Saturday, April 29, 2006

Name that Tune; Name that King!

Last week I mentioned that I'd be able to work Quidam into my next book, but the book is actually about Qedem!

Riddle: What are round, red, & recently found inside one of the most famous kings of all time?

Here's my song of the week (31 seconds; 389kb) in fond memory of Zola Levitt (who left us last week), one of the few people to broadcast Biblical archeologists & LMLK handles on TV.
G.M. Grena

Saturday, April 22, 2006

TIP Part 1 Preview

My goal is to blog every weekend, but last week a very special event took place near me in Long Beach, CA--the final local performance of the Quidam show by Cirque du Soleil. It was spectacular!

The big news this week is that I received a draft copy of the first of a 3-part series of articles on LMLK postage stamps in The Israel Philatelist (TIP; published by The Society of Israel Philatelists). There's a 99% chance it will be in the June issue, which unlike some magazines, will actually be printed & distributed in the first week of June.

Of the 3 parts, this one presents an update on related archeological activities over the past few decades since the last time TIP published an article on the subject. Highlights:

* How I became involved with philately

* The Z2U drawing by Bliss that served as a basis for the design

* A photo of the actual impression Bliss found

* A summary of LMLK debate issues

* Why I refer to the icon as a "winged light"

* An introduction to Type 484s vs. Pithoi

* A call for philatelists to examine their collections for serial #s

Altogether, Part 1 consists of about 2,000 words spanning 4 pages including 36 footnotes, a photo, a drawing, & a table of serial number ranges.

I submitted Parts 2 & 3 in January (each with about the same amount of content as Part 1), but they've been tweaked a few times since then, & may need additional tweaking soon. This week I discovered a new element on the 3-mil asterisk sheets, which may have bearing on whether it was printed last (the past consensus) or first (the side I'm currently leaning towards).

These TIP articles will serve as a nice bridge/intermediary to the content of LMLK vol. 2, which is mostly done, & has been since last year. I'm dragging my feet on its publication for 3 reasons:

1) I expect exciting new revelations from excavations at Ramat Rahel, Gath, & Nahal Tut over the next couple of years, & it wouldn't make sense to publish v2 prematurely since it summarizes all the sites. I'm also hoping the Burj data gets published.

2) The stuff that's missing from v2 right now requires a great amount of foraging through preliminary reports & obscure books on various Hezekiah vs. Sennacherib scenarios, as well as laborious illustrations.

3) I'm still within my projected estimate of 3-5 years from v1; & since I'm the publisher, I get to decide whether the schedule can slip, & I'm not against it slipping if it's for a good reason (see reason #1 above).

In other news, I finally have a book in draft form that will serve as a bridge/intermediary to LMLK vol. 2! At this moment it consists of 364 pages, but the draft font is huge, & I'll eventually shrink it to keep the page-count closer to 200. It will definitely be a cheap (~$9?) mass-produced paperback, unlike the limited-edition hardcovers for the LMLK series. I expect it to appeal to a much wider audience than the LMLK phenomenon draws. Believe it or not, I found a way to connect Quidam to this excursus, & naturally, the excursus to LMLK!

Details forthcoming... (Gotta have a reason to attract readers to this blog each week!)

Song of the week: "Running Wild" by Judas Priest (click the song title to visit Amazon; click here for a 14-second sample; 174kb), 'cause what's the point in livin', unless you're livin' wiiiiiiiiiiiiild!!!
G.M. Grena

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Order! Order in the Royal Court!

As early as 2002, I speculated that the 21+ LMLK seals could be cut like a knife in 2 chronologically distinct strata attributable to the reign of Hezekiah, the knife being Sennacherib.

x2D & x2T
x4C, x4L, & x2U

Many specimens from the sets identified as "after-Sennacherib" also have incised Circle marks, yet only a single x4C & one x4L do (so far).

Originally, scholars upheld wide chronological ranges for the seal sets spanning multiple reigns (Uzziah, Hezekiah, Manasseh, & Josiah favored). But in recent years, the consensus has been that they were all made "before-Sennacherib" by King Hezekiah.

Feel free to post comments on other possibilities.
G.M. Grena

Saturday, April 01, 2006

4-Year Anniversary of Royal Publishing

Wow! I managed to upload, format, & edit almost 4 years' worth of E-mail news items (about 200kb of text) in <6 hours! What a relief!

You click on the April 2006 archive to download all of it one fell swoop, or select from one of the 24 headlines listed under Previous Posts. Now I just have to figure out how to get a link to an index of all 24 titles instead of the 10 shown in the menu to the right-->>
G.M. Grena

The Chronicles of LMLK: The Throne, the Clay, & the Videos

[This post is from an archive; the original message was sent Sun 12/11/2005 7:14 PM.]

It never ceases to amaze me: Every time I send out one of these E-mails, I tell myself: "That's it--never again--at least not for a long time--there won't be anything newsworthy--I hate bothering all these people..." Then within a few days, here we go again! Fun stuff! But please let me know if you'd like to be removed from this mailing list; I only write to people I think will find it interesting.

1) The Zayit Throne--oops, I mean--Stone

2) Royal Clay Manufacturing Facility?

3) LMLK Handles on TV with Gabriel Barkay


The Zayit Throne--oops, I mean--Stone

Earlier this week I attended a lecture by Dr. Bruce Zuckerman at the University of Judaism here in L.A. I've heard him lecture on 3 other occasions, but this one was simply spectacular. He has a unique, & very dramatic style that encourages & provides time for his audience (especially slow thinkers like myself) to absorb what he's saying.

This lecture was promoted in reference to the Ketef Hinnom silver scrolls because of his milestone publication last year (BASOR 334, co-authored with Barkay, Lundberg, & Vaughn) of new photos that allowed more detailed readings of their famous inscriptions. However, the 80+ minutes were spent with other major inscriptions he's photographed, beginning at Wadi al-Hol ("Gulch of Terror") in Egypt where graffiti preserves the oldest alphabetic record of AL (which could be read as "God").

He interjected a humorous/ironic interpretation of the El Amarna texts, sent from various Near East sites (including Jerusalem) complaining about out-of-control "insurgents" spreading "terror" throughout the land. Is history repeating itself?!! These Akkadian texts are also noteworthy for their Semitic glosses. Dr. Zuckerman envisioned Semites in Canaan narrating the letters to scribes who did their best to translate the message, but occasionally resorted to these glosses so the tablets would preserve the message as accurately as possible for people who either had no Semitic alphabet to record their words or were not familiar with it at the time (~1400 B.C.).

He prefaced his photos of the Ugaritic alphabetic tablets from Ras Shamra by noting they were, in his opinion, a more important 20th-century find than the Dead Sea Scrolls. While those preserve the Biblical texts written about 2,000 years ago, one of the Ugaritic texts from about 3,200 years ago begins with "the smiting of LTN, the twisting serpent", a phrase used by Isaiah (27:1) centuries later. This demonstrates 2 things: 1) Isaiah (as well as Job & at least one psalmist) were not inventing a mythical creature named Leviathan, & 2) Isaiah was indeed a well-read, literate individual (analogous to Milton, whose medieval "Paradise Lost" cited Greek/Roman culture).

It is at this point that he showed us 5 slides of the already-famous Tel Zayit Stone found this past summer. He recalled how Dr. Barkay, one of the excavation's directors, lamented that they had been casually walking past it for 2 years without noticing its inscriptions. And yes, "inscriptions"--plural!! All I've heard from the press reports & blogs from the recent Philadelphia conferences was that it had an abecedary; although one cited epigrapher P. Kyle McCarter as saying it was not really an abecedary, & now I understand why that may be. Dr. Zuckerman showed us the entire bottom inscription:


Here I've used my own system of U.S. ASCII keyboard characters to represent the Paleo-Hebrew, & I've written it left-to-right; the actual inscription would've been read from right-to-left (you'd have to view this message in a mirror the same way you would when I write LMLK, which in Paleo-Hebrew is "KLML"). The "@" is for Tet, & "$" for Tsade.


1) There are 4 swapped pairs of letters (UE, HZ, LK, & PO) deviating from the traditional Hebrew order: ABGDEUZH@YKLMNCOP$QRST. (I wonder what impact this will have on kabbalists who rely heavily on the traditional numerical values of A=1, Y=10, Q=100, etc.)

2) An extra line on the Hey makes it look like a 3-pronged Yod. This could be a mistake--the scribe may have started drawing a Yod, then realized the placement error & converted it into a Hey; or the extra line may be one of many random scratches present all over the stone (just like the one above the Het next to Hey). It looked like a 3-pronged Yod in the publicized press photo, but I did not even notice it in Dr. Zuckerman's photo under alternate lighting.

3) I used a "W" for the symbol written over the Yod because it's hard to say if this was an aborted Mem, a misplaced Shin, or a practice zigzag scribble.

4) The "||" following the abecedary may indicate the scribe's unique method of terminating an inscription. If so, evidence of other long messages on the top side is substantiated by 2 additional pairs of these marks, which are not actually straight bars, but vertical zigzags resembling the Mems on the Gezer Calendar (albeit with straight tails on the Zayit Stone).

5) The Tau, usually at the end, seems to be absent even though there's sufficient space between the Shin & the terminators.

If you're reading this E-mail in Courier New font that allots equal space for characters & spaces, the relative vertical alignment of the abecedary is approximate (U over Q over Z, but the terminators both align under the @, & the ? aligns under the terminators); it would be more accurate if I had omitted the Tau's space, but I wanted to emphasize that I did not see a Tau there.

I added a bracketed question mark at the end of the 3rd line because the surface of the stone is fractured/missing after the Resh. This, as you know, is the bottom of the stone, the top having a bowl shape. These same 3 letters, OZR, were repeated on the other side--when the stone is right-side up, but again, the rest of the inscription has been abraded. (Also note that some portions of the inscriptions were raised rather than recessed due to encrustation.)

Was this the name of the scribe? Was it, along with the alphabet on the bottom, a practice scribble for a longer inscription on the top/visible side mentioning a "treasure" or "help" (Helper/Warrior if read as a name) or altar "settle/ledge" (literal translations of "Ezer" & "Ezra"; Strong's 5826-5840)?

Even more speculative is another abraded inscription on the top side that Dr. Zuckerman reads as KC (Kaf+Samek reading right-to-left in Paleo-Hebrew; Strong's 3677), & translated as "bowl" in reference to the stone's bowl shape (note that Biblical translations are "full moon" or "appointed" time). Personally I think he may have mentally swapped KC with OZR ("settle/ledge" could refer to a bowl-shaped reservoir for a liquid offering on an altar). During the Q&A session afterwards, an attendee mentioned KCA (Strong's 3678), the Hebrew word for "throne".

Naturally, my LMLK antennae rise anytime an inscription can be read in relation to something pertaining to a king! It immediately conjured up in my mind the legends surrounding the Stone of Scone (a.k.a. "LiA fAiL") upon which the kings of Ireland, Scotland, & England have been crowned upon, which allegedly was the stone Jacob used as a libation altar (Gen. 28:18 & 35:14; this latter passage following God's promise of a nation [Judah?] & a group of nations [British Isles?] with kings), then revered & carried during the Exodus on poles through metal rings as Tabernacle furniture later was, it also being the rock Moses struck that water flowed from (Exo. 17:6 & Num. 20:8--"the rock"--a specific one, not just any rock; note the Scone's crack), & subsequently all the kings of Judah were crowned on (2Kgs. 11:14) until Jeremiah brought it (& King Zedekiah's daughters; the "tender, young twigs" of Eze. 17:22) to Ireland ("YR's Land", "Land of Jer.") to fulfill the "build & plant" portion of Jer. 1:10, etc. But I digress...

Another attendee asked about the possibility of the stone being a gatepost socket (I saw several of these with cuneiform inscriptions on display at the Univ. of Penn. Museum, & many more in their basement while photographing LMLK handles there in 2003); however, Dr. Zuckerman noted that there was no wear visible in the bowl of this & several other bowl-shaped stones recovered from Tel Zayit, one of which was made of expensive, imported red granite from Egypt. Do any of the other bowls have inscriptions? How many others may surface as excavations at Zeitah continue in the years to come? And most importantly, as Hershel Shanks reportedly asked at the recent conference in Philadelphia, "What does all of this mean?"

Anyway, after presenting the Zayit Stone, he showed the plaster Baalam texts from Deir Alla, whom he noted as a "stellar cursor" that blessed Israel, the Kuntillet Arjud inscription that says, "May [YEVE of Teman] bless you & keep you"--a great segue into the Ketef Hinnom amulets, which not only include that famous Priestly benediction, but line 3 of the smaller one (KH2) also mentions the "the 'warrior/helper' & the rebuker of evil"--possibly the same expression represented by OZR on the Zayit Stone! This supports Ron Tappy's interpretation of the stone as apotropaic in nature (although I think this interpretation would be stronger if one or more of the inscriptions had been in the Zayit Stone's bowl [like the later, well-known Aramaic incantations bowls] as opposed to around it & beneath it).

By the way, my antennae also went up when I saw the BR ligatures in "bless" (YBRK) on line 14 of KH1 & line 5 of KH2! Compare the H4C seal & the Siloam inscription BRs:

Please note that Dr. Zuckerman opened his lecture explaining the "complexity of assumption", & offered the humble caveat, "Everything I'm about to tell you is almost certainly wrong!" He closed with an ad for (which now has over 18,000 photos, headed towards >100,000) & encouraged us to "preserve [these inscriptions] for future generations so they won't be able to figure [them] out either!"


Royal Clay Manufacturing Facility?

Shimon Gibson also lectured a few weeks ago at the University of Judaism regarding his work at Kibbutz Tzuba (Suba), where he found an elaborate rock-cut system: a cave, a vertical shaft, a horizontal corridor, a flight of steps, & several external plastered pools. Most of you know that all the publicity this year focused on its proximity to the traditional home of John the Baptist just west of Jerusalem (see BAR May/June 2005, & Dr. Gibson's 2004 Doubleday book, "The Cave of John the Baptist"); however, his lecture put the entire history of the site in context. Based on plaster analysis, it was built sometime in the Iron Age, & its extensive water system begs comparison to King Hezekiah's monumental tunnel project.

But unlike that tunnel, which had a clear/obvious purpose for transporting water from the eastern side to the southern end of the walled city, the Suba system is isolated--a place for flowing water in the middle of nowhere! If its pools were for ritual bathing, where would the ritually pure go afterwards? By the time they got to Jerusalem, they'd probably become impure again (if not physically dirty from the donkey/camel/horse ride). In contrast to "thousands" of other caves he's explored, Dr. Gibson summarized Suba as an "enormous anomaly".

He also explained that this water system is unique in that his team of excavators has not yet found any substantial remnants of Iron Age pottery associated with it (in contrast to the piles of Roman & Byzantine pottery found in the cave). This leads him to wonder if maybe its purpose relates to the usage of the water rather than the consumption of the water. He speculated that one possibility is that it may have been used for processing clay.

Applying this scheme to Hezekiah's reign, which witnessed the most significant Judean economic expansion, maybe there was a major clay digging/mining operation in the Shephelah region (where chemical analysis indicates LMLK & Rosette pottery originated), then it was transported to Suba for this processing procedure (i.e., sifting, levigation, & convenience-packaging), then transported to a major potter's workshop near Jerusalem for forming/firing. Of course, after this the trail grows cold: Were the jars transported to the Hebron area for filling at royal farms, or were they distributed throughout Judah at Levitical dwellings where neighboring farmers would fill them with their firstfruits & tithes??

Maybe additional clues will be provided during next year's excavation season. Only a couple of weeks before his lecture as he was clearing debris above the entrance to the cave to make it tourist-friendly, he discovered an entrance to yet another cave!


LMLK Handles on TV with Gabriel Barkay

Or was it Dr. Barkay on TV with LMLK handles? In either case, I missed the original hour-long airing of "Upon This Rock" on New Year's Eve/Day around midnight 2001/2002. Its copyright says 2002, Zola Levitt Ministries, & when I saw its rebroadcast at the end of November it also had a new 2005 copyright; but you could tell from the context of Dr. Barkay's 3 brief interview segments that he was recorded in 2000 or 2001 (probably 2001) since the Temple Mount debris was dumped at the end of 1999 & beginning of 2000. Here's a transcript:

First segment (45 seconds):

[showing Dr. Barkay] "This southeastern corner is a crucial point in the Temple Mount. This was also a place where one of the pioneers of Jerusalem's archeology, [showing photo of Warren's team with him highlighted] Charles Warren, in the 1860s carried out his pioneering excavations [showing famous PEF illustration of Victorian lady-tourist being lowered down 80' vertical shaft]. Upon bedrock he found a rock pocket with an intact pottery vessel [showing 1-handled jug at bottom of shaft] of First Temple period of the 8th century BC. This is also very close to the place where he for the first time identified [showing first Z2D & Plus Mark handles above horizontal passageway] the royal seal impressions from the time of Hezekiah [showing "715 BC" on timeline], king of Judah. So we have here [showing Dr. Barkay again] intact layers of First Temple period underneath."

Note: The 1-handled jug appears just to the right of the LMLK handles in the scan of the "Original Issue of Harper's New Monthly Magazine--July, 1871" on my Rarebooks page--scroll down to about the middle of it:
By the way, just below that, I have several unbound copies of these 1871 articles with these illustrations, including the 80' shaft, available for--what else?--$18.71. Here's the photo of Warren & the shaft used on the video, courtesy of the Palestine Exploration Fund:

Second segment (60 seconds):

[showing Dr. Barkay sifting through debris in Kedron Valley by hand] "Here in this valley up here we see modern dumping area of debris which originates in a [sic] archeological crime in an excavation which took place upon the Temple Mount in November, 1999. [showing black/white video of bulldozers & backhoes destroying the Temple Mount] Following that excavation which was carried out with heavy machinery at the entrance to the so-called Solomon's Stables, the Moslem waqf [showing Dr. Barkay again] carrying out those excavations, dumped the material from there with dozens of loyals which moved out the material from the Temple Mount, dumped it in different dumping sites. This is one of them--the main one."

(Next a Moslem explains in Arabic, with English translation voice-over, that the mosque had to be built suddenly with no announcement because this is the only way to work with the Israeli government--"we have to impose things underground & then talk about it." Then they show Dr. Barkay pointing out the large capital fragment he found in the debris, with a voice-over by someone else describing that it's from the Second Temple.)

Third segment, 15 seconds:

[showing Dr. Barkay sketching non-descript "EB" sherd in his notebook, writing a paragraph about it in cursive Hebrew] "The goal is beyond any doubt obvious & clear: It is Islamization of the Temple Mount & creating facts, avoiding any civilized person from the world to have a say in what goes on upon the Temple Mount."

The complete 1-hour video (on VHS or DVD) is available online, but it's embedded within:
Click the "Enter Zola's Store" button.
Click the big "Videos" tab.
Click the little "Israel" link under the big "Videos" tab.
You should see "Upon This Rock" at the top of the list if they haven't changed it.


All 3 University of Judaism lectures--Dr. Barkay's lecture that I chronicled in the previous LMLK newsletter as well as the Zuckerman & Gibson lectures chronicled above--are available on audio tapes from the University of Judaism Dept. of Continuing Education.

Okay, that's it--never again...

G.M. Grena

"Remove the turban, take off the crown ... overturn (Judah to Ireland), overturn (Ireland to Scotland), overturn (Scotland to England) not again till He comes whose right it is..."--Eze. 21:26-7

!!!!!!! 7 !!!!!!!

[This post is from an archive; the original message was sent Sat 11/19/2005 9:07 PM.]

Foreword: In my opinion, what Dr. Barkay reveals toward the end relating to "7" will have lasting impact on the teaching of Israel's conquest by Assyria, & the historicity of 2Chronicles. Read on; I believe you'll find this subject interesting.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend 2 lectures by Dr. Gabriel Barkay this past Monday & Tuesday here in L.A. I took notes during them, but not while I was chatting with him in private. So what follows is mostly a paraphrase. In a few important cases where I use "quotes", I'm 99% confident these were his exact words.

Facts presented in Monday's lecture at the University of Judaism about the sieving operation are available on Zachi Zweig's website:

A recording of Tuesday's lecture on Jerusalem's 6,000-year history will soon be available from the California Museum of Ancient Art; here's their catalog of past presentations (including 2 by Dr. Barkay in 1992):

After Tuesday's lecture he gave some interesting responses to questions from the audience. One asked, "What are the population estimates for Jerusalem in 2000 & 1000 BC?" He replied that there was "not enough information" yet; so far scholars have made "wild guesses without any foundation." He had described late-19th-century excavations at the Church of St. Stephen located quite a distance from the City of David, which contained a significant quantity of Late Bronze Age Egyptian artifacts. The question related to why Egyptians would have established themselves there. Dr. Barkay quoted Joshua 18 (verse 15), which mentions a spring of "the waters of Nephtoah", but pointed out that when read in Hebrew this is "Mynephtoah", which sounds like the pharaoh whose famous stela mentions the elimination of Israel. When asked about Immanuel Velikovsky's controversial theory lowering the dates of pharaohs, Dr. Barkay said it "solves some problems but creates more." He described Velikovsky as an "original & bright man", & noted, "I still have fights with his daughter!"

And for those of you who have not yet heard about the Zayit Stone, please visit:

You can also hear Gordon Govier's exclusive radio interview with the excavation director, Ron Tappy:


(Monday night)

Grena: I immediately thought of you when I heard about the Zayit Stone last week! I remember during our phone conversation last year you mentioned that some jar handles had been found there & that Dr. Tappy would be publishing them, but I haven't seen anything yet.

Barkay: Now "I will be publishing them."

Grena: Were any of them stratified?

Barkay: No, they were "all" from the "surface."

Grena: Oh. (I expressed my disappointment.)

Barkay: But "we have Lachish for stratigraphy." I worked as a supervisor there. I was a "supervisor" at Tel Zayit too, you know?

Grena: Yes! It must have been hard to keep the Stone a secret this long! Will you be attending the Philly conferences next week?

Barkay: "No," not this year.

Dr. Ziony Zevit gave a 5-minute introduction to Dr. Barkay, saying that in attendance there were many "former students & form- ... actually, still friends, hopefully, not former friends!" When Dr. Barkay stepped to the podium, never missing an opportunity to entertain, he opened with, "Greetings to all my 'former friends' here tonight..." And this was a truly historic occasion in that it was the FIRST lecture ever given by Dr. Barkay utilizing MS PowerPoint rather than an old-fashioned slide projector!

For the next 60 minutes, Dr. Barkay spoke without stopping for a breath! The facts & data poured from his heart about the archeological crimes committed by the Muslim Wakf with the former IAA director, contrasted with the noble salvage operation conducted by volunteers under Dr. Barkay's leadership. More than 400 truckloads of history were recklessly removed by the Wakf; thus far Dr. Barkay's team has sifted about 70 truckloads of it, & has found "tens of thousands of potsherds" ... "revolutionary finds", explaining that previously it was thought there was no activity on the Temple Mount during the Byzantine period, but "how could they exclude 1/6th of the city?"

In anticipation of critics who may argue that the debris being sifted is not from the Temple Mount, he showed us photos of 16th-century Suliman tile fragments from the Dome of the Rock itself! Likewise, he countered the argument that sifting debris from disturbed/mixed contexts is an unscientific method--of no scientific value--by comparing it to surface surveys routinely conducted throughout the world, which are accepted & legitimate for establishing "scientific archeological context."

He called the Temple Mount a "crown over the head of Jerusalem."

Personally, what caught my attention were artifacts spanning the past 2 millennia with LMLK symbols:

* Freemason medal depicting the "Lamb of God" with rays of light

* Ivory cross & dice with Concentric Circles

* Silver St. Christopher charm with a Rosette in the sky overhead

And the pinnacle of the presentation--2 large/clear photos of the already-famous bulla found on September 27th:


The "====" represent 2-line dividers. The top register & right side are fragmented, but the key letters are the last 3: "AMR", which he read as "Immer". Dr. Barkay quoted Jeremiah 20:1 ("Pashur the son of Immer the priest"), & speculated that this bulla belonged to "another son of Immer from the priesthood 2,600 years ago!"

The lecture concluded with a Q&A session, the best one being from an elderly gentleman with a heavy Jewish accent: "Could their illicit digging undermine the mosques?" Dr. Barkay answered simply, "No." The man immediately responded, "That's too bad!"


(Tuesday night)

Grena: You surprised me last night when you said that "Arabic pottery" was your "favorite type"!

Barkay: Yes, it's "exquisite."

Grena: What period?

Barkay: The "8th century."

(Note: I find it interesting that Dr. Barkay used "B.C.E.", "B.C.", "Common Era" & "A.D." interchangeably throughout both lectures. He must like reading BAR magazine.)

Grena: How did you first encounter the jar handles with royal seal impressions?

Barkay: "I can't remember." (pause) I've found many of them myself, you know? I worked at Lachish & Ramat Rahel...

Grena: So that began in the 1970s. Did you meet Olga Tufnell when she revisited Lachish?

Barkay: Yes, she was a remarkable lady--brilliant!

Grena: What is it about these jar handles that makes people like you & me & Mike Welch have such a strong interest?

Barkay: "1) It's a riddle." There are many aspects of it we can't explain. "2) It keeps surprising." We keep learning new things as we go along.

Grena: That reminds me--What do you think about the northern sites where they've been found?

Barkay: Did you hear about "Mt. Carmel?"

Grena: You mean Nahal Tut? I heard about that this summer; now we know of 4 sites: Jezreel, where 2 handles were found...

(Dr. Barkay holds up 7 fingers.)

Grena: Wow! There were actually 7 handles found there?

Barkay: No--"7 sites!"

Grena: Wow! The only 4 I knew of were Jezreel, Kfar Ata, Nahal Tut, & Nahalal--Moshe Dayan found one on his family's farmland.

Grena: So what do you think happened, & why such a gap in the center of the country around Samaria?

Barkay: "Second Chronicles" chapter 30 tells us that King Hezekiah held a "Passover" & sent invitations throughout all of Israel, & his messengers were "mocked" in most places...

Grena: Yes, but there was a minority of faithful people who responded positively from that northern region.

Barkay: That "proves" it was not an "invented story." Otherwise, "why include it?" Why make the responders a minority? "It's not as..."

Grena: ...glorious, which critics say is the point of the narrative.

Barkay: Yes, & this may be why he named his son [the future king] Manasseh, because of the positive response from the territory of that tribe.

Grena: That's interesting! I thought it might have been related to his Egyptian alliance because "Manasseh" is an Egyptian name; it originated in Egypt. (Dr. Barkay shook his head in an expression of doubt/disagreement.) Can you tell me the names of the other 3 sites or any of the excavators who will be publishing them?

Barkay: "I will be publishing them."

Grena: Is it OK for me to tell my friends that there are 7 [northern] sites now?

Barkay: Sure.

Grena: On behalf of my friends, we thank you for all of your contributions--your work means so much to us!

Barkay: You are most welcome!

"The whole problem of the stamped jar handles is still in the balance, and every major question connected with them still awaits an answer. ... Were they receiving stations for taxes? If so, they would have been evenly spaced throughout the country, and not confined to the sparsely populated hills ... of Judah."--Olga Tufnell (PEQ vol. 80, July-October 1948, pp. 148-9)

G.M. Grena

Don't Miss Gabriel Barkay & Shimon Gibson in L.A.!!!

[This post is from an archive; the original message was sent Sat 10/1/2005 8:38 AM.]

For those of you in, or planning to be in, the southern California area during November-December, there will be a series of evening lectures open to the public at the University of Judaism on "Excavating in Jerusalem and the Mountains Around Her".

Tickets are $25 each, or $125 for all 7 lectures if you buy them before October 24th.

For those interested in the oldest known Biblical texts--the Ketef Hinnom silver scrolls--on Dec. 5th, Bruce Zuckerman will discuss his cutting-edge photography that has allowed scholars to read additional words that resemble Exodus 20:6, Deuteronomy 5:10, 7:9, Daniel 9:4, & Nehemiah 1:5.

Shimon Gibson has conducted numerous excavations around Jerusalem over the past couple of decades, & is the co-editor of the 2003 edition of "Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land"--an excellent, up-to-date reference book on all the major excavations plus many general subjects related to Biblical archeology. He's best known for his recent discovery of a cave that possibly belonged to John the Baptist. He'll be appearing on Nov. 21st.

On Nov. 14th, Gabriel Barkay will be discussing the Temple Mount sieving operation, & will almost certainly elaborate on the -YEU bulla recently discovered there! Anybody who's ever heard him lecture knows he's a walking encyclopedia! It was his team that found the Ketef Hinnom scrolls back in 1979.

Other speakers will be Eric Cline (Jerusalem conflicts/wars), Beth Alpert Nakhai (Biblical women/families), Thomas Levy (Solomon's mines), & Jonathan Reed (Jews, Christians, Pagans, Paul).

The Univ. of Judaism is located in Bel-Air just opposite the Skirball Museum on the other side of the 405 freeway (also very close to the Getty Museum).

G.M. Grena

Like a Bird in a Cage--More or Less

[This post is from an archive; the original message was sent Fri 9/9/2005 8:45 PM. Visit to see the Yeshiva University Museum's handle.]

In this issue of the LMLK mailinglist:

1) More Critiques of Minimalists--a Grabbe Bag!

2) Less Lachish Controversy--"All" Is Well That Ends Well?

3) More Northern Details--the MLK Valley?

4) Less MMSTery at Ramat Rahel

5) More Royal Postage

6) Less English Letters

7) More Lachish Morsels

Foreword: I've been hangin' on to this issue of the mailinglist after drafting it a few weeks ago pending the arrival of the latest issue of BAR magazine (Sep/Oct 2005), & it finally got here a couple of days ago. Big kudos to Jeff Chadwick for a FABULOUS article covering the history of excavations at Hebron! Coincidentally, 2 articles in the latest issue of Hebron Today magazine (Summer 2005) also mention the LMLK handles found in the Tel Hebron Archeological Garden (the site of 2 new apartment buildings--Beit Menachem & Beit Zecharya).


More Critiques of Minimalists--a Grabbe Bag!

I've been anxious to express my opinion of Lester L. Grabbe's book, "Like a Bird In a Cage", for over a year! I obtained a copy of it while finalizing my LMLK vol. 1 book, which worked out good because its content fits much better into my extended discussion of Chronology surrounding King Hezekiah & Sennacherib in Vol. 2. I wrote a 1,700-word, 16-paragraph review of it for the Eisenbrauns website, but as it turns out, they chose to only publish the 1st paragraph. So in case anybody was curious about what I said in the other 15 paragraphs, I decided to post them on Amazon. Here are convenience links to both sites:

"Like a Bird In a Cage" at Amazon

Who should read my review?
--Anyone interested in Hezekiah's confrontation with Sennacherib
--Anyone interested in the Minimalist/Maximalist debate
--Anyone who has read Lemche, & either laughed at his work or felt pity for him

Who should NOT read my review?
--Anyone who can read Lemche with a straight face
--Anyone who doesn't like the fact that God is King of the universe
--Anyone who works for Eisenbrauns


Less Lachish Controversy--"All" Is Well That Ends Well?

In the previous mailinglist, I mentioned my call for BAR to retract or qualify Philip King's statements about LMLK jars in his review of David Ussishkin's latest books (Jul/Aug 2005 issue, p. 42):

"all are from Level III," & "None [were] found in later levels."

In a phone conversation with Hershel Shanks, he interpreted Ussishkin's report from a perspective I had never considered; namely, that Ussishkin carefully worded his comments ambiguously so they may be limited to just the 8 stamped jars his team restored, & not the entire corpus of LMLK handles found at Lachish (& certainly not to all 21 LMLK seal designs).

It will be interesting to see which perspective future writers adopt. Note that one restored but unstamped Type 484 jar from Lachish Level II (2) was utilized in the famous 1984 chemical analysis (described as "Type 484" in IEJ vol. 34 #2-3, but "II: SJ-1" in Ussishkin's latest book). Thanks to Robert Deutsch for bringing it to my attention!


More Northern Details--the MLK Valley?

Following the previous mailinglist announcing the discovery of at least 2 more handles in the northern territory near Jokneam, Dr. David Amit of the IAA was kind enough to pass along a couple more details to me:

1) All the LMLK handles they found have 2-winged icons.

2) The site is located southwest of Jokneam halfway to Bat-Shlomo (I've obtained a modern Israel roadmap locating the site precisely), which means it falls in the ancient territory assigned by God to Manasseh (SW). I had speculated that it was Issachar, which encompassed Jokneam, but Manasseh was represented at King Hezekiah's reformation ceremonies as well.

A third tidbit available on the IAA website is that 3 LMLK handles were found:

Additionally, Prof. Alan Millard alerted my attention to General Moshe Dayan's discovery of a LMLK handle on his family's farm in Nahalal (as reported by him on p. 114 of his book, "Living with the Bible"). There's probably a copy in your local public library, or you can easily obtain a used copy for less than $5 at Amazon.

(There are also a couple of copies on the market autographed by General Dayan for <$100.)

So that brings the total # of northern handles to at least 7, representing H, M, & Z inscriptions (no S yet):

1 Nahalal (found on Dayan's farmland, probably during the 1930s, but possibly as late as the 1950s)
1 Jezreel (found west of the tel by children in 1960)
1 Tel Sharti (found on the surface in the early 1960s)
1 Jezreel (formally excavated in the late 1980s)
3 Nahal Tut (formally excavated in 2005)

It's interesting that all 4 northern sites form a triangular region from Qiryat Ata near Haifa Bay down to Jezreel through the Plain of Megiddo, but none have ever been found at Megiddo. See the new Northern map I added to the Geography page of the LMLK Research website:

(Note: The locations of Nahalal, Jezreel, & Nahal Tut are precise, but I'm still guessing on the ballpark location of Tel Sharti [Khirbet Sharta]. If you can confirm that my guess is accurate, or if you can specify a more precise location, please let me know! In my Winter 2005 Bible & Spade article, I showed Tel Sharti closer to Acco where I presumed Kfar Ata to be. A friend of mine who lived in the area told me Kfar Ata was renamed to Qiryat Ata, so now I show it a little south of Acco, but I'm still not sure of the exact location for Tel Sharti.)

If these northern LMLK handles represent only a shortlived remnant of Israelites following King Hezekiah's reformation, I would've expected only x4C stamps. If they were dropped by the Assyrians on the way back to Nineveh, I'd expect them strictly along the coast after departing from the Lachish/Eltekeh region, or through the center of Israel heading north from Jerusalem. Why just along this NW/SE diagonal skipping over central Israel (Shiloh, Shechem, & Samaria in particular which Assyria controlled during Sennacherib's campaign to Judah)?

When I wrote my Bible & Spade article, I chose my words carefully (e.g., I didn't say the northern handles proved the jars represented tithes). It is still valid to believe that all the northern handles were strays that the Assyrian army &/or Judean captives dropped along the way after the war, just not probable based on what's been published so far (i.e., they're all x2x seals, & the 2 confirmed ones are M2D suggesting they were probably manufactured after Sennacherib left). Hence, if the theories I've presented/revived turn out to be true, then these northern handles would imply that some priests/Levites may have continued their practice throughout the 29-year reign, even after most of northern Israel had been resettled in Mesopotamia by the Assyrians. "Imply"--not "prove".

Is it possible that some refugees may have returned safely to their homeland after witnessing the angelic massacre of the Assyrians? We know that the Assyrians not only didn't discourage people from worshipping the God of Israel--they actually sent a captured priest to train resettled Babylonians in Samaria how to worship God. Could a remnant of the refugees from Israel have returned to the Plain of Esdraelon (north of Samaria) after the conquest of Samaria? Could they have returned there following a defeat of Sennacherib at Jerusalem?

Then again, maybe these LMLK jars survived the 7th & 6th centuries in Judah around Jerusalem, & ended up north via Persian/Greek/Roman trade caravans!

An entire chapter of my Vol. 2 book will be devoted to this new branch of LMLK research; it raises new questions that deserve special attention. I've never visited Israel, but I found an online reference to the region SW of Jokneam as the Wadi Milik. I immediately wondered if any association could be made to LMLK handles, but soon discovered that it's actually called Salt (MLH) Valley. Maybe if more stamped handles show up there in the future, the whole region may become known as the MLK Valley!


Less MMSTery at Ramat Rahel

Congratulations to the team led by Dr. Oded Lipschits! Their renewed excavations have recovered several new/ancient LMLK handles along with representatives of other stamped handles from later periods. We all look forward to his upcoming formal publication of the material! In 1993 Dr. Gabriel Barkay suggested that the royal palace at Ramat Rahel may be the ancient site of MMST seen only on LMLK seals, but as I demonstrated in my LMLK vol. 1 book (Table 32, p. 360), Ramat Rahel holds the distinction of preserving more ZYF stamps than any other site, & even more HBRN stamps were found there than MMST. It came as no big surprise to me that Dr. Lipschits' team found only H, S, & Z stamps this season!


More Royal Postage

Noteworthy new additions to the Stamp departments of the LMLK Dotcom Shop:

Commemorative envelopes & postcards issued earlier this year featuring Hezekiah's Tunnel & the Siloam Inscription; & don't miss the link to a full transcription of Dr. Chaim Weizmann's historic speech at the first Knesset (it's the 5-pruta envelope just above his 75th birthday envelope):

A complete pane of 50 LMLK stamps & central strip of 20 from the rare 2nd printing:

A proof printing of blue 20-mil LMLK stamps overlapping green 5-mil, made under heavy security in the midst of the 1948 War of Independence--a rare artifact from the early months of the modern history of Israel, fulfilling Biblical prophecy of the restored nation:


Less English Letters

I heard a rumor that English may become the official language of the European Union instead of German. As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement, and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English". In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter. There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter. In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and shuld go away. By the 4th yer peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z", and "w" with "v". During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou", and after ziz fifz yer ve vil hav a reil sensibl writin styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezy tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru. Und after ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German!


More Lachish Morsels

1) Kris Udd has now produced replicas of the 3 most important Lachish ostraca that mention the prophet, the signal fires of Lachish & Azekah, & the one that ends with "LMLK" (interpreted by scholars as "seed to the king", "benefit/injure the king", & "royal grain"). They're great for museums & classroom lectures, & they're all available for purchase right now at:

2) I love rock 'n roll, especially the Metal genre, & finally broke down & bought a CD produced a few years ago by a Near Eastern Speed Metal band named Melechesh (neat name!) containing the song, "The Siege of Lachish". It did not live up to my expectations! Here's a link to my Amazon review of it.

3) I'm hot on the trail of another handle in New York that may have been from the Lachish excavations. It's presently on display through October 2nd at the Yeshiva University Museum's "Mining the Collection" exhibit, after which time it will go into storage. I'm corresponding with the curator to identify its seal type & confirm its provenance. Details should be forthcoming in the next mailinglist.


G.M. Grena (no spelin korektion nesesary)

LMLK Newsflash--Handles Found in North Near Jokneam--No Jokin'!!!

[This post is from an archive; the original message was sent Tue 7/12/2005 1:42 PM.]

In this issue of the increasingly sporadic LMLK mailing list:

1) Let the People Inquire!!!

2) The Private Collection of Miss Olga Tufnell

3) Retract or Raise the BAR

4) Apocryphal Apothecaries

5) LMLK Wine Mystery Solved?


Let the People Inquire!!!

Along with an incredible personal seal belonging to Amichai Makah (not to be confused with Amihai Mazar!), at least 2 LMLK handles with HBRN & ZYF inscriptions were found, according to IsraelNationalNews staff, "in the Nachal Toot area ... near Yokne’am [Jokneam, Yoqneam] in the western Galilee"!!! For a photo of the personal seal, & details on the excavation being conducted by Dr. David Amit (Israel Antiquities Authority) & Dr. Esther Eshel (Bar Ilan University), see the rest of yesterday's article online:

Jokneam (literally, "let the people inquire") appears 4 times in Scripture: 1Kings 4:12, Joshua 12:22, 19:11, & most importantly, 21:34:

"And unto the ... rest of the Levites, out of the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam with her suburbs..."

See photo (courtesy of for a geographic perspective of the area surrounding Yoqne'am (southeast of Haifa; southwest of Nazareth). From a LMLK Research perspective, this is important for 4 reasons:

1) Zebulun was one of the few northern tribes represented at King Hezekiah's inaugural Passover feast described in 2Chronicles 30:

"Nevertheless some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem." (verse 11)

"For a multitude of the people, many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover contrary to what was written." (verse 18)

2) If the LMLK jars were used for tithe/firstfruit collection, being a Levitical city, that is naturally where we would expect to find some. (Note that Beth Shemesh, Gibeon, & Hebron--3 important LMLK sites--were also Levitical cities.) As I illustrated in the Winter 2005 issue of "Bible & Spade" magazine, the only other northern sites where LMLK handles have been found belonged to the tribes of Asher & Issachar (also mentioned in 2Chronicles 30).

3) The handles found at those other 2 sites were of the M2D type. It will be interesting to see which types are represented by these new discoveries, but what's important is that they definitely represent Hxx & Zxx types, further reducing the likelihood that MMST represented deliveries to the north.

4) While the other 2 handles may have been brushed aside as strays (possibly even from the same M2D jar), this new hoard seriously reduces that likelihood.

(Thanks to Ruvane Bernstein for bringing this article to my attention yesterday!)


The Private Collection of Miss Olga Tufnell

During the course of my research into stamped Greek amphora handles for LMLK vol. 2, I discovered a photo of a near-perfect H4L from the private collection of Olga Tufnell:

She allowed her friend, Virginia Grace, to publish the impression in her awesome little booklet, "Amphoras & the Ancient Wine Trade" back in 1961. Last month I purchased the right to display a photo of the entire handle online. You can download an electronic copy of this book in PDF format, along with many other terrific Greek archaeology/history books, in the Guidebooks section of the Publications page of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens:

This H4L, along with the S2U recently discovered in the private collection of Donald Brown (who worked at Lachish during Starkey's excavation in the 1930s, & recently donated his collection to the Living Torah Museum), represent handles not listed in David Ussishkin's latest 5-volume final report on Lachish--the site that took a lickin' & keeps on givin'!

(Thanks to Jan Jordan at the Agora Excavation in Athens for assisting me in my investigation of this handle, & to Charles Watkinson at the ASCSA for his prompt, resourceful reply to my initial inquiry!)


Retract or Raise the BAR

Speaking of Lachish, I sent a rebuttal to Philip King's review of Ussishkin's book in the latest issue of BAR, essentially asking that his 2 LMLK paraphrases of Ussishkin be retracted. His paraphrases are accurate, but Ussishkin's comments are not, & need to be qualified so as not to bias new researchers:

BAR, July/August 2005, p. 42:
"all are from Level III," & "None [were] found in later levels."

Retract, or qualify as:

All (LMLK ***handles*** at Lachish) were ***NOT*** from Level III; ***MOST*** were found in later levels.

All (restored LMLK ***jars*** at Lachish) ***WERE*** from Level III; they represent both icons, but they only represent 3 of the 5 seal sets.

(Thanks to Philip King for an overall excellent review of David Ussishkin's overall excellent new set of books!)


Apocryphal Apothecaries

Also during the course of my research last week for the Chronology section of LMLK vol. 2, I noticed a chapter in Josephus that I didn't pay much attention to 3 years ago when I compiled the Non-Biblical Accounts page of the LMLK Research website. One particular sentence jumped out at me:

The king [Hezekiah] also made garners and receptacles for these fruits, and distributed them to every one of the priests and Levites, and to their children and wives; and thus did they return to their old form of Divine worship.

The word he used is "apotheke", which are generic storage containers of any size, from small handheld unguent bottles to large pithoi. Of course it's impossible to know if his source was specifically referring to LMLK jars, but this is one more small bit of circumstantial evidence to bolster the Worship Reformation theory over the Military Buildup theory. It may be from the same source that gave us the 2Chronicles 32:28 storehouses, but what's important is that Josephus specifically puts it in the context of King Hezekiah's worship reformation.

Note to those who believe Rosette jars were made for military buildup: Josephus also lists special vessels King Josiah made for Temple usage not mentioned in the Bible!

(Thanks to Josephus, who 1,900 years ago had no idea how happy he was gonna make me last week!)


LMLK Wine Mystery Solved?

Were the LMLK seals prophesying a king 2,700 years into the future? It's amazing what my research for the LMLK Vol. 2 book has uncovered while studying ancient wine labels belonging to kings:

I hope everyone is having a fun summer so far!

G.M. Grena (has left the building)

LMLK Vol. 1 Anniversary Update

[This post is from an archive; the original message was sent Fri 4/1/2005 9:14 PM.]

*) New Ramat Rahel Handles
*) New Old Lachish Handle
*) Hebron Inauguration
*) Shop Till Ya Drop: Stamps & Siloam Inscription
*) V1 vs. V2


Exciting news from Ramat Rachel! Dr. Oded Lipschits informed me of 2 LMLK handles his Tel Aviv University students found on March 23 while surveying the site in preparation for their first season of digging this summer! One is a severely fragmented S2DW (left side remaining due to broken jar; visible letters are capitalized here: sukE lmLK). He & I disagree on the identification of the other stamp, which is a deeply impressed x2x, but the handle is severely eroded. He has tentatively classified it as a rare S2DR. The icon's Head is elongated matching the H2D, so that's my assessment. He plans to publish them in a 2006 volume that catalogs all work at Ramat Rahel subsequent to Yohanan Aharoni's landmark 1962 season. Meanwhile, I encourage everyone to support the new activity with your prayers, money (contact Sharon at excavation at ramat-rachel dot org dot il), & sweat (if possible) since it may help determine what happened at the site during the 8th century leading up to Hezekiah's reign & Sennacherib's invasion:


Thanks to Jonathan Tubb for contributing an enlarged & expanded photo of an M2D with Circles found at Lachish (#273 in the list compiled by Barkay & Vaughn in Vol. 4 of Ussishkin's "Renewed Archaeological Excavations at Lachish"), first published by David Diringer in his 1941 PEQ article where it was cropped sans Circles. Pat Alexander & Alan Millard published a larger, color version of it in "The Lion Encyclopedia of the Bible" back in 1978 showing a snippet of the Circles, but now we can see them clearly at:


The inauguration of the Tel Hebron Archaeological Site will take place on the second day of Chol HaMoed Pesach (Tuesday, 17 Nissan, 5765; April 26, 2005) at 1:00 PM. For details or reservations, phone the Jewish Community of Hebron at 02-9965333 extension 0. I have still not been able to obtain a videotape of the TV report showing the anomalous Z2D & rare H2T found during the recent excavations there, nor have I been able to obtain better photos for use on the website.


I've expanded the page format of the commercial website at & expanded the Shop into 6 Department pages featuring LMLK philately (including a really neat Herzl cover I deliberately priced high because I want to keep it, but still wanted to list it so others could see it). Vol. 2 book will probably be the first book to formally connect the ancient LMLK seals to the 1948 LMLK postage, & I'm planning to include a set of 5 real stamps tipped/hinged into each copy in a clear plastic holder like the CD-ROM.

But the most spectacular addition to the LMLK Shop is in the Replicas dept.--a full-size replica of the famous Siloam Tunnel inscription commemorating this remarkable feat of engineering attributed in the Bible to King Hezekiah! Special thanks to Herb Stearns for arranging the loan of his replica, coordinated by George Sparks at the Museum of Archaeology & Biblical History in Albuquerque, & made by artist extraordinaire, Kris Udd. Unlike the replicas made of solid plaster in the past, which were very heavy to ship (>10 pounds), large/awkward to carry around to conferences, & subject to chips/damage, Kris crafted this one of lightweight fiberglass in 2 pieces (<5 pounds total). They're sturdy, easy to assemble & mount on your wall, & can be easily disassembled to take to your classroom or place of worship for educational purposes. Mine is hanging above the entrance to my bedroom to remind me when I retire each night of this remarkable treasure preserved through the centuries to complement the Biblical record!

Biblical archaeology anecdotes by Herb Stearns were added back in February--don't miss 'em!


One year after I submitted my Vol. 1 manuscript to the printing press, I am pleased that more than half of the copies in my print run have found homes! I spent the past year getting the website caught up & getting myself caught up on material for Vol. 2 content. I'm allocating the upcoming year to drafting the content (text & illustrations), knowing that an additional year may be necessary, then I'm planning to allow 1 more year for revisions hoping to eliminate all the minor mistakes that I missed in Vol. 1. So all in all, I'm pleased to report that I'm on schedule & all is going well. I've transferred about half of the notes I've taken during the past year into the Vol. 2 template, & it already consumes 183 pages. Thanks to those of you who complimented me on Vol. 1, & you're all welcome to peruse the content of Vol. 2 as it develops:

G.M. Grena

Special Bulletin: Ben-Gurion LMLK

[This post is from an archive; the original message was sent Wed 2/16/2005 9:51 PM.]

During the course of my searching for LMLK postage stamps, I found a very rare piece of Israel memorabilia that I'm presently unable to acquire, but I thought there might be some other LMLK friend, or friend of a friend, or customer of a dealer on this mailinglist that may be interested in it--a complete set of LMLK postage stamp blocks, postmarked 1949, & autographed by some important Israeli political figures at the time--the first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, & the first president, Chaim Weizmann:

If you have trouble with that link, go to & enter "flying scroll" in the Inventory Quick Search box. I would've included all of this in the E-mail I sent on Valentine's Day, but I just discovered it yesterday. I am not affiliated with University Archives--I just think it is a fascinating memento from Israel's history, & I believe everyone I'm sending this to has a similar interest in this subject. The LMLK stamps were an integral part of the historic political confrontation between King Hezekiah & Sennacherib, & again more than 2 millennia later at the rebirth of Israel's government!
G.M. Grena

"Well done, now give it back to them."--David Ben-Gurion to Louis Nir, after his unit captured ***Hebron*** in the Six Day War per Observer Guardian, Sunday October 28, 2001.

LMLK Update--Valentine's Day 2005

[This post is from an archive; the original message was sent Mon 2/14/2005 8:35 PM.]

For those of you who ***love*** Biblical archaeology--especially LMLK artifacts--here are 5 "significant other" updates:

1) Try to "keep it together" as you enjoy the newly published photos of the only unbroken LMLK jar recovered to date, courtesy of the Living Torah Museum (where it is presently on display along with broken LMLK handles also in Harvey Herbert's collection, which were formerly engaged in a "brief affair" at the Brooklyn Museum of Art):
And yes, that is indeed the one I've been mentioning on the Jars page of my website for a couple of years now as the only complete stamped jar, which has an H4x; now we know that it's an H4L.

2) Have a ***ball*** looking at the newly published photos courtesy of the IAA showing the deepest known impressions of the 2-winged icon, & ***kiss*** goodbye the interpretation of it as a flat disk/disc:

3) ***Wink, wink*** Smile, Tel Lachish was recently captured by a candid camera:

4) Question: What do the world's only underwater research facility, Elecia Battle, & the film "Dangerous Minds" have to do with LMLK seals?

Answer: (Seek & ye shall find by clicking one of the following links...)

In case some of you information ***lovers*** were not aware, there's a new breed of web pages gaining popularity over the past couple of years known as Wikis. The name came from a shuttle bus in Hawaii called the Wiki-Wiki, which means "very quick". The Wikipedia is the site I'm ***passionate*** about since it's shown up in many of my online searches. The key element of a wiki page is the ability for anyone to edit it & comment on it immediately. Here is a link to the main page:

If you've ever read a book & noticed something not quite right, something minor relative to the whole of its contents, you've probably been frustrated wondering if/when a later edition would correct it. With the Wikipedia online, now you can make the correction immediately for others to benefit from! Recently I constructed 3 brand new articles:
"LMLK seal"
"Biblical archaeology"

Somebody else has already added info to the latter on the Arks (Noah's & the Covenant). A few days after making my "LMLK seal" page, the people who manage the site nominated it for a 24-hour listing on their Main page under "Did you know?", which changes daily & is read by many people visiting the site around the world. Here's a link to the archive copy:

I also added paragraphs to the already existing pages for:
"Charles Warren"

You'll notice that each article page has tabs across the top so you can participate in a discussion about the subject, & I especially like the History tab where I can compare how the page has changed over time.

It would really be a nice project for someone to translate the "LMLK seal" entry into one or more of the foreign language Wikipedias. The "en" prefix on each of the links in this E-mail requests the English version, but there are also parallel sites for French (fr), German (de), Hebrew (he), Spanish (es), & many others.

You can contribute semi-anonymously (represented by only your IP address), or you can create a free account with a username of your choice. Those who have known me for more than 2 years won't have difficulty figuring out which one I chose! So next time you're online, "make a date" with the Wikipedia!

5) My LMLK article was recently published in the full-color "Bible & Spade" magazine (vol. 18 #1) by the Associates for Biblical Research. Non-members can order it as a backissue for $6 plus postage, or you can subscribe for a year for $17.50, or become a supporting member for $35. Call toll-free 1-800-430-0008 or visit:

By the way, today I heard that Muslims don't allow anyone in their culture to celebrate Valentine's day because they consider it a pagan Christian tradition. I've always been uncertain how to respond to people who ask me what religion I am since I believe these LMLK seals may be representative of the one true God, but after reading my B&S article, you'll understand why now I can say proudly that I'm a pagan Christian!

G.M. Grena

LMLK News: Happy MLK Day 2005!

[This post is from an archive; the original message was sent Mon 1/17/2005 11:27 PM.]

Here in America, today is Martin Luther King, Jr. day! Since the last mailinglist message was sent, winter seemed to force LMLK developments to snowball... Here are the headlines:

1) Royal review of the new 5-volume set of books by David Ussishkin, "The Renewed Archaeological Excavations at LACHISH (1973-1994) Volume IV"

2) Royal cover-up of "Ziph" stamp excavated from Hebron?

3) Royal snacks: wine, oil, grain = pizza, burgers, sodas?

4) Royal corrections to IAA database

5) Royal indictment against Robert Deutsch

6) Royal stempels for sale

7) Royal postage stamps

8) Royal Internet tools


1) Royal review of RAELv4:

I resisted adding any subjective opinions of my own to the website for 3 years, but felt that the subject matter of this review was important enough to break my protocol. This is dedicated to everyone who can't get enough of fun history like Sennacherib vs. King Hezekiah, Royal vs. Religious, Emergency vs. Long-term, Private vs. Official, Minimalists vs. Maximalists, etc.:

In addition to the link you'll find on that page to my other review of it on the Eisenbrauns website, they also published my review of Andy Vaughn's book:


2) Royal cover-up of "Ziph" stamp excavated from Hebron?

In my RAEL review, I reiterated that nobody has conclusively demonstrated that the H-, M-, S-, & Z-words on the LMLK seals represent geographic names. Riding that same train of thought, right now there are photos of 74 different Z2D stamps on the LMLK Research website, & in December I found another one online at the following 2 links reportedly excavated at Hebron (Tell Rumeide):

Even though the pages say it has a "Hevron" inscription, it's obviously a "ZF" inscription, the Zayin in the bottom-right register plain as day, & the icon's Head is characteristic of the Eagle illusion shown in Fig. 4 (p. 22) of my LMLK book.

The obvious implication is that it brings into question whether the H-word on LMLK seals represented the famous place named Hebron, & that in & of itself is newsflash-worthy! Obviously the publisher didn't realize the bottom register actually says "ZF". After bringing this to the attention of Jeff Chadwick (who has written about the walls of Hebron in recent years), I sent a message to Emanuel Eisenberg at the IAA, the excavator who has not yet published photos of the handles he excavated, & he responded via Raz Kletter (who published the most recent statistics for excavations at Hebron in 2002 [ZDPV vol. 118 #2]) that the image seen on the Hebron Dot-org website is not affiliated with the IAA, & not a scientific publication, & reaffirmed that none of the ones found by Eisenberg had a ZF inscription.

I'm digging into the details of each of the 60 LMLK sites in preparation for volume 2 of my LMLK book series, & know that there have been 3 significant projects at the site: one by Hammond in the 1960s (known as the American Expedition to Hebron [AEH]), one by Avi Ofer in the 1980s (which reported 5 LMLK handles), & the one by Eisenberg in the late 1990s (which reported 8 LMLK handles).

So I queried the manager of the website, David Wilder, who responded that to the best of his memory, he captured those images from an Israeli TV report filmed at the site while the Eisenberg excavations were in progress along with Alla Nagorsky & Yechiel Zellinger. Naturally, this is subject to speculation since I have not yet been able to obtain a copy of the film, which may have referenced artifacts from other sites (it would seem highly unlikely though--why would an impartial, ignorant film crew visit an excavation site while the work is in progress to report its artifacts & then go to a museum or private collector to find one to show?), but if this Z2D was not found at Hebron, then we are left wondering where it was found, & it piques our curiosity towards the 7 handles excavated from Hebron listed in the scientific reports as unclassifiable due to messy stamps. Could it be that this Z2D was misread as having an HBRN inscription, or could it be that one of the unreadable stamps has one or more of the M-, S-, & Z-words? We won't know until photos of every single one of the 13 handles excavated has been scientifically published. But I would contend that a film on the spot is more scientific than a book that gets written years/decades after the excavation.

Even though the Hebron Dot-org pages say, "All pictures on this site are curtesy [sic] of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Archeologist Emanuel Eisenberg," since he & Raz deny that it's from Hebron I have to assume that nobody can prove where this Z2D handle is, & who owns the copyright to it, so I'm planning to publish a copy of it on the LMLK Research website in due time in conjunction with a rare H2T that is also shown on another page of Hebron Dot-org obviously from the same "unscientific" TV program:


3) Royal snacks: Wine, oil, grain = pizza, burgers, sodas?

Speaking of Hebron, many of you are probably aware of the wonderful project being conducted by the IsraelVisit website. They've organized safe-surprise visits (sponsored by charitable donations) to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) throughout the land with fun food such as pizza & burgers as well as ice cream in the summer & hot soup in the winter, even seasonal treats such as jelly-filled Hanukkah donuts. Here's a page with photos of troops enjoying treats at the most famous site in Hebron:
While none of us can help King Hezekiah build up military supplies against Sennacherib's army, & enable us to help preserve stability in the land of Israel 2,700 years later!


4) Royal corrections to IAA database:

Speaking of handles at the IAA, I forgot to mention in the previous mailing that I recently submitted a 10-page report to the IAA classifying their inventory of LMLK handle photos, about half of which have never been published. Here are the overall stats:

Summary of LMLK stamps by inscriptions & icons:
32 Z(Y)P
2 Generic
9 Can't Classify

104 Two-winged
39 Four-winged

143 Total

Summary of LMLK handles at each site represented:
1 Arad
1 Ashdod
2 Beersheba
6 Beth Shemesh
1 'En Shoqef
3 Gezer
1 H. Sirta
56 Jerusalem
16 Lachish
5 Mizpah
36 Ramat Rahel
2 Tel Goded
1 Tel Halif
12 unknown

(Note that there are no handles from Hebron in their inventory. Debi Ben-Ami at the IAA confirmed that their Negatives database is in the process of being updated, so these stats may be revised in the near future.)

Summary of LMLK seal types:
2 G2T
23 H2D
1 H2T
15 H2U
5 H4C
19 H4L
12 M2D
zero M2T
9 M2U
zero M4C
zero M4L
zero S2DR
5 S2DW
4 S2U
7 S4L
7 x2x
2 x4x
21 Z2D
1 Z2T
4 Z2U
2 Z4CI
1 Z4CY
3 Z4L

I was able to purchase the right to publish 2 very important ones, but alas, cannot afford to do them all. Look for them to be online by the end of the month; they're the ones with deep Central Circular Objects I based Fig. 3 on p. 21 of my book upon that blow "sun disc/disk" terminology out of the water! And kudos to Noga Z'evi at the IAA for helping me to resolve some of the discrepancies I found.


5) Royal indictment against Robert Deutsch

Speaking of the IAA, probably everyone on this mailinglist has by now heard about their investigation into an antiquities forgery ring, so I would like to offer my opinion that Robert Deutsch is absolutely ***GUILTY*** ... of being very generous & helpful to me over the past 5 years, & especially when I became involved in LMLK research 3 years ago. Indeed, as I related at the beginning & end of my LMLK book, he is one of the people who deserves joint credit for the LMLK research that I've done even though he & I disagree on several of the theories surrounding the subject (but then again, almost everybody disagrees with me on one or more facets of this engrossing subject). I did not see an actual list of the specific indictments the Israel police made against him, so I have no comments related to that matter (aside from saying that I disagree with his paleographic analysis of the Jehoash tablet, but I'll elaborate on that subject when I post details on his own website where he has invited comments from his readers). As with any criminal case, I hope that justice is served, & that anybody convicted of a crime gets his/her just reward.

At this point, I am confident that all LMLK stamps are genuine. The only one that I know of that is fake (which I do not have photos of & have never seen in person) was described to me as a genuine ancient handle with a genuine 2-winged LMLK stamp (a typically very poor, weak one), but somebody artificially engraved an exceptionally perfect 2-line Personal stamp near it to increase its value (similar to the charges made against the ivory pomegranate & James ossuary). According to the anonymous dealer who refused to buy it from the unreliable person attempting to sell it, it was an obvious forgery. Only one other anonymous dealer has told me to beware of some genuine LMLK handles that had been tampered with in a similar manner. Every antiquities dealer I've ever spoken with has told me they've never seen a totally fake LMLK handle on the market. Note that I, myself, am the only person selling fake LMLK handles at the LMLK Dotcom shop--plastic replicas that look terrific, but I would feel very sorry for anybody who couldn't tell the difference between soft plastic & vitrified pottery! But since I don't want to even take a chance on somebody not knowing the difference, I write "" on the back of them in indelible ink. If only all fakes were so easy to discern!

It's very unlikely that any of the LMLK handles are fake because it would require a great deal of work/effort/risk for someone to manufacture a complete, large storage jar (a tremendous task in itself considering the kiln size required), then apply a fake patina to the jar, then smash it, then apply a secondary fake patina to the handles, & then market only its handles for only a few hundred dollars each at the most. And on top of all that, hope that watchdogs like Michael Welch & I (who scrutinize every aspect of every handle that crosses our paths) don't discover any errors or suspicious characteristics. Considering that there are only about a thousand unprovenanced LMLK handles in the world, this has not been a profitable commodity. It is much more profitable to manufacture fake coins by the tens of thousands, & cuneiform tablets & Egyptian ushabtis by the tens of thousands; I'm sure it is much more convenient for opportunists to find genuine artifacts littering the territory of ancient Judah & pawn them for some quick cash.

The present indictments involve the painstaking forgeries of only the rarest, unique types of artifacts such as the ossuary, tablet, pomegranate, seal jewels, bullae, & possibly some inked ostraca--each worth tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars for tremendous profit. If any of the unprovenanced LMLK handles are completely fake, then all unprovenanced artifacts are fake. And if that were the case, then why all the uproar over ancient sites being looted? If anyone is guilty, it is the government of Israel for not protecting its sites from looters, or for not establishing a sensible policy of allowing/encouraging finders to report their finds so they can be properly documented & sold for profit to benefit the finder & taxed to benefit the government. But how can Israel justify spending the resources to do that while they are busy defending themselves from Arab/Palestinian/Muslim terrorists?

Though I can't prove scientifically the authenticity of any artifacts I own, I can give one example of why I believe that the most valuable handle in my Redondo Beach collection is authentic. It is the famous double-stamped M4L whose inscription is featured on the cover of my LMLK book & the splash page of LMLK Dotcom (also published in BAR magazine, Jan/Feb 2004, vol. 30 #1, p. 62). When I acquired it in February of 2003, only one other indisputable M4L had been published--the famous one excavated at Lachish in the 1930s published by Diringer in 1941 (presently kept at the British Museum). That stamp was weak in the bottom-left register, yet mine was stamped very deep displaying an oddly-placed divider dot. Very suspicious. I thought it was strange that the ancient engraver would place it there since the dots on other LMLK seals appear more to the left of the final letter. When I visited the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology (UPMA) in May of 2003, I searched through James Pritchard's field notes to see if he had made a drawing of a second rare M4C (not M4L) retained by Amman following his excavations at Gibeon; I was hoping to find additional details on this, the most rare of all LMLK seals. The UPMA archivist told me not to get my hopes up because Pritchard's records were not very good, & the curator had told me that the handles were not locatable in the Amman museum. Yet lo & behold, I found not only his original drawings but photos of the stamps retained in Amman & lost in transit to the U.S. Imagine my elation & the huge smile across my face when for the first time since the 1950s I beheld, not another M4C, but an M4L showing the same huge divider dot in the exact same place as on my specimen! Pritchard had made a mistake in his famous 1959 publication, "Hebrew Inscriptions & Stamps from Gibeon", that nobody else was aware of for half a century! The IAA-licensed antiquities dealer who had sold my suspicious-looking M4L handle to me half a year earlier: Robert Deutsch.




6) Royal stempels for sale

Speaking of rare things from half a century ago (the 100th anniversary of Warren's original 1868-9 LMLK discovery to be more precise), I recently acquired several copies of Peter Welten's famous German book, "Die Königs-Stempel" ("The King's Stamps")--the first book devoted exclusively to the LMLK subject. I had thought they were out of print, but found out that less than 10 copies remain, & they are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the LMLK Dotcom shop for those of who can read German, or would just like to have one to supplement your LMLK collection:


7) Royal postage stamps

Hey to all my correspondents in Israel--especially those of you over the age of 57--why didn't any of you tell me that the LMLK seals were featured by the Israel Postal Authority for the first Rosh Hashanah of statehood??? Shame on you!!! Collector Herb Stearns turned me on to this wonderful little facet of LMLK history for which I am grateful & excited! I added a page for the Research website replete with details:

And I'll soon be adding specimens of various quality & configurations to the LMLK Dotcom Shop for collectors to purchase after I stock up--let me know if you want to be notified when they're available (I ordered samples from 3 online dealers a week ago hoping to be ready for MLK day, but unfortunately none of them have arrived yet). Or I'm sure some of you will raid your nearest neighborhood philatelic dealer...


8) Royal Internet tools:

Here's a site that allows you to monitor any page on the Web, & it'll send you an E-mail when it changes. I'd recommend setting it to the LMLK Updates page!


Here's a site that began taking snapshots of web pages a few years ago, & now it has a catalog of more than 10 billion sites! The feature is called "The Wayback Machine", & it will allow you to view the LMLK Research Website as far back as the summer of 2002 even while it was located on my AT&T domain before I purchased the URL:


Happy MLK day!
G.M. Grena

LMLK Newsflash--Oded Golan & Robert Deutsch Indicted By Israeli Police

[This post is from an archive; the original message was sent Wed 12/29/2004 12:54 PM.]

According to Reuters & the Associated Press, this morning Israeli police indicted Oded Golan (the James Ossuary collector) along with 3 antiquities dealers (Robert Deutsch, Shlomo Cohen, & Faiz al-Amaleh) on 18 counts including forgery, receiving fraudulent goods, damaging antiquities, & obstruction of justice. [Article no longer available online.]

Naturally, this is just an indictment & will have to be proven in court, but its impact on Biblical archaeology will be profound & long-lasting irrespective of the outcome. I would hope that its impact on LMLK research will be minimal.

G.M. Grena

P.S. I'm presently working on a detailed E-mail review of David Ussishkin's new landmark 5-volume series of books on Lachish, as well as another controversial issue surrounding excavations at Biblical Hebron & the LMLK jar handles found there. Expect to receive it in mid-January.

SURPRISE--Western Wall Excavations Beginning Soon!

[This post is from an archive; the original message was sent Mon 12/13/2004 4:53 PM.]

Exciting news as I would expect LMLK handles to be found here like they have been at all other excavations around the Temple Mount! Details courtesy of Arutz Sheva via the Israel National News:

Jerusalem city engineers will take down the hill jutting out from the Western Wall, replacing it with a bridge. Archaeologists expect to find treasures, such as a tall gate from the Second Temple.

The Jerusalem Municipality has decided to take down the hill that leads up from the Western Wall (Kotel) entrance to the Temple Mount, for fear that it might otherwise collapse. The walkway up the hill leads to the Mughrabim Gate, which is currently the only entrance for Jews to the Temple Mount. The city plans to replace the hill with a bridge that will lead into the Mughrabim Gate.

The plans are a bonanza for students of Jerusalem history, as the removal of the hill will uncover an eight-meter high gate leading into the Temple Mount. The gate, dating from the period of the Second Temple, is known as Barclay's Gate, after the 19th-century American consul who first identified it.

In addition, archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar told Arutz-7 today, "it's not every day that we get to excavate so close to the Western Wall. We expect to find, as we did in other excavations nearby, the Roman street alongside the Temple Mount structure, and many other treasures." She said that Barclay's Gate descends several meters below the current street level of the Western Wall plaza. "Today, only the top of its lintel can be seen [from the women's section]. It is very beautiful, and when it is uncovered it will be one of the most beautiful scenes in the Old City."

The hill in question, located to the right of the women's section when facing the Wall, is an ancient one, comprising several layers of old buildings. Dr. Mazar said that some of them may be as old as the Mamluke Period, some 700 years ago, but under them are remnants from the Second Temple Period, 2,000 years ago. "I assume that they will study these structures, and document whatever needs to be learned, but in the end, the real find lies behind them. I assume, therefore, that the authorities will remove whatever now forms the hill, so that the full glory of the Wall and the Gate can be seen... It should be a matter of months."

The entire area that is currently the Western Wall plaza was filled with low buildings when Israel liberated the area during the Six Day War of June 1967, and was later cleared away – except for the area on which lies the walkway-hill leading to the Mughrabim Gate.

City engineers fear that the collapse of the hill that began last winter could continue this year, leading to a total collapse. Part of the women's section of the Western Wall plaza is already closed off for fear that worshipers below may be injured by falling rocks and earth, or by a major cave-in. The collapse began last year following a week of heavy rains, a snowstorm and an earthquake.

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation launched a new website last night, providing historical information on the Western Wall and real-time photos thereof. The site's English version is scheduled to be ready on January 20, 2005:

G.M. Grena

LMLK News--Lachish, Jerusalem, Ramat Rahel (not necessarily in that order)

[This post is from an archive; the original message was sent Tue 12/7/2004 9:57 PM. I eventually published the S2U handle; visit to see it.]

1) Starkey's Surprise S2U Survivor
2) Renewed Ramat Rahel/Rachel Recoveries
3) Jerusalem Junk/Junque Journal
4) Royal Oil Spoiled?


Starkey's Surprise S2U Survivor

In response to the wonderful description of Rabbi Shaul Shimon Deutsch's efforts at the Living Torah Museum featured on pp. 47-51 of the current issue of BAR magazine, Donald F. Brown contacted the rabbi & donated his private collection of artifacts from Lachish. Isn't it illegal to pick up artifacts from sites you visit in Israel & take them home with you? Nowadays (i.e., since the 1970s) it is, but this collection preceded the formation of the state of Israel! It turns out that Donald Brown was a surveyor for the Wellcome-Marston expedition during the 1930s & is still alive! As you know, hundreds of LMLK handles were recovered from this famous excavation, & James Starkey (director of the digs) allowed members of the team to take certain items home as mementoes of their efforts. For decades they have remained with Mr. Brown, & now they will be preserved & displayed for future generations! After reading Barkay/Vaughn's discovery of LMLK handles in the Reifenberg collection (Tel Aviv Journal vol. 23, p. 63), it makes me wonder how many others are still out there never accounted for by the Diringer/Tufnell report, & how many may have already been lost/destroyed due to the owners passing away & their inheritors thinking they were just worthless, broken pieces of junk instead of treasured junque! Photos of all the items--pots found near the northern city wall blackened by destruction fire, a pair of bronze shackles, & a jar stopper--will soon be added to but for now you can sneak-peak preview photos of an exceptional H2U handle:

Speaking of Lachish, David Ussishkin's landmark 5-volume set is now available, & you can preview the complete contents in an online .PDF file (note that the LMLK chapters are in Volume IV including the Barkay/Vaughn report from TA that I just referenced):


Renewed Ramat Rahel/Rachel Recoveries

The site that has produced the third-largest quantity of LMLK handles to date (behind Lachish & Jerusalem respectively) will possibly produce more next summer! Yohanan Aharoni performed the initial work there in the late 1950s & early 1960s but was not able to conclude anything decisive about the seal types due to the poor documentation system at the time. Were there any indications that certain types were found beneath the Stratum V palace (ascribed to King Jehoiachin by Aharoni) or amongst its rubble? Gabriel Barkay's data still awaits publication, but whatever he found has led him to assert that King Hezekiah had a palace there prior to the Assyrian occupation & that Ramat Rahel was MMST. Note that the Ramat Rahel article he submitted to BAR in early 2003 is still pending publication as well. For now, you can read all about the upcoming excavation activity at 2 new websites; the first contains info about the digs, the second promotes the beautiful/luxurious new resort hotel adjacent to the site & fit for a king:
Registration is possible until March 19, 2005. For any additional questions, please write to Peter van der Veen, especially if you'd like to visit other important LMLK sites such as Lachish, Timnah, & Beth Shemesh while you're there.


Jerusalem Junk/Junque Journal

For those of you participating financially in the Temple Mount sieve salvage reported in the previous LMLK mailinglist, Zachi Zweig informed me that the material has been successfully transferred to a safe storage location & the operation has begun with a special screen machine! It's a noble, respectable effort even if nothing significant is recovered, but I'm hopeful that many wonderful things will be found. My use of junk/junque in this E-mail are from memories of a book I saw during my childhood entitled, "One Man's Junk is Another Man's Junque". "Junk" was written in clumsy, scratchy handwriting, while "Junque" was written with elegant, cursive penmanship.


Royal Oil Spoiled?

I've posted some comments challenging the LMLK oil jar inscription published in "Windows to the Past" (1997) by Robert Deutsch & Michael Heltzer, & invite others to express their opinions--the more the merrier:
I apologize for my text editor that omits my paragraph breaks, but in hindsight my super-long paragraph hearkens back to the ancient days before paragraphs were invented, & sets the mood for discussing ancient inscriptions (at least that's my story & I'm stickin' to it). I also followed it up tonight after noticing my ***GIANT*** goof that the authors did publish the volume (48.6 liters), & I'm embarrassed by this mistake, yet I stand by my other critiques. And you can see the inscription at:


G.M. Grena (tonight only, the "G" stands for "goof")