Ancient Torah Fragment Restored
The Byzantine synagogue of Ein Gedi was excavated forty-five years ago and a charred scroll fragment was retrieved from the ark. The fragment could not be deciphered at the time, according to Dr. Sefi Porath, the excavator, and it was eventually scanned by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and sent to Prof. Brent Seales of Kentucky University, whose software was able to recognize the first eight verses of the Book of Leviticus of the Hebrew Bible, The discovery was quite astonishing to Pnina Shor of the IAA’s Dead Sea Scrolls Project, who said that “ we can now bequeath to future generations part of the Bible from the Ark of a 1,500 year-old synagogue.”
Obscure Drawings Found on Second Temple Ritual Bath
The mikveh (ritual bath) was discovered two months ago during the construction of two nursery schools in the Arnona district of Jerusalem when an ancient cave was uncovered. The mikveh was dated to the first century CE, according to the IAA, and one wall was found to be covered with Aramaic inscriptions and drawings of a boat, a palm tree and other plants. The archaeologists, Royce Greenwald and Alexander Wiegmann said such an assembly of symbols from the Second Temple period was extremely rare and for them to be found on the walls of a mikveh was a puzzle, as were the inscriptions themselves. They have now been removed to the conservation laboratories of the IAA for further study, decipherment and preservatory treatment. It is hoped that the inscriptions can then be read after which they will eventually be put on show to the public.
Chicken Bred for Mass Consumption in Fourth Century BCE
According to researchers at Haifa University, the first instance of breeding chickens and eggs for mass consumption took place in the area of Lachish two thousand three hundred years ago, before the practice spread to Europe. Professors Gilboa and Bar-Oz said that underground breeding facilities of the Hellenistic period had been found in the lowland area, which indicated local use, and the large numbers of bones at a great number of sites showed the potential for an export industry, which may have supplied other parts of the Middle East and even spread to Europe as well.
Washington Museum to Show Israeli Antiquities
The Museum of the Bible, which is due to open in Washington DC, USA in 2017, will have a large area reserved for temporary exhibitions, and it is planned to set out an area of four thousand square feet for a show of Israeli antiquities, according to a press release issued by Israel Hasson, director of the IAA, “which will make the archaeological heritage of Israel and the vital work conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority accessible to people around the world.”
Stephen Gabriel Rosenberg
W.F Albright Institute of Archeological Research, Jerusalem