Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hasan Awad Probably Found It

Last week's riddle was admittedly difficult. The easy one this week will boost everyone's Biblical archeology confidence. In fact, it's so easy, I'm going to disqualify Todd Bolen since he knows Bible places so well, & his participation simply wouldn't be fair to my other 3 readers.

This photo shows (presumably) a recreation of one of the most important Biblical archeology discoveries ever.

My main purpose in violating the publisher's copyright herewith is to give some prominence to the man who (again presumably) made the discovery, Hasan Awad (Hanajreh Bedawy). I keep repeating "presumably" only because if someone other than Hasan had made the discovery, surely he, she, or they would've been shown in the photograph. Makes sense, right? If I had made one of the most important & exciting finds like this, I couldn't imagine letting someone else be in the main publication photo ... the only possible exception would be if there were a beautiful young lady on the site, then I could imagine the director wanting to use her to promote the discovery, but Hasan was obviously not a beautiful young lady, so there goes that theory!

Oddly enough, I was not able to find any mention of him apart from this photo in the excavation report. (Granted, I did not spend an exorbitant amount of time researching it, so I'll invite knowledgeable readers to correct me.) And I only found a handful of substantive references about Hasan on the Internet, but none pertaining to this important discovery. I'll share just a couple for your convenience.

In BASOR 144 (Dec. 1956, p. 9) G. Ernest Wright wrote, "Mr. Hasan 'Awad of the Jordan Department of Antiquities served ably as foreman..." during the first excavation campaign at the site of ancient Shechem (Tell Balatah). The photo above & discovery I'm posing as a riddle is completely unrelated to this occasion.

The longest reference appears in "The Antiquities of Jordan" by G. Lankester Harding published in 1959. (Note: Now there's a cool coincidence for you, three guys with "G." for their first initial have now written about Hasan!) In the book's Introduction, he recalls 2 decades of work in Jordan from 1936-1956:

"My equally faithful and indeed indispensable companion on all these trips was Hasan Awad, whom I had first known as a small boy aged about thirteen or fourteen in 1926, and who had grown up in archaeology. He has a remarkable flak for it and a very sharp eye for ancient remains; many a prehistoric site was first discovered by him. He is also one of the finest excavators I know, with a delicacy of touch and a patience that must be seen to be believed, and great ingenuity in overcoming difficulties of all kinds."

So Hasan would've celebrated his 100th birthday this year or next (assuming he isn't still alive, & if you know he is, please tell him somebody still cares about his work). Happy birthday Hasan, wherever you are, & thanks for your excellent work over the years!

I'll give readers a week to post guesses about what Hasan found, & will elaborate on the artifact's details (which is well known to most people anyway) in my next post. Here's another clue: This discovery was not considered worthy of inclusion in the Biblical Archaeology Society's 2011 publication, "Ten Top Biblical Archaeology Discoveries", which were:

  • The Nag Hammadi Library

  • The 'Ain Dara Temple

  • The Tel Dan ("David") Stela

  • Mona Lisa of the Galilee

  • "Yahweh and His Asherah": The Kuntillet 'Ajrud Ostraca

  • St. Peter's House

  • The Siloam Pool

  • Ashkelon's Arched Gate

  • Jersualem's Stepped-Stone Structure

  • Jerusalem's Babylonian Siege Tower

I would argue that to even be considered for a list of the most important such discoveries, the artifact would need to be something mentioned in the Bible, or something contemporary with & directly related to something mentioned in the Bible, or be an early text of the Bible. I understand why BAS chose their 10 things, but several of them don't meet my criteria. Hasan's discovery does.

Taking a break from Heritage Singers this week to play three other G-men, providing you with a dead-giveaway clue to the riddle in the chorus.

G.M. Grena

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Arabic-English Riddle

It's been a while since Robert Deutsch has sent out a photographic riddle to his ArchaeoNews mailinglist. When I saw the following image today, I thought it would fit in with his tradition:

At first glance it's hard to imagine what the writer was thinking. I have no prize to offer, other than the stimulation of your curiosity. Here are some questions:

  1. It's written in English, but can you decipher any of its 12 lines?

  2. How is the writer or recipient related to LMLKology?

  3. In which famous excavation report was it published?

  4. Why was it published?

If no one guesses any of the answers (& it stands to reason that if you know the answer to one, you'll know them all), I'll reveal them after at least THREE blog readers (from either Blogspot or Wordpress) post guesses, no matter how lame the attempts may seem! So don't be bashful; be brave!

Comments to both of my blogs are moderated, so if someone does know the answer, I'll withhold approving the comment until next weekend to give other readers an opportunity to be mentally challenged (somebody near/dear to me used this innocent phrase once, not discerning the English euphemism).

G.M. Grena

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Two Seconds

I didn't want to interrupt my "LMLK Credit" series of blog articles, but last week the Bible & Interpretation website published my formal review of a 2011 Tel Aviv (TA) journal article by David Ussishkin. After publishing my Lipschits rebuttal in 2010, their editors had rejected my subsequent articles about the Flood, Homosexuality, Light, & Seal Forgeries, so my persistence paid off. They not only accepted this one, but included their customary promotion of it for a couple of weeks on their Home page:

They chose the tagline under the Redondo #62 H2D photo from this list of suggestions I submitted:

  • Early or Late LMLK Seal Design?

  • Ussishkin Is Positive This Is Negative

  • King Hezekiah's Economic Recovery Plan?

  • Ussishkin & Lipschits: Divided They Stand

  • Shining a Light on an Archaeological Dispute

  • Who's Wrong: Ussishkin or Lipschits or Both?

  • Divided Opinions Over a Chronological Division

  • More Academic Arguments Over Ancient Artifacts

  • Before or After Sennacherib's Judean Campaign?

  • Did King Hezekiah Have an Economic Recovery Plan?

  • Evidence for King Hezekiah's Economic Recovery Plan?

  • Does Positively Scattered Archaeological Evidence Exist?

  • Has This Seal Impression Caused Ancient and Modern Battles?

  • Positive Archaeological Evidence Without a Destruction Layer?

  • Can Positive Archaeological Evidence Exist With No Destruction Layer?

After drafting the core text, I thought it would be helpful to add section titles. The first one that stuck in my brain came from Malachi as I stated test criteria for falsifying the main thesis, & was pleasantly surprised to find apropos KJV nuggets for all the others:

"And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land; and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men."--Micah 5:5

"And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, 'How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.' And the people answered him not a word."--1Kings 18:21

"And they said, 'Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.'"--Genesis 11:4

"But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?"--Galatians 4:9

"'Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith,' saith the LORD of hosts, 'if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.'"--Malachi 3:10

"Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear, but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not."--Isaiah 65:12

I had fun writing this 2nd TA rebuttal, & as Ussishkin & others maintain their position, I don't expect this tug-of-war struggle to end soon. On the bright side, as more people participate in the discussion, the questions become clear, & maybe future excavations will provide the answers that we need. Just because I was not able to persuade anyone new with my arguments, I'm certainly not going to give up in despair.

Also this week, I heard Heritage Singers perform yet a 2nd song with LMLK content ("In the Presence of Jehovah" by Geron & Becky Davis) at their Vallejo Drive SDA Church concert:

In and out of situations
that tug-of-war at me.
All day long I struggle
for the answers that I need.
Then I come into His presence
and all my questions become clear.
And for that sacred moment
no doubt can interfere.

In the presence of Jehovah
God Almighty, Prince of Peace
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended
in the presence
of the King.

Through His love the Lord provided
a place for us to rest
a place to find the answers
in the hour of distress.
Now there's never any reason
for you to give up in despair.
Just slip away and breathe His name
He will surely meet you there.

G.M. Grena