has largely stimulated many of the investigations carried on in other lands.
I. Era of Preparation.
1. Outside of Palestine:
Much direct information concerning ancient Palestine, absolutely essential to the success of modern exploration in that land, has come through discoveries in other countries; but due in many cases to Biblical influence. All the most important Hebrew and Greek manuscripts and versions of the Bible and most of the Jewish Talmud and apocryphal and Wisdom books were found outside of Palestine. The pictures of its population, cities, fortresses and armies give a color and perspective to its ancient history far more vivid than can be found on any of its own contemporary monuments. The records of Thothmes III (15th century BC) describing the capture of Megiddo in the plain of Esdraelon with its vast stores of "chariots wrought with gold," bronze armor, silver and ebony statues, ivory and ebony furniture, etc., and of his further capture of 118 other Canaanite towns, many of which are well known from the Bible, and from which he takes an enormous tribute of war materials, golden ornaments and golden dishes, "too many to be weighed," find no parallel in any indigenous record--such records even if written having been doomed to perish because of the soil, climate and character of the rocks West of the Jordan. So circa 1400 BC, the Tell el-Amarna Letters (discovered in 1887) mention by name many Biblical cities, and give much direct information concerning the political and social conditions at that period, with at least 6 letters from the governor of Jerusalem, who writes to the Pharaoh news that the Egyptian fleet has left the coast, that all the neighboring cities have been lost to Egypt, and that Jerusalem will be lost unless help can be had quickly against the invasion of the Khabiri. The literature of the XIXth Dynasty contains many Hebrew names with much information concerning Goshen, Pithom, Canaan, etc., while in one huge stele of Menephtah the Israelites are mentioned by name. Later Egyptian Pharaohs give almost equally important knowledge concerning Palestine, while the Assyrian texts are even more direct. The black obelisk of Shalmancser II (9th century) catalogues and pictures the tribute received from Jehu; almost every king of the 8th century tells something of his relations with the rulers of Jerusalem or Damascus, throwing immense light on local politics, and the later Bah records give vividly the conditions previous to and during the exile, while the edict of Cyrus gives the very decree by virtue of which the Jews could return to their native land. Later discoveries, like theat Susa (1901), the Sendjirli and other Aramaic texts from Northern Syria (1890, 1908), and the Elephantine papyri, some of which are addressed to the "sons of Sanballat" and describe a temple in Egypt erected to Yahu (Yahweh) in the 5th century BC, may not give direct information concerning Palestine, but are important to present explorers because of the light thrown upon the laws of Palestine in patriarchal times; upon the thought and language of a neighboring Semitic community at the time of the Monarchy; upon the religious ritual and festivals of Nehemiah’s day, and upon the general wealth and culture of the Jews of the 5th century; opening up also for the first time the intimate relations which existed between Jerusalem and Samaria and the Jews of the Dispersion. So the vast amounts of Greek papyri found recently in the Fayyum not only have preserved the "Logia" and "Lost Gospels" and fragments of Scripture texts, early Christian Egyptian ritual, etc., but have given to scholars for the first time contemporaneous examples of the colloquial language which the Jews of Palestine were using in the 1st century AD, and in which they wrote the "memoirs" of the apostles and the Gospels of Jesus.
2. In Palestine:
(1) Early Christian Period.
At this time, during the first three or four centuries the ancient sites and holy places were identified, giving some valuable information as to the topographical memories of the earlier church. By far the most valuable of these carefully prepared summaries of ancient Bible places, with their modern sites, and the distances between them, was the Onomasticon of Eusebius, as it was enlarged by Jerome, which attempted seriously the identification of some 300 holy places, most of these being vitally important for the modern student of the Bible. While some of these identifications were "curiously incorrect" (Bliss) and the distances even at the best only approximate, yet few satisfactory additions were made to the list for 1,500 years; and it was certainly a splendid contribution to Palestinian topography, for the list as a whole has been confirmed by the scientific conclusions of recent investigators.
(2) Period of Cursory Observation.
The earliest traveler who has left a record of his journey into Palestine was Sinuhit, who, perhaps a century after Abraham, mentions a number of places known to us from the Bible and describes Canaan as a "land of figs and vines, .... where wine was more plentiful than Water, .... honey and oil in abundance .... all kinds of fruit upon its trees, barley and spelt in the fields, and cattle beyond number"; each day his table is laden with "bread, wine, cooked flesh and roasted fowl .... wild game from the hills and milk in every sort of cooked dish" (Breasted, Ancient Records, I, 496). A few other Egyptian visitors (1300-1000 BC) add little to our knowledge. The report of the Hebrew spies (
The record of early Christian travel begins with the(332 AD), and during the next two centuries scores of others write out their observations in the Holy Land, but for 1,000 years there is scarcely a single visitor who looks at the country except through the eyes of the monks. A woman traveler of the 4th century reports some interesting facts about the early ritual of the Jerusalem church and the catechumen teaching, and surprises us by locating Pithom correctly (although the site was totally forgotten and only recovered in 1883), and the Epitome of Eucherius (5th century) gives a clear description of the holy places in Jerusalem; but almost the only other significant sign that anyone at this era ever made serious observations of value comes from the very large, fine mosaic of the 5th century recently discovered at Madeba, which gives a good impression of ancient Jerusalem with its buildings, and a careful bird’s-eye view of the surrounding country (see below II, 3). By the middle of the 6th century the old "Holy Places" were covered by churches, while new ones were manufactured or discovered in dreams, and relics of martyrs’ bones began to engross so much attention that no time was left in which to make any ordinary geographical or natural-history observations. A little local color and a few facts in regard to the plan of early churches and the persecution of Christians by Moslems constitute almost the sum total of valus to be gathered from the multitude of pilgrims between the 6th and 12th centuries. In the 12th century John of Wurzburg gives a few geographical notes of value; Theoderich notices certain inscriptions and tombs, describes accurately the churches and hospitals he visits, with their pictures and decorations, and outlines intelligently the boundaries of Judea and the salient features of the mountains encompassing Jerusalem; the Abbot Daniel notices the wild beasts in the Jordan forests and the customs at church feasts, and his account is important because of the light it throws on conditions in Palestine just after its conquest by the Crusaders, while in the 13th century Burchard of Mt. Zion makes the earliest known medieval map of Palestine, mentions over 100 Scripture sites, and shows unexpected interest in the plant and animal life of the country--but this practically exhausts the valuable information from Christian sources in these centuries. The Moslem pilgrims and writers from the 9th to the 15th centuries show far more regard to geographical realities than the Christians. It is a Moslem, Istakhri, who in the 10th century makes the first effort at a systematic geography of Palestine, and in the 10th and 13th centuries, respectively, Muqaddasi, after 20 years of preparation, and Yaqut, in a "vast work," publish observations concerning climate, native customs, geographical divisions, etc., which are yet valuable, while Nacir-i-Qhusran, in the 11th century, also gave important information concerning Palestinian botany, gave dimensions of buildings and gates, and even noticed to some extent the ancient arches and ruins--though in all these there are pitiful inaccuracies of observation and induction. One of the best Moslem writers thinks the water of Lake Tiberias is not fit to drink because the city sewerage has ceased to flow into it, and Christian writers from the 7th century down to modern times continually mention the Jor and Da as two fountains from which the Jordan rises, and continually report the most absurd stories about the Dead Sea and about its supernatural saltness never noticing the salt mountain near by and the other simple causes explaining this phenomenon.
See Dead Sea.
In the 14th century Marino Sanuto gave a "most complete monograph" (Ritter) of Palestinian geography, his maps being really valuable, though, according to modern standards, quite inaccurate. The Jew, Estoai ben Moses ha-Phorhi, in this same century advanced beyond all Christian writers in a work of "real scientific knowledge" (Bliss), in which he correctly identified Megiddo and other ancient sites, though the value of his work was not recognized for 400 years. The great name of the 15th century is that of the Dominican, Father Felix Fabri, who in his large book, Wanderings in the Holy Land, was the first to notice monuments and ruins to which no Biblical traditions were attached (Bliss), and who, within a decade of the discovery of America, described most vividly the dangers and miseries of the sea voyages of that era, and in most modern fashion narrated his adventures among the Saracens; yet notwithstanding the literary value of the book and his better method of arranging his materials, Fabri actually explained the saltness of the Dead Sea as due to the sweat which flowed from the skin of the earth! In the 16th century travelers showed more interest in native customs, but the false traditional identification of sites was scarcely questioned; the route of travel was always the same, as it was absolutely impossible to get East of the Jordan, and even a short trip away from the caravan was dangerous.
(3) Beginning of Scientific Observation.
In the 17th century Michal Nau, for 30 years a missionary in Palestine, De la Roque and Hallifix showed a truly scientific veracity of observation and an increasing accuracy in the recording and verification of their notes, and Maundrell advanced beyond all his predecessors in noticing the antiquities on the seacoast, North of Beirut; but all of these, though possessing fine qualities as explorers, were forced to travel hastily and limit their study to a very narrow field.
II. Era of Scientific Exploration.
1. Period of Individual Enterprise:
(1) First Trained Explorers.
True scientific exploration opened with the 18th century, as men began to think of this as itself an important life-work and not merely as a short episode in a life devoted to more serious pursuits. Th. Shaw (1722) carefully fitted himself as a specialist in natural history and physical geography, and scientifically reported a number of new facts, e.g. conditions and results of evaporation, etc., in the Dead Sea. Bishop Pococke (1738) had been well trained, was free from the bondage of tradition, and did for the antiquities of Palestine what Maundrell had done for those of Syria, making a large number of successful identifications of sites and contributing much to the general knowledge of Palestine. Volney (1783) was a brilliant literary man, in full sympathy with the scientific spirit, who popularized results and made a considerable number of original researches, especially in the Lebanon. Seetzen (1800-1807) and Burckhardt (1810-1812) are called by Bliss "veritable pioneers in the exploration of the ruins of Eastern and Southern Palestine." The former openedto light, visited a large unexplored district and made important observations in almost every field of knowledge, zoology, meteorology, archaeology; the latter, having become an Arab in looks and language, was able to go into many places where no European had ventured, one of his chief triumphs being the discovery of Petra and the scientific location of Mt. Sinai.
(2) The Climax of Individual Exploration.
The climax of the era of scientific observation, unassisted by learned societies, was reached by the American clergyman and teacher, Edward Robinson. He spent parts of two years in Palestine (1838 and 1852) and in 1856 published 3 volumes of Biblical Researches. He strictly employed the scientific method, and showed such rare insight that scarcely one of his conclusions has been found incorrect. His knowledge was as extensive as minute, and although he gave, in all, only five months of steady labor to the specific task of exploration, yet in that time he "reconstructed the map of Palestine" (Bliss), and his conclusions henceforth "formed the ground work of modern research" (Conder). He studied Jerusalem, being the first to show that the ancient fragment of an arch (now "Robinson’s") had been part of the bridge connecting the temple with Mt. Zion, and was the first to trace with accuracy the windings of the tunnel leading from the Virgin’s Fount to the Pool of Siloam. All Judea, Galilee and Samaria were very well covered by him. He was the first to notice that the ruined building at Tell Chum was a synagogue; from the top of one hill he recognized seven Biblical sites which had been lost for at least 1,500 years; he identified correctly at least 160 new sites, almost all being Biblical places. Robinson’s results were phenomenal in number and variety, yet necessarily these have been constantly improved upon or added to in each generation since, for no man can cover the entire field or be a specialist in every department. W.M. Thomson in his Thomson, The Land and the Book (new edition, 1910) and G.E. Post, Flora of Syria, Palestine, and Sinai (1896), gave a needed popular resume of the manners, customs and folklore of the people, as these illustrated the Bible, and many books and articles since have added to this material.
In 1848 the United States sent an expedition under Lieutenant Lynch to the Dead Sea, which ascertained the exact width, depth, currents, temperature, etc., and many parties since have added to this knowledge (see e.g. DEAD SEA; and also PEFS, 1911, XII, 7). From 1854 to 1862 De Vogue thoroughly examined the monuments of Central Syria and remained the sole authority on this section down to the American Archaeological Expedition of 1899. Tabler (1845-63) scientifically described Jerusalem and its environs, and the districts lying between Jaffa and the Jordan, and between Jerusalem and Bethel. Guerin who studied Palestine during periods covering 23 years (1852-75), though limited by lack of funds, covered topographically, with a minuteness never before attempted, almost the whole of Judea, Samaria and Galilee, gathering also many new records of monuments and inscriptions, the record of which was invaluable because many of these had been completely destroyed before the arrival of the next scientific party. A most sensational discovery was that of F. Klein in 1868, when he found at Dibon the huge basalt tablet set up by Mesha, king of Moab (9th century BC), on which in a language closely resembling the Hebrew, he gave honor to his god Chemosh by describing his successful revolt against a successor of Omri, the latter being mentioned by name with many well-known Biblical places. In style, thought and language this inscription greatly resembles the earlyrecords.
2. Scientific Cooperative Surface Exploration:
With the foundation of theFund (1865) the work of exploration took on an entirely new phase, since in this case, not a single individual, but a large company of specialists entered the work, having behind them sufficient funds for adequate investigation in each necessary line of research, and with the British War Office furnishing its expert Royal Engineers to assist the enterprise. Under the auspices of this society during the next 15 years Jerusalem was explored as never before, and all Western Palestine was topographically surveyed (see below); a geological survey (1883-1884) of Sinai, Wady `Arabah and the Dead Sea, and later of Mt. Seir (1885) was accomplished under Professor Edward Hull; the natural history of the country was treated with great thoroughness by several specialists; Palmer and Drake in the dress of Syrian natives, without servants, risked the dangerous journey through the Desert of the Tih in order to locate so far as possible the route of the Exodus; Clermont-Ganneau, who had previously made the discovery of the Jewish placard from the Temple, forbidding strangers to enter the sacred enclosure, added greatly to archaeological knowledge by gathering and deciphering many ancient inscriptions, uncovering buried cemeteries, rock-cut tombs and other monuments. He also laid down important criteria for the age of stone masonry (yet see PEFS, 1897, LXI); identified various sites including Adullam, found the "stone of Bethphage," "Zoheleth," etc., and made innumerable plans of churches, mosques, tombs, etc., and did an incredible amount of other important work. Capt., afterward Col., C.R. Conder did an equally important work, and as the head of the archaeological party could finally report 10,000 place-names as having been gathered, and 172 new Bible sites successfully identified, while the boundaries of the tribes had been practially settled and many vitally important Bible locations for the first time fixed. The excavations in Jerusalem under the same auspices had meanwhile been carried out as planned. After an introductory examination by Sir Charles Wilson, including some little excavating, Sir Charles Warren (1867-1870) and, later, Col. Conder (1872-1875) made thorough excavations over a large area, sinking shafts and following ancient walls to a depth of 80-150 ft. They uncovered the Temple-area from its countless tons of debris and traced its approximate outline; examined underground rock chambers; opened ancient streets; discovered many thousand specimens of pottery, glass, tools, etc., from Jewish to Byzantine periods; found the pier in the Tyropoeon Valley, where Robinson’s arch had rested, and also parts of the ancient bridge; traced the line of several important ancient walls, locating gates and towers, and fixed the date of one wall certainly as of the 8th century BC, and probably of the age of Solomon (G.A. Smith), thus accomplishing an epoch-making work upon which all more recent explorers have safely rested--as Maudslay (1875), in his masterly discovery and examination of the Great Scarp, and Guthe (1881), who made fine additional discoveries at Ophel, as well as Warren and Conder in their work afterward (1884), when they published plans of the whole city with its streets churches, mosques, etc., 25 inches to the mile, which in that direction remains a basis for all later work.
Perhaps, however, the greatest work of all done by this society was the Topographical Survey (1881-1886), accomplished for Judea and Samaria by Col. Conder, and for Galilee by Lord Kitchener, resulting in a great map of Western Palestine in 26 sheets, on a scale of an inch to the mile (with several abridged additions), showing all previous identifications of ancient places. These maps, with the seven magnificent volumes of memoirs, etc., giving the other scientific work done by the various parties, marked such an epoch-making advance in knowledge that it has been called "the most important contribution to illustrate the Bible since its translation into the vulgar tongue."
In addition to the above the Palestine Exploration Fund established a Quarterly Statement and Society of Biblical Archaeology from which subscribers could keep in touch with the latest Biblical results, and published large quantities of translations of ancient texts and travels and of books reporting discoveries as these were made. Altogether more advance was made during these 15 years from 1865-1880 than in the 15 centuries before.
3. Most Recent Results in Surface Exploration:
The next ten years (1880-90) did not furnish as much new material from Palestine exploration, but in 1880 the Siloam Inscription (compare
The latter proved to be part of the pavement of a 6th-century basilica and is a "veritable map of Palestine," showing its chief cities, the boundaries of the tribes, and especially the city of Jerusalem with its walls, gates, chief buildings, including the, and chief streets, notably one long straight street intersecting the city and lined with colonnades. As Madeba lies near the foot of Mt. Nebo, it is thought the artist may have intended to represent ideally a modern (6th-cent.) vision of Moses. George Adam Smith (HGHL, 7th edition, 1901); Jerusalem (2 volumes, 1910), and E. Huntington, Palestine and Its Transformation (1911), have given fine studies illustrating the supreme importance of accurate topographical knowledge in order to understand correctly the Bible narratives and the social life and politics of the Hebrews.
III. Era of Scientific Excavation.
1. Southern Palestine:
(1) Tell el-Chesy.
(Palestine Exploration Fund).--Exploration must always continue, but excavation is a vast advance. The modern era in Palestinian study begins with Petrie at LACHISH (which see) in 1890. Though Renan was actually the first man to put a spade into the soil (1860), yet his results were practically confined to Phoenicia. From Renan’s time to 1890 there had been no digging whatever, except some narrow but thorough work in Jerusalem, and a slight tickling of the ground at Jericho and at the so-called Tombs of the Kings. Nothing was more providential than this delay in beginning extensive excavations in Palestine, such as had been previously so profitably conducted in Egypt and elsewhere. The results could not have been interpreted even two years earlier, and even when these excavations were commenced, the only man living who could have understood what he found was the man who had been selected to do the work. Nearly two centuries before, a traveler in Palestine (Th. Shaw) had suggested the possibility of certain mounds ("tells") being artificial (compare
The next two years of scientific digging (1891-1892), admirably conducted by Dr. F.G. Bliss on this site, wholly confirmed Petrie’s general inductions, though the limits of each occupation were more exactly fixed and the beginning of the oldest city was pushed back to 1700 BC. The work was conducted under the usual dangers, not only from the Bedouin, but from excessive heat (104 degrees in the shade), from malaria which at one time prostrated 8 of the 9 members of the staff, scarcity of water, which had to be carried 6 miles, and from the sirocco (see my report, PEFS, XXI, 160-70 and Petrie’s and Bliss’s journal, XXI, 219-46; XXIII, 192, etc.). He excavated thoroughly one-third of the entire hill, moving nearly a million cubic feet of debris. He found that the wall of the oldest city was nearly 30 ft. thick, that of the next city 17 ft. thick, while the latest wall was thin and weak. The oldest city covered a space 1,300 ft. square, the latest one only about 200 ft. square. The oldest pottery had a richer color and higher polish than the later, and this art was indigenous, for at this level no Phoenician or Mycenaean styles were found. The late pre-Israelitish period (1550-800 BC) shows such importations and also local Cypriote imitations. In the "Jewish" period (800-300 BC) this influence is lost and the new styles are coarse and ungraceful, such degeneration not being connected with the entrance of Israel into Canaan, as many have supposed, but with a later period, most probably with the desolation which followed the exile of the ten tribes (Bliss and Petrie). In the pre-Israelite cities were found mighty towers, fine bronze implements, such as battle-axes, spearheads, bracelets, pins, needles, etc., a wine and treacle press, one very large building "beautifully symmetrical," a smelting furnace, and finally an inscribed tablet from Zimrida, known previously from the Tell el-Amarna Letters to have been governor of Lachish, circa 1400 BC. Many Jewish pit ovens were found in the later ruins and large quantities of pottery, some containing potters’ marks and others with inscriptions. Clay figures of Astarte, the goddess of fertility, were found in the various layers, one of these being of the unique Cypriote type, with large earrings, and many Egyptian figures, symbols and animal forms.
See also LACHISH.
(2) Excavations in Jerusalem.
During 1894:1894-1897, notwithstanding the previously good work done in Jerusalem (see above) and the peculiar embarrassments connected with the attempt to dig in a richly populated town, Dr. Bliss, assisted by an expert architect, succeeded in adding considerably to the sum of knowledge. He excavated over a large area, not only positively confirming former inductions, but discovering the remains of the wall of the empress Eudocia (450 AD), and under this the line of wall which Titus had destroyed, and at a deeper level the wall which surrounded the city in the Herodian age, and deeper yet that which must probably be dated to Hezekiah, and below this a construction "exquisitely dressed, with pointed masonry," which must be either the remains of a wall of Solomon or some other preexilic fortification not later than the 8th century. He found gates and in ancient times paved streets and manholes leading to ancient sewer systems, and many articles of interest, but especially settled disputed questions concerning important walls and the levels of the ancient hills, thus fixing the exact topography of the ancient city. H. G. Mitchell and others have also carefully examined certain lines of wall, identifying Nehemiah’s Dung Gate, etc., and making a new surveyor certain parts of underground Jerusalem, the results of the entire work being a modification of tradition in a few particulars, but corroborative in most. The important springs and reservoirs, valleys and hills of the ancient Jerusalem have been certainly identified. It is now settled that modern Jerusalem "still sits virtually upon her ancient seat and at much the same slope," though not so large as the Jerusalem of the kings of Judah which certainly extended over the Southwestern Hill. Mt. Zion, contrary to tradition which located it on the Southwestern Hill where the citadel stands, probably lay on the Eastern Hill above the Virgin’s Spring (Gihon). On this Eastern Hill at Ophel lay the Temple, and South of the Temple on the same hill "above Gihon" lay the old Jebusite stronghold (David’s City). The ancient altar of burnt offering was almost surely at es-Sakhra. The evidence has not been conclusive as to the line of the second wall, so that the site of Golgotha and thecannot certainly be determined (see George Adam Smith’s exhaustive work, Jerusalem, 2 volumes, 1907; Sir Charles Wilson, Golgotha and the Holy Sepulchre, 1906; and compare Selah Merrill, Ancient Jerusalem, 1908; C.R. Conder, City of Jerusalem, 1909; P.H. Vincent, Underground Jerusalem, 1911).
(3) Excavations in the Shephelah. (Palestine Exploration Fund).--During 1898-1900 important work was done by Bliss and Macalister at 4 sites on the border land between Philistia and Judea, while five other small mounds were tunneled, but without important results. The four chief sites were Tell Zakariya, lying about midway between Jerusalem and Tell el-Chesy; Tell ec Cafi, 5 miles W. of Tell Zakariya, and Tell Sandachannah, about 10 miles South; while Tell ej-Judeideh lay between Tell Zakariya and Tell Sandachannah. As Tell ej-Judeideh was only half-excavated and merely confirmed other results, not being remarkable except for the large quantity of jar inscriptions found (37), we omit further mention of it.
(a) Tell Zakariya:
From this height, 1,214 ft. above the sea, almost all Philistia could be seen. A pre-Israelitish town was found under some 20 ft. of debris, containing pre-Israelitish, Jewish and Seleucidan pottery. Many vaulted cisterns, partly hewn from the rock, were found in the lowest level. In later levels Jewish pit ovens were found and inscribed jar-handles with winged Egyptian symbols, implements of bronze, iron, bone and stone, and Egyptian images of Bes and the Horus eye, etc., besides a strange bronze figure of a woman with a fish’s tail which seems to represent Atargatis of Ashkelon. The ancient rampart was strengthened, perhaps in Rehoboam’s time, and towers were added in the Seleucidan era. Only half of this site was excavated.
(b) Tell es-Safi:
The camp was pitched near here in the. From a depth of 21 ft. to the rock, was found the characteristic pre-Israelitish pottery and much imported pottery of the Mycenaean type. A high place was also found here, containing bones of camels, sheep, cows, etc., and several monoliths of soft limestone in situ, and near by a jar-burial. In an ancient rubbish heap many fragments of the goddess of fertility were found. Many old Egyptian and later Greek relics were also found, and four Babylonian seals and the usual pottery from Jewish and later periods. With strong probability this site was identified as Gath.
(c) Tell Sandachannah:
This was situated circa 1,100 ft. above sea-level. The town covered about 6 acres and was protected by an inner and outer wall and occasional towers. The strongest wall averaged 30 ft. thick. The work done here "was unique in the history of Palestinian excavation" (Bliss). At Tell el-Chesy only one-third of each stratum was excavated; at Tell Zakariya only one-half; at Jerusalem the work was confined to the enclosures of the temple, a few city walls and a few churches, pools, streets, etc., but at Tell Sandachannah "we recovered almost an entire town, probably the ancient Mareshah (
(4) Painted "Tombs of Marissa."
In 1902 John P. Peters and Hermann Thiersch discovered at Belt Jibrin (adjoining Tell Sandachannah) an example of sepulchral art totally different from any other ever found in Palestine. It was a tomb containing several chambers built by a Sidonian, the walls being brilliantly painted, showing a bull, panther, serpent, ibex, crocodile with ibis (?) on its back, hunter on horseback, etc., with dated inscriptions, the earliest being 196 BC (see John P. Peters, Painted Tombs in Necropolis of Marissa, 1905). The writer (April 18, 1913) found another tomb here of similar character, decorated with grapes, birds, two cocks (life size), etc. Perhaps most conspicuous was a wreath of beautiful flowers with a cross in its center. Nothing shows the interrelations of that age more than this Phoenician colony, living in Palestine, using the Greek language but employing Egyptian and Libyan characteristics freely in their funeral article
2. Northern Palestine:
(1) Tell Ta`annek.
(Austrian Government and Vienna Academy).--During short seasons of three years (1902-4) Professor Ernst Sellin of Vienna made a rapid examination of this town (the Biblical Taanach), situated in the plain of Esdraelon in Northern Palestine, on the ancient road between Egypt and Babylon. Over 100 laborers were employed and digging was carried on simultaneously at several different points on the mound, the record being kept in an unusually systematic way and the official reports being minute and exhaustive. Only a general statement of results can be given, with an indication of the directions in which the "findings" were peculiar. The absence of Phoenician and Mycenaean influence upon the pottery in the earliest levels (100-1600 BC) is just as marked as at other sites, the kind of pottery and the presence of Semitic matstsebhoth (see Images) in the Jewish periods are just as in previous sites, and the development in mason work and in pottery is identically the same in this first city to be excavated in Northern Palestine as in Southern Palestine. "The buildings and antiques might be interchanged bodily without any serious confusion of the archaeological history of Palestine. . . . Civilization over all Western Palestine is thus shown to have had the same course of development, whether we study it North or South" (Macalister). This is by far the most important result of this excavation, showing that, notwithstanding divergences in many directions, an equivalent civilization, proving a unity in the dominating race, can be seen over all parts of Palestine so far examined. Iron is introduced at the same time (circa 1000 BC), and even the toys and pottery decorations are similar, and this continues through all the periods, including the Jewish. Yet foreign intercourse is common, and the idols, even from the earliest period, "show religious syncretism" (Sellin). From almost the oldest layer comes a curious seal cylinder containing both Egyptian and Babylonian features. On one pre-Israelite tablet are pictures of Hadad and Baal. The Astarte cult is not quite as prominent here as in Southern Palestine. No figures of the goddess come from the earliest strata, but from 1600 BC to circa 900-800 BC they are common; after this they cease. The ordinary type of Astarte found in Babylonia and Cyprus as well as in Palestine--with crown, necklace, girdle, anklets, and hands clasped on breasts--is found most frequently; but from the 12th to the 9th century other forms appear representing her as naked, with hips abnormally enlarged, to show her power of fecundity. One figure is of a peculiarly foreign type, wearing excessively large earrings, and this is in close connection with one of the most unique discoveries ever made in Palestine--a hollow terra cotta Canaanite or Israelite (
The high place, with one or more steps leading up to it, suggesting "elevation, isolation and mystery" (Vincent), is represented here as in so many other Palestinian ruins, and the evidence shows that it continued long after the entrance of Israel into Canaan. When Israel entered Palestine, no break occurred in the civilization, the art development continuing at about the same level; so probably the two races were at about the same culture-level, or else the Hebrew occupation of the land was very gradual. In the 8th century there seems to be an indication of the entrance of a different race, which doubtless is due to the Assyrian exile. A most interesting discovery was that of the dozen cuneiform tablets found in a terra cotta chest or jar (compare
These few letters cannot accurately be called "the first library found in Palestine"; but they do prove that libraries were there, since the personal and comparatively unimportant character of some of these notes and their easy and flowing style prove that legal, business and literary documents must have existed. These show that letter-writing was used not only in great questions of state between foreign countries, but in local matters between little contiguous towns, and that while Palestine at this period (circa 1400 BC) was politically dependent on Egypt, yet Babylonia had maintained its old literary supremacy. One of these letters mentions "the finger of Ashirat," this deity recalling the ’asherah or sacred post of the Old Testament (see Images); another note is written by Ahi-Yawi, a name which corresponds to Hebrew Ahijah ("Yah is Brother"), thus indicating that the form of the Divine name was then known in Canaan, though its meaning (i.e. the essential name; compare
On the same level with these letters were found two subterranean cells with a rock-hewn chamber in front and a rock-hewn altar above, and even the ancient drain which is supposed to have conveyed the blood from the altar into the "chamber of the dead" below. It may be added that Dr. Sellin thinks the condition of the various walls of the city is entirely harmonious with the Bible accounts of its history (
(2) Tell el-Mutesellim.
The sixth stratum might well be called the temple-city, for here were found the ruins of a sanctuary built of massive blocks in which remained much of the ceremonial furniture--sacrificial dishes, a beautiful basalt pot with three feet, a plate having a handle in the form of a flower, etc. Seemingly connected with the former town, three religious stones were found covered by a fourth, and one with a pyramidal top; so here several monoliths were found which would naturally be thought of as religious monuments--though, since they have been touched with tools, this is perhaps doubtful (
These excavations were specially important in proving the archaeological richness of Palestine and the elegance of the native works of article They were reported with an unexampled minuteness--various drawings of an original design showing the exact place and altitude where every little fragment was found.
(3) Tell Chum.
(Capernaum), etc.--In April and May, 1905, the German Oriental Society excavated a Hebrew synagogue of the Roman era at Tell Chum. It was 78 ft. long by 59 ft. wide, was built of beautiful white limestone, almost equal to marble, and was in every way more magnificent than any other yet found in Palestine, that in Chorazin being the next finest. Its roof was gable-shaped and it was surprisingly ornamented with fine carvings representing animals, birds, fruits, flowers, etc., though in some cases these ornamentations had been intentionally mutilated. In January, 1907, Macalister and Masterman proved that Khan Minyeh was not the ancient Capernaum, as it contained no pottery older than Arab time, thus showing Tell Chum to be the ancient site, so that the synagogue just excavated may be the one referred to in
3. Eastern Palestine:
(German Oriental Society).--During 1908-9, Dr. E. Sellin, assisted by a specialist in pottery, (Watzinger) and a professional architect (Langenegger), with the help of over 200 workmen, opened to view this famous Biblical city (
The walls even in their ruins are some 28 ft. high. They were built in three sections:
(a) a substratum of clay, gravel and small stones, making a deposit upon the rock about 3 or 4 ft. deep, somewhat analogous to modern concrete;
(b) a rubble wall, 6 to 8 ft. thick, of large stones laid up to a height of 16 ft. upon this conglomerate, the lowest layers of the stone being enormously large;
(c) upon all this a brick wall over 6 ft. thick, still remaining, in places, 8 ft. high. Not even Megiddo, famous as a military center throughout all the ancient world, shows such workmanship (compare
"These were masters in stone work and masonry" (The Builder); "Taken as a whole it may justly be regarded as a triumph of engineering skill which a modern builder, under the same conditions, could scarcely excel" (Langenegger); "It is as well done as a brilliant military engineer with the same materials and tools could do today" (Vincent). All the centuries were not able to produce a natural crevice in this fortification. At the North, which was the chief point of danger, and perhaps along other sections also, a second wall was built about 100 ft. inside the first, and almost as strong, while still another defense ("the citadel"), with 265 ft. of frontage, was protected not only by another mighty wall but by a well-constructed glacis. The old pre-Israelite culture in Jericho was exactly similar to that seen in the southern and northern cities, and the idolatry also. In its natural elements Canaanite civilization was probably superior to that of the Hebrews, but the repugnant and ever-present polytheism and fear of magic led naturally to brutal and impure manifestations. It cannot be doubted that, at least in some cases, the infants buried in jars under the floors represent foundation sacrifices. Some of the pottery is of great excellence, comparing favorably with almost the best examples from Egypt; a number of decorative figures of animals in relief are specially fine; the bronze utensils are also good; especially notable are the 22 writing-tablets, all ready to be used but not inscribed. Somewhere near the 15th century the old fortifications were seriously damaged, but equally powerful ones replaced them. The German experts all believed that a break in the city’s history was clearly shown about the time when, according to the pottery, Israel ought to have captured the city, and it was confidently said that the distinctively Canaanite pottery ceased completely and permanently at this point; but further research has shown that at least a portion of the old town had a practically continuous existence (so
4. Central Palestine:
See above, III, 1, (2).
(Harvard Expedition).--Although the ancient capital of the Northern Kingdom, yet Samaria was Centrally located, being 20 miles from the Mediterranean coast and only about 30 miles North of Jerusalem. Ancient Samaria was very famous in Israel for its frivolity and wealth, special mention being made of its ointments, instruments of music, luxurious couches, and its "ivory palace" (
(3) `Ain Shems
(Palestine Exploration Fund).--Tell ej-Jezer occupies a conspicuous position, over 250 ft. above the plain, and 750 ft. above the sea, on a ridge of hills some 20 miles Northwest of Jerusalem, overlooking the plain toward Jaffa, which is 17 miles distant. It is in plain sight of the two chief trade caravan roads of Southern Palestine which it controlled. The ancient Gezer was well known from many references to it on the Egyptian records, the names of several governors of Gezer being given in letters dating from circa 1400 BC and Menephtah (circa 1200 BC) calling himself "Binder of Gezer," etc. The discovery of the boundary stones of Gezer (see above) positively identified it. It was thoroughly excavated by R.A. Stewart Macalister in 1902-5, 1907-9, during which time 10,000 photographs were made of objects found. No explorations have been so long continued on one spot or have brought more unique discoveries or thrown more light upon the development of Palestinian culture and religion, and none have been reported as fully (Excavations of Gezer, 1912, 3 volumes; History of Civilization in Palestine, 1912). Ten periods-are recognized as being distinctly marked in the history of the mound--which broadly speaking represents the development in all parts of Pal:
(a) pre-Semitic period (circa 3000-2500 BC), to the entrance of the first Semites;
(b) first Semitic city (circa 2500-1800 BC), to the end of the XIIth Egyptian Dynasty;
(c) second Semitic city (circa 1800-1400 BC), to the end of the XVIIIth Egyptian Dynasty;
(d) third Semitic city (circa 1400-1000 BC), to the beginning of the Hebrew monarchy;
(e) fourth Semitic city (circa 1000-550 BC), to the destruction of the monarchy and the Babylonian exile;
(f) Persian and Hellenistic period (550-100 BC), to the beginning of the Roman dominion;
(g) Roman (100 BC-350 AD);
(h) Byzantine (350-600 AD);
(i) and (j) early and modern Arabian (350 AD to the present).
The last four periods have left few important memorials and may be omitted from review.
(a) The aboriginal non-Semitic inhabitants of Gezer were troglodytes (compare
(b) The Semites who displaced this population were more advanced in civilization, having bronze tools and potter’s wheels, with finer and more varied pottery; they were a heavier race, being 5 ft. 7 inches to 5 ft. 11 inches tall, larger-boned, thicker-skulled, and with longer faces. They did not burn but buried their dead carelessly upon the floor of the natural caves. The grave deposits are the same as before; occasionally some beads are found with the body. The former race had surrounded their settlement with a wall 6 ft. high and 8 ft. thick, mostly earth, though faced with selected stones; but this race built a wall of hammered stones, though irregularly cut and laid, the wall being 10 ft. thick, and one gateway being 42 ft. wide, flanked by two towers. While huts were always the common residences (as in later eras), yet some buildings of stone were erected toward the close of this period and one large palace was found, built of stone and having a row of columns down the center, and containing a complex of rooms, including one rectangular hall, 40 ft. long by 25 ft. wide. Most remarkable of all were their works of engineering. They hewed enormous constructions, square, rectangular and circular, out of the soft chalk and limestone rocks, one of which contained 60 chambers, one chamber being 400 by 80 ft. The supreme work, however, was a tunnel which was made circa 2000 BC, passing out of use circa 1450-1250 BC, and which shows the power of these early Palestinians. It was 200-250 ft. long and consisted of a roadway cut through the hill of rock some 47 1/2 ft. to an imposing archway 23 ft. high and 12 ft. 10 inches broad, which led to a long sloping passage of equal dimensions, with the arch having a vaulted roof and the sides well plumb. This led into a bed of much harder rock, where dimensions were reduced and the workmanship was poorer, but ultimately reached, about 130 ft. below the present surface of the ground, an enormous living spring of such depth that the excavators could not empty it of the soft mud with which it was filled. A well-cut but well-worn and battered stone staircase, over 12 ft. broad, connected the spring with the upper section of the tunnel 94 ft. above. Beyond the spring was a natural cave 80 by 25 ft. Dr. Macalister asks, "Did a Canaanite governor plan and Canaanite workmen execute this vast work? How did the ancient engineers discover the spring?" No one can answer; but certainly the tunnel was designed to bring the entrance of the water passage within the courtyard protected by the palace walls.
Another great reservoir, 57 by 46 ft., at another part of the city was quarried in the rock to a depth of 29 1/2 ft., and below this another one of equal depth but not so large, and narrowing toward the bottom. These were covered with two coats of cement and surrounded by a wall; they would hold 60,000 gals.
(c) The second Semitic city, built on the ruins of the first, was smaller, but more luxurious. There were fewer buildings but larger rooms. The potter’s wheel was worked by the foot. Pottery becomes much finer, the styles and decoration reaching a climax of grace and refinement. Foreign trade begins in this period and almost or quite reaches its culmination. The Hyksos scarabs found here prove that under their rule (XVIth and XVIIth Dynastles) there was close intercourse with Palestine, and the multitudes of Egyptian articles show that this was also true before and after the Hyksos. The Cretan and the Aegean trade, especially through Cyprus, introduced new art ideas which soon brought local attempts at imitation. Scribes’ implements for writing in wax and clay begin here and are found in all strata hereafter.
While the pottery is elaborately painted, it is but little molded. The older "combed" ornament practically disappears, while burnished ornament reaches high-water mark. Animal figures are common, the eyes often being elaborately modeled and stuck on; but it is infantile article Burials still occur in natural caves, but also in those hewn artificially; the bodies are carelessly deposited on the floor without coffins, generally in a crouching position, and stones are laid around and over them without system. Drink offerings always and food offerings generally are placed with the dead. Scarabs are found with the skeletons, and ornaments of bronze and silver, occasionally gold and beads, and sometimes weapons. Lamps also begin to be deposited, but in small numbers.
(d) During this period Menephtah "spoiled Gezer," and Israel established itself in Canaan. The excavations have given no hint of Menephtah’s raid, unless it be found in an ivory pectoral bearing his cartouche. About 1400 BC a great wall, 4 ft. thick, was built of large and well-shaped stones and protected later by particularly fine towers, perhaps, as Macalister suggests, by the Pharaoh who captured Gezer and gave it as a dowry to his daughter, wife of King Solomon. A curious fact, which seemingly illustrates
(e) This period, during which almost the entire prophetic literature was produced, is of peculiar interest. Gezer at this time as at every other period was in general appearance like a modern Arab village, a huge mass of crooked, narrow, airless streets, shut inside a thick wall, with no trace of sanitary conveniences, with huge cisterns in which dead men could lie undetected for centuries, and with no sewers. Even in the Maccabean time the only sewer found ran, not into a cesspool, but into the ground, close to the governor’s palace. The mortality was excessively high, few old men being found in the cemeteries, while curvature of the spine, syphilis, brain disease, and especially broken, unset bones were common. Tweezers, pins and needles, kohl bottles, mirrors, combs, perfume boxes, scrapers (for baths) were common in this stratum and in all that follow it, while we have also here silver earrings, bracelets and other beautiful ornaments with the first sign of clear glass objects; tools also of many kinds of stone, bronze and iron, an iron hoe just like the modern one, and the first known pulley of bronze. The multitude of Hebrew weights found here have thrown much new light on the weight-standards of Palestine (see especially Macalister, Gezer, II, 287-92; E. J. Pilcher, PEFS, 1912; A. R. S. Kennedy, Expository Times, XXIV).
The pottery was poor in quality, clumsy and coarse in shape and ornament, except as it was imported, the local Aegean imitations being unworthy. Combed ornament was not common, and the burnished as a rule was limited to random scratches. Multiple lamps became common, and a large variety of styles in small jugs was introduced. The motives of the last period survive, but in a degenerate form. The bird friezes so characteristic of the 3rd Semitic period disappear. The scarab stamp goes out of use, but the impressions of other seals "now become fairly common as potter’s marks." These consist either of simple devices (stars, pentacles, etc.) or of names in Old Hebrew script. These Hebrew-inscribed stamps were found at many sites and consist of two classes, (i) those containing personal names, such as Azariah, Haggai, Menahem, Shebaniah, etc., (ii) those which are confined to four names, often repeated--Hebron, Socoh, Ziph, Mamshith--in connection with a reference to the king, e.g. "For (or Of) the king of Hebron." These latter date, according to Dr. Macalister’s final judgment, from the Persian period. He still thinks they represent the names of various potters or potters’ guilds in Palestine (compare
The burials in this period were much as previously, except that the caves were smaller and toward the end of the period shelves around the walls received the bodies. In one Semitic tomb as many as 150 vessels were found. Quite the most astonishing discovery at this level was that of several tombs which scholars generally agree to be "Philistine." They were not native Canaanite, but certainly Aegean intruders with relations with Crete and Cyprus, such as we would expect the Philistines to have (see Philistines). The tombs were oblong or rectangular, covered with large horizontal slabs, each tomb containing but a single body, stretched out with the head to the East or West One tomb was that of a girl of 18 with articles of alabaster and silver about her, and wearing a Cretan silver mouth plate; another was a man of 40 with agate seal of Assyrian design, a two-handled glass vessel, etc.; another was a woman surrounded by handsome ornaments of bronze, lead, silver and gold, with a basalt scarab between her knees. The richest tomb was that of a girl whose head had been severed from the body; with her was a hemispherical bowl, ornamented with rosette and lotus pattern, and a horde of beautiful things. The iron in these tombs was noticeable (compare
(f) During the Maccabean epoch the people of Gezer built reservoirs (one having a capacity of 4,000,000 gallons) used well-paved rooms, favored complex house plans with pillars, the courtyard becoming less important as compared with the rooms, though domestic fowls were now for the first time introduced. The architectural decorations have all been annihilated (as elsewhere in Pal) except a few molded stones and an Ionic volute from a palace, supposed to be that ofbecause of the references in Josephus and because of a scribbled imprecation found in the courtyard: "May fire overtake (?) Simon’s palace." This is the only inscription from all these post-exilic centuries, to which so much of the beautiful Bible literature is ascribed, except one grotesque animal figure on which is scrawled a name which looks a little like "Antiochus." Only a few scraps of Greek bowls, some Rhodian jar-handles, a few bronze and iron arrow heads, a few animal figures and a fragment of an Astarte, of doubtful chronology, remain from these four centuries. The potsherds prove that foreign imports continued and that the local potters followed classic models and did excellent work. The ware was always burnt hard; combed ornament and burnishing were out of style; molded ornament was usually confined to the rope design; painted decorations were rare; potter’s marks were generally in Greek, though some were in Hebrew, the letters being of late form, and no names appearing similar to those found in Scripture. The tombs were well cut square chambers, with shafts hewn in the rock for the bodies, usually nine to each tomb, which were run into them head foremost. The doorways were well cut, the covers almost always being movable flat slabs, though in one case a swinging stone door was found--circular rolling stones or the "false doors" so often found in the Jerusalem tombs being unknown here. Little shrines were erected above the forecourt or vestibule. When the body decayed, the bones in tombs having these kukhin, shafts, were collected into ossuaries, the inscriptions on these ossuaries showing clearly the transition from Old Hebrew to the square character. After the Maccabean time the town was deserted, though a small Christian community lived here in the 4th century AD.
See also GEZER.
Most Important Recent Monographs:
Publications of Palestine Exploration Fund, especially Survey of Western Palestine (9 volumes, 1884); survey of Eastern Palestine (2 Volumes, 1889); "Palestinian Pilgrim’s Text Society’s Library" (13 vols) and the books of W.M. Flinders Petrie, F.J. Bliss and R.A.S. Macalister; also Bliss, Development of Palestine Exploration (1906), and Macalister, Bible Side-Lights from the Mound of Gezer (1906); Ernst Sellin, Tell Ta`annek (1904); Eine Nachlese auf dem Tell Ta`annek (1905); C. Steuernagel, Tell el-Mutesellim (1908); Mommert, Topog. des alten Jerusalem (1902-7); H. Guthe, Bibelatlas (1911).
Most Important Periodicals:
PEFS; ZDPV; Mitteilungen Und Nachrichten des deutschen Palastina-Vereins; Palastina-Jahrbuch (MNDPV); Revue Biblique.
Most Important General Works:
L.B. Paton, Early History of Syria and Palestine (1902); Cuinet, Syrie, Liban et Palestine (1896-1900); H.V. Hilprecht, Explorations in Bible Lands during the 19th Century. (1903); P.H. Vincent, Canaan, d’apres l’exploration recente (1907); G.A. Smith, Jerusalem (1908); S. R. Driver, Modern Research as Illustrating the Bible (1909).
Camden M. Cobern