A city, a cemetery, and a road built by a famous biblical figure. This pretty much sums up the top three reports in biblical archaeology in October 2019:
3. Large Early Bronze Age City Unearthed in Israel
Archaeologists excavating at En Esur, located half-way between Tel Aviv and Haifa, have unearthed a massive 5000-year old city. At its height, it is estimated to have covered 160 acres and to have been home to 6000 residents. While smaller than other Early Bronze Age cities in Mesopotamia and Egypt, En Esur was the largest ancient city in the Southern Levant, and one of the earliest. For comparison, it was more than ten times the size of Jericho, and 60 acres larger than Tall el-Hammam, a large, Early Bronze Age city in Jordan that had a wall enclosing an area approximately 100 acres. Archaeologists have uncovered a large fortification wall that surrounded site, residential and public buildings, streets and alleys, and a cemetery outside of the city. In addition, many pottery fragments, flint tools, and basalt stone vessels were discovered, as well as a structure containing burned animal bones and figurines that has been identified as an ancient temple. The city was eventually abandoned around 3050 BC, and later people only inhabited small portions of the site. This has allowed archaeologists to study an ancient city that has largely remained undisturbed throughout the millennia. According to the dating of the site, it would appear that the city at En Esur was a bustling metropolis in the Southern Levant at least 1000 years before Abraham lived.
2. Thirty Coffins Unearthed in Egyptian Necropolis
30 coffins, dating to the 22nd Dynasty (945-715 BC), were unearthed at the Assasif necropolis, located on the western bank of the Nile river near Luxor. The exceptionally well-preserved, wooden coffins were laid out in two layers, with 18 on top and 12 below. The mummies of 23 adult males, five females and 2 children were sealed inside. Archaeologists opened two of the coffins belonging to a man and a woman, which both had their outer wrappings intact, covering their faces and bodies. The gender of the mummies could be determined by the position of their hands: ancient Egyptian women were buried with their hands open, while men where buried with their hands closed. According to biblical chronology, these people lived during the time of the divided monarchy, and some may have been alive during the reign of the Pharaoh Shishak (likely Shoshenq I), who is mentioned in Scripture (1 Kings 11:40, 14:25 and 2 Chronicles 12:2-9).
1. Road Built by Pontius Pilate Discovered in Jerusalem
In a new paper published in Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, researchers have identified the date of construction of a significant street in Jerusalem. The 2000-foot-long (600 meter) road connected the Siloam Pool to the Temple Mount. While the existence of the street has been known since the 19th century, it was only recently that scholars determined its date of construction. Archaeologists excavated beneath the street in areas that had been sealed by the street’s mortar. They unearthed dozens of coins, with the latest one being a prutah minted by Pontius Pilate in 30/31 AD. Since none of the coins date to a time period later than this, the scholars have concluded that the street was built during the reign of Pontius Pilate, prefect of Judea. The street itself is monumental, being at least 26 feet (8 meters) wide, and would have required 10,000 tons of quarried limestone to build. Pontius Pilate is named in all four gospels as the man who condemned Jesus to death on a cross. His coins have been found in abundance throughout Judea.
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