Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Maps and More

Enopoletus Harding (a.k.a. "pithom") called my attention to his recent publication of LMLK maps, which in turn led me to discover many other LMLK-related blog entries he's made over the past year. To introduce others to his work, I thought it would be helpful to provide some links with brief commentaries:
Kidding aside, I think it's wonderful that Mr. Harding is researching these fascinating subjects, sharing his thoughts with everyone, & that he was able to make use of some info from the LMLK Research website.

G.M. Grena

Sunday, May 20, 2012

King Calm

(Run-on sentence warning--take a deep breath!) I've been meaning to go for a bike ride through the less-civilized section of Los Angeles (known as South Central) to visit the landmark site associated with the beginning of the riots that erupted 20 years ago following the acquittal of police officers who had been accused of using excessive force while detaining a dangerous criminal named Rodney King.

Yesterday turned out to be the right day!

Along my 72-mile ride, I actually encountered multiple gunshots, but not where I was expecting to, nor (thankfully) in a criminal context (a police shooting range situated between the San Gabriel River bike trail, Carson St., the 605 freeway, Wardlow Rd.). At first I thought it might be a film shoot, but there usually aren't that many police cars parked at a filming.

I traveled the entire length of Florence Ave. from west to east, with
the infamous Normandie Ave. intersection
about a third of the way into it. For a Saturday morning, the community was surprisingly active, & in a very positive way. I would estimate there were dozens of families, groups of men, groups of women walking the streets dressed in their Sunday best (Sabbath best?), carrying Bibles, on their way to one of the many Christian churches along this street. Unless you were to experience this for yourself, it may seem hard to believe. Expecting to be cursed or assaulted for my physical appearance, I was mostly met with warm smiles! Everyone with whom I made eye-contact reciprocated my "Good morning!" greeting!

Using Google Earth, these are the 21 churches that appear over a mere 8 miles:
  • First United Church of Christ
  • Grace & Truth Evangelical
  • World Center Church
  • Love of God Missionary Baptist
  • Bethel Missionary Baptist
  • New Testament Church of Christ
  • Alpha & Omega Missionary Baptist
  • Southwestern Church of God
  • Angelic Institutional Christian
  • Love & Joy Bible Church
  • Gospel Word-Life Apostolic
  • Gospel Prayer Center for Missions
  • Faith & Hope Community Church
  • Divine Temple Baptist Church
  • Mision Cristiana Hebron
  • Traveler's Rest Baptist Church
  • St. Luke's Lutheran Church
  • Huntington Park Hebrew Congregation
  • St. Matthias Catholic Church
  • First Assembly of God Church
  • Iglesia Cristiana Pentecostes

Others are located within a block or two of Florence, but those 21 are directly along it. Amazing! And wonderful to see dedicated, devout Christians anchored in a region that needs to be reminded daily of God's presence!

G.M. Grena

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Oriental Candy

In response to my previous post about the funds raised mostly in 1928 by Elihu Grant (Prof. of Biblical Literature, Haverford College) to excavate Beth Shemesh, Jordan Wilson guessed $15,000, & Todd Bolen guessed $3,000. (Thanks, by the way, for participating guys!) If I had thought anyone was going to respond ("Oh me of little faith"), I would've taken the time to provide some additional background on the subject.

Unfortunately I cannot put those guesses in complete perspective with today's excavation funding, because such information is not openly disclosed for most excavations, plus it's important to note that most modern excavation participants are either volunteers who happen to live near the site, or they pay their own way to travel there & pay extra to participate. Rarely do excavators hire workers to perform the actual digging like they did in the early 20th century. But here are some tidbits & snippets to get us in the ballpark of funds expended on modern excavations:

Seven minutes into a lecture delivered earlier this year by the excavator of Ekron, Sy Gitin estimated that it would take about "several million dollars in 20 years" to fund a dig, which reduces to about $200,000 annually assuming 4 for the word "several".

Not a direct correlation to dirt-based digs in Israel, but according to a report on National Geographic, it takes about $150,000 per season to fund the work at the Queen Anne's Revenge shipwreck, situated off the North Carolina coast.

According to the IAA's public disclosure for 2007, they conducted 337 archaeological excavations using a budget of 155 million NIS, which translates roughly to 40 million USD using today's conversion rate. Note that not all of that budget was for excavation, nor are salvage excavations comparable to full-scale ones, but the average comes to about $100,000 per site.

In a privately distributed mailing list for the privately funded Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project, Chief Archaeologist Dr. Steven Collins reported that it would cost about $100,000 just to perform Carbon-14 analyses on excavated material (message sent Fri 2/24/2012 9:21 AM).

In a comment posted on the Bible Places blog, Daniel M. Wright reported that the customized camera boom used in the Talpiot tomb exploration cost about $50,000 (not counting the $120k cameras on loan from GE, nor any of the other expenses associated with the work).

Note that the funds mentioned below by Elihu Grant were raised during the economic boom preceding the decade-long Great Depression. He wrote this letter just a few months before the stock market crashed!

"Dear Dr. Field:- Your spirit has been a help. I am leaving the book you so kindly ordered with Mr. Hoopes, also please accept these others which I have published privately while at Haverford. They give some idea of my style and effort. I have had to do certain services which have not been wanted by the many and these oriental studies have been my candy."

"I feel that with the issuance of 'Beth Shemesh' a chapter closes. I have enough materials for another volume but this will do for the time. When you realize that all this pother is about a ten-weeks campaign in the field-work of excavations with a very slim staff and that it is taking all this time to catch up, even so far, you will say it isn't bad."

"Have you seen the enclosed by Dr. W. F. Albright our leading expert in the field?  'Time' magazine gave archaeology in the Near East a very good 'hand' a few months back. Mr. Hoopes has a copy. He and several have been most kind. An accommodation, or a little boost, at a critical moment has often come along to make the impossible possible in any sense."

"You asked me about the income for such adventures & I append a statement."

"The new chapter is to open July 1, and I am on tiptoe to see how."


"Elihu Grant"

"May 2. '29"


"Receipts for the First Expedition to Beth Shemesh"

"Oct. 10. 1927 an anonymous letter from a Haverfordian probably contained hearty expressions of interest and -> $25"

"Between that date and Jan 1. 1929 there has been received for lectures by the Director 185."

"From neighbors in Haverford & Westchester 120."

"From Managers & Grads. 245"


The format of this page aligned the numbers so you could see the sum of 25+185+120+245.

I was not able to positively identify the addressee (Dr. Field) or Mr. Hoopes, but there was a John Robison Hoopes, who was the 1921 Student Association President at Haverford College. I found records of several other alumni named Hoopes, so I have no way of knowing if this one was working in a Haverford bookstore in 1929.

The other books that Grant referred to as reflecting his "candy" may have included:

  • The Peasantry of Palestine, 1907
  • The Bible as Literature : An Introduction, 1916
  • Cuneiform Documents in the Smith College Library, 1918
  • The Orient in Bible Times, 1920
  • The People of Palestine, 1921
  • A New Era In Palestine Exploration, 1922

His reference to Time was "Science: Diggers", published Nov. 19, 1928.

G.M. Grena