Archaeologists in Jerusalem have unearthed a trove of 1,500 ivory fragments dating to the First Temple era. The artifacts were excavated at the Givati Parking Lot but only came to light when material was wet-sifted at the Emek Tzurim National Park. The ivory pieces themselves were carved with geometric shapes, lotus flowers, and rosettes and were likely inlays that decorated wooden furniture. Conservator Orna Cohen and Ilan Naor meticulously studied and reassembled hundreds of fragments and determined they were the remains of at least 12 square plaques, each measuring 5 cm by 5 cm. The ivory inlays were excavated in a monumental building, possibly the home of Jewish elites or royalty, that was destroyed by the Babylonians in the sixth century BC. Ivory is often associated with royalty and wealth and has been found in other ancient capital cities, such as Samaria and Nimrud. This discovery is evidence of the biblical description of the prominence of Jerusalem in the Iron Age. These ivories also illustrate what other ivory-inlaid furniture mentioned in the Bible may have looked like (i.e., Solomon’s ivory throne in 1 Kings 10:18 and the ivory-inlaid beds mentioned in Amos 6:4). Moreover, the discovery highlights the importance of wet sifting, a process that ABR has been on the forefront of implementing in their excavations.
NOTE: The date of the fall of Jerusalem is a matter of debate, with many holding to 586 BC as the date of the destruction of the city. However, ABR associate and biblical chronologist Roger Young has presented evidence suggesting that Jerusalem actually fell during the summer of 587 BC (see link below).
OFF-SITE NEWS LINKS:
ROGER YOUNG’S ARTICLE ON THE DATE OF THE DESTRUCTION OF JERSUALEM:
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