Saturday, April 01, 2006

!!!!!!! 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

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