Saturday, April 01, 2006

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)

No comments: