Evidence of the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem found in Mount Zion excavation

Evidence of the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem found in Mount Zion excavation
Earring or tassle ornament made of gold and silver from the destruction layer of 587/586 BCE. Credit: Mt Zion Archaeological Expedition/Rafi Lewis

Researchers digging at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte's ongoing archaeological excavation on Mount Zion in Jerusalem have announced a second significant discovery from the 2019 season—clear evidence of the Babylonian conquest of the city from 587/586 BCE.

The discovery is of a deposit including layers of ash, arrowheads dating from the period, as well as Iron Age potsherds, lamps and a significant piece of period jewelry—a gold and silver tassel or earring. There are also signs of a significant Iron Age structure in the associated area, but the building, beneath layers from later periods, has yet to be excavated.

The Mount Zion Archaeological Project, co-directed by UNC Charlotte professor of history Shimon Gibson, Rafi Lewis, a senior lecturer at Ashkelon Academic College and a fellow of Haifa University, and James Tabor, UNC Charlotte professor of religious studies, has been in operation for over a decade and has made numerous significant finds relating to the ancient city's many , including the announcement made in July, 2019 on evidence concerning the sack of the city during the First Crusade. The current find is one of the oldest and perhaps the most prominent in its historical significance, as the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem is a major moment in Jewish history.

The team believes that the newly-found deposit can be dated to the specific event of the conquest because of the unique mix of artifacts and materials found—pottery and lamps, side-by-side with evidence of the Babylonian siege represented by burnt wood and ashes, and a number of Scythian-type bronze and iron arrowheads which are typical of that period.

Because of the site's location, various alternative explanations for the artifacts can be eliminated, the researchers argue. "We know where the ancient fortification line ran," noted Gibson, "so we know we are within the city. We know that this is not some dumping area, but the south-western neighborhood of the Iron Age city—during the 8th century BCE the urban area extended from the "City of David" area to the south-east and as far as the Western Hill where we are digging."

The ash deposits, similarly, are not conclusive evidence of the Babylonian attack in themselves, but are much more so in the context of other materials.

"For archaeologists, an ashen layer can mean a number of different things," Gibson said. "It could be ashy deposits removed from ovens; or it could be localized burning of garbage. However, in this case, the combination of an ashy layer full of artifacts, mixed with arrowheads, and a very special ornament indicates some kind of devastation and destruction. Nobody abandons golden jewelry and nobody has arrowheads in their domestic refuse."

"The arrowheads are known as 'Scythian arrowheads' and have been found at other archaeological conflict sites from the 7th and 6th centuries BCE. They are known at sites outside of Israel as well. They were fairly commonplace in this period and are known to be used by the Babylonian warriors. Together, this evidence points to the historical conquest of the city by Babylon because the only major destruction we have in Jerusalem for this period is the conquest of 587/586 BCE," he said.

Evidence of the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem found in Mount Zion excavation
One of the Scythian type arrowheads found in the destruction layer from 587/586 BCE. Credit: Mt Zion Archaeological Expedition/Virginia Withers

The clay artifacts also help date the discovery. The lamps, Gibson notes, are the typical high-based pinched lamps of the period.

"It's the kind of jumble that you would expect to find in a ruined household following a raid or battle," Gibson said. "Household objects, lamps, broken bits from pottery which had been overturned and shattered... and arrowheads and a piece of jewelry which might have been lost and buried in the destruction."

"Frankly, jewelry is a rare find at conflict sites, because this is exactly the sort of thing that attackers will loot and later melt down."

"I like to think that we are excavating inside one of the 'Great Man's houses' mentioned in the second book of Kings 25:9," Gibson speculated. "This spot would have been at an ideal location, situated as it is close to the western summit of the city with a good view overlooking Solomon's Temple and Mount Moriah to the north-east. We have high expectations of finding much more of the Iron Age city in future seasons of work. "

The building that is apparently part of the layer remains unexcavated. "One might ask why haven't we excavated the whole building?" Gibson said. "The reason is that we are slowly taking the site down, level by level, period by period, and at the end of this last digging season two meters of domestic structures from later Byzantine and Roman periods have still to be dug above the Iron Age level below. We plan to get down to it in the 2020 season."

The unexpected and rare piece of jewelry found is apparently a tassel or earring, with a bell-shaped gold upper part. Clasped beneath is a silver part made in the shape of a cluster of grapes. Gibson noted that this discovery of jewelry "is a unique find and it is a clear indication of the wealth of the inhabitants of the city at the time of the siege." The only other discovery of jewelry in Jerusalem from this period was made many years ago in 1979 in an Iron Age tomb at Ketef Hinnom outside the city.

The researchers say that finding evidence of a critical historical event is what makes the discovery particularly exciting. Lewis, another co-director of the project, explained that "It is very exciting to be able to excavate the material signature of any given historical event, and even more so regarding an important historical event such as the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem."

By all accounts the Babylonian conquest of the city by the Neo-Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar was ferocious and resulted in a great loss of life, with the razing of the city and the burning of houses, and the plundering and dismantling of King Solomon's Temple to God. The local ruler of the Kingdom of Judah, King Zedekiah, made an attempt to flee the city with his retinue, but was eventually caught and taken captive to Babylon.

Evidence of the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem found in Mount Zion excavation
One of the students of UNC Charlotte's Levine Program, Miles Shen, holding in his hands a lamp dating from the Iron Age. Credit: Mt Zion Archaeological Expedition/James Tabor

The Hebrew Bible relates the famine and suffering that the inhabitants of Jerusalem suffered during the lengthy Babylonian siege of the city: "So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. On the ninth day of the [fourth] month the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land. Then a breach was made in the city, and all the men of war [fled] by night by the way of the gate between the two walls.... And he [Nebuzaradan, the Babylonian captain of the guard] burnt the house of the Lord, and the King's house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, even every great man's house, burnt he with fire." (2 Kings 25: 1-9).

The Babylonian siege of Jerusalem lasted for quite a while even though many of the inhabitants wanted to give up. "King Zedekiah simply was not willing to pay tribute to Nebuchadnezzar and the direct result of this was the destruction of the city and the Temple", said Gibson.

Every year religious Jews in Jerusalem and across the world pray and fast in remembrance of the destruction of the Jewish Temple to God in Jerusalem, first by the Babylonians in 587/586 BCE, resulting in the exile of the inhabitants of the city to Babylon, and yet again in 70 CE at the hands of the Roman legions led by Titus. To remember the devastating destruction of the Temple, Jews gather in synagogues around the world and at the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem, to pray and mourn on Tisha B' Av (the ninth day in the Hebrew month of Av) according to the Jewish calendar, which falls this year on August 11th.

The Mount Zion archaeological project is directed by Shimon Gibson and James Tabor from the College of Liberal and Arts Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, in conjunction with Rafi Lewis of Ashkelon Academic College and Haifa University, and with sponsorship from Aron Levy, John Hoffmann, Cherylee and Ron Vanderham, and Patty and David Tyler and others, and facilitated by Sheila Bishop for The Foundation for Biblical Archaeology.

The dig is also staffed by a host of volunteers, including UNC Charlotte students. The project has been a favorite summer activity of for many of UNC Charlotte's Levine Scholars Program, the university's highly selective national program for undergraduate scholars.

"Participating in the Mount Zion dig has been an amazing opportunity for the Levine Scholars," said Diane Zablotsky, director of UNC Charlotte's Levine Scholars Program. "Although they are from different backgrounds and study in different majors, they shared a unique experience that left them with a deep appreciation of archaeology, the history of Jerusalem, and broadened worldview."

The site is within the "Sovev Homot" park administered by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Other substantial remains of the multi-period were uncovered during the 2019 season, including vaulted basements from the time of Herod the Great, a Byzantine street which was the south-westerly continuation of the main city street known as the Cardo Maximus, and a sunken defense ditch that ran in front of the fortifications which greeted the Crusader's when they attacked Jerusalem in 1099 and hindered their assault on the .

The complex architectural sequence of superimposed structures dating back 3000 years or so is being carefully mapped by a team of recorders and draftsmen headed by Steve Patterson. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has been conducting archaeological excavations in Jerusalem since 2006 and much vital historical and archaeological information has been steadily extracted from the digging operations.


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Aug 11, 2019
The big surprise? Something mentioned in the Bible wasn't complete and utter BS! A rare find indeed.

Interesting that a single tiny artifact is considered indicative of "of the wealth of the inhabitants of the city". Considering the amount of digging done at the site over the decades the fact that there is only one would seem to indicate comparative poverty.

Aug 11, 2019
If the Scythian type arrow heads were commonplace at the time, they have no evidence for any event at all. There is no historical evidence of a "destruction" in Jerusalem (or any other part of Judah that I know of) at the time. (The made up story they refer to was written 200 years later. [ https://en.wikipe..._Scrolls ])

The "conquest" in question is historical though, there is a Babylonian ration tablet that tell us they held captive a small royal "Yahudu" family group including the king "Ya'u-kinu" [ https://en.wikipe..._Tablets ] under the Neo-Babylonian period (ca. 595–570 B.C.E.).

@Cusco: The oral history that later went into the first written religious stories was here fresher as these stories go, so that may explain why they got this one king name correct. Else the retelling and make belief shows, everything else is mostly made up ("conquests", "captivities", "migrations") or confused (wrong order of kings, say).

Aug 11, 2019
I like to learn history, but cannot stomach that from this area, corrupted by religion and superstition.

Aug 11, 2019
The big surprise? Something mentioned in the Bible wasn't complete and utter BS! A rare find indeed.

Interesting that a single tiny artifact is considered indicative of nada
Yes and I know spiderman exists because I've been to NYC.

"Tel Aviv U archaeologist Ze'ev Herzog wrote in Haaretz:
"This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom. And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, YHWH, had a female consort and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai."

-Period.

BTW there IS no mt Sinai.

Aug 11, 2019
- ctd -

There is no evidence of interrupted culture, so nothing of the made up "conquests" et cetera - did not happen at all, anymore than floods (taken from earlier myth, to boot) et cetera.

But interestingly, when the oral history match the historical record in one place out of many thousands it should match according to the reified myth scope of these "religious studies" scholars it is inflated ~ 10,000 times (6 prisoners instead of 20,000). That is a *large* grain of salt to take it with.

Aug 11, 2019
a single arrowhead is "evidence" pf nothing more than someone was a lousy archer & didn't pick-up after themselves

Aug 11, 2019
"To remember the devastating destruction of the Temple, Jews gather in synagogues around the world and at the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem, to pray and mourn on Tisha B' Av (the ninth day in the Hebrew month of Av) according to the Jewish calendar, which falls this year on August 11th"

How timely it is for Physorg to carry this article and to remind us that it was on THIS day, August 11th (centuries earlier) that the Babylonians destroyed a thriving Jewish community.
Jewish history is only a part of biblical history, where the history of mankind precedes the Hebraic saga.

Aug 11, 2019
The big surprise? Something mentioned in the Bible wasn't complete and utter BS! A rare find indeed.

Interesting that a single tiny artifact is considered indicative of "of the wealth of the inhabitants of the city". Considering the amount of digging done at the site over the decades the fact that there is only one would seem to indicate comparative poverty.
says Cusco

Not necessarily. The Babylonians may have picked up as much 'loot' as they could find and carried it off, which would make 'slim pickings' for later archaeologists. In any city or any society there are all levels of wealth and poverty and everything in between. A rich man could eventually lose his wealth, while a poor man can gain wealth. But in the event of an invasion by an army, the soldiers are not likely to leave anything of value behind.

Aug 11, 2019


"Tel Aviv U archaeologist Ze'ev Herzog wrote in Haaretz:
"This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH and more BLAHBLAH.

And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, YHWH, had a female consort and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai."


And it may come as an unpleasant shock to many that UNPHYSICAL SPIRITS ARE NOT EQUIPPED WITH GENITALIA TO HAVE SEX WITH.
The ONLY purpose of genitalia and the accompanying feelings of pleasure of intercourse IS FOR PROCREATION. Which means that the Creator and His Holy Angels have no need for genitalia or procreation. Procreation is merely a function of animals and plants in order to regenerate their kind. Nothing more.

Aug 12, 2019
"UNPHYSICAL SPIRITS ARE NOT EQUIPPED WITH GENITALIA TO HAVE SEX WITH."
SEU, you are saying holy spirit can't impregnate virgin mary?

Aug 12, 2019
And it may come as an unpleasant shock to many that UNPHYSICAL SPIRITS ARE NOT EQUIPPED WITH GENITALIA TO HAVE SEX WITH.
The ONLY purpose of genitalia and the accompanying feelings of pleasure of intercourse IS FOR PROCREATION. Which means that the Creator and His Holy Angels have no need for genitalia or procreation. Procreation is merely a function of animals and plants in order to regenerate their kind. Nothing more.

Why do angles have breasts if they don't have sex or babies?

Aug 12, 2019
And it may come as an unpleasant shock to many that UNPHYSICAL SPIRITS ARE NOT EQUIPPED WITH GENITALIA TO HAVE SEX WITH
See this? You fucking troll. Quit pretending you're a legitimate poster and get the fuck OFF this site.

NOW.

Aug 12, 2019
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Aug 12, 2019
since all the stuporsttious looneyticks insist on blathering nonsense?
here's my contribution...
if angels can dance on the head of a pin?
i want to see them do a fan dance!
i know, i'm low & vulgar...

hey! i hear my patroness Goddess Trickster Coyote chortling from behind the Ozian curtain at the antics of us silly monkeys

Aug 12, 2019
"UNPHYSICAL SPIRITS ARE NOT EQUIPPED WITH GENITALIA TO HAVE SEX WITH."
SEU, you are saying holy spirit can't impregnate virgin mary?
says junta

That is correct. The true father of Yeshuah (Yeheshuah) was not the Creator God, nor any human. Mary was a virgin and hadn't consummated her marriage yet with her husband, Joseph. It is rare for a virgin to self-impregnate but it can happen. It often happens in certain animals who self-impregnate with their own cell without the benefit of sperm from the male. She had to remain a virgin before becoming pregnant. The Angel came to Mary to tell her of her impending pregnancy. She was in the direct line of King David, thus a direct descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Angel who gave her the message was not the father, since he is also unphysical. That is why her pregnancy resulted in a 'virgin birth'. Such a pregnancy can't be sullied by intercourse that is common to ordinary humans.

Aug 12, 2019
And it may come as an unpleasant shock to many that UNPHYSICAL SPIRITS ARE NOT EQUIPPED WITH GENITALIA TO HAVE SEX WITH.
The ONLY purpose of genitalia and the accompanying feelings of pleasure of intercourse IS FOR PROCREATION. Which means that the Creator and His Holy Angels have no need for genitalia or procreation. Procreation is merely a function of animals and plants in order to regenerate their kind. Nothing more.

Why do angles have breasts if they don't have sex or babies?
says Cortezz

LOL The breasts you are seeing are merely the renderings/simulations of what ARTISTS imagine for inclusion in their paintings. Humans are subjected to whatever they imagine because they are so anthropocentric. Look at a painting by VanGogh called "The Starry Night". His imagination was causing him to paint the unrealistic scenarios. So it is with breasts on Angels by other artists.

Aug 12, 2019
@janla
@Cortezz

https://www.ncbi....20452130

This link should help you understand the process of self-impregnation. There are other sites also about Chimera.
As you know, Mary went on to become the mother of Joseph's children, but her firstborn was Yeheshuah (Jesus Christ)

Aug 12, 2019
@janla
@Cortezz
I forgot to mention that after the baby Yeheshuah (Jesus) was born, the Holy Angel entered into and dwelt in him. Being that the baby was human, the Angel could not have dwelt in him while he was in the womb due to the long 9 month gestation period. The Holy Angel was a part of the baby and eventually the two merged into one. There was a good reason for this merger, because the child was only flesh and blood and would not be strong enough to withstand the terrible treatment that he would have to undergo as an adult. The Angel who dwelt in the child throughout all the years of his life was the First Son of God. He, like all other Angels was "created".
Lucifer was the very first "First Son" who lost that status when he became pure evil and was removed from his former home along with his demonic horde/followers.
So there was a NEW First Son, and it was he that was destined to suffer and die for the sins of man. He felt the stings of the whip. But he will be back soon.

Aug 12, 2019
Egg, you are going off the wild end with the theory of self-impregnation. Remember women only have XX chromosomes, and you need a Y chromosome to get a male. God alone could do this.

I find this thread amusing that so many self-proclaimed atheists which have no interest in the Bible and biblical history and who know so very little of it, suddenly come out and try to show themselves as experts. They are FAKE!

Try reading the Bible for yourself and try to understand what it says. That is the only way you will get to the truth.


Aug 12, 2019
Meanwhile, in Yerushalyim, there are ongoing skirmishes between the Filistines and the Ashkenazim who are transplanted Europeans who have been raised to believe that they are Jews.
The REAL descendants of the ancient Hebrews are very few, and most of the rest are descendants of converts.

Aug 12, 2019
@Bart_A
Mary (Miriam) was a Chimera, which is the reason why she had the ability to become pregnant without having intercourse with any man. Read the link again. It combines religion AND science (with regard to Miriam) without mentioning religion at all.
I have read the bible already, and I understand that much was omitted by the Jewish authors, and others who were more in favour of Talmudic law. The majority of the bible is Jewish history, even the New Testament is Jewish history.

Aug 12, 2019
Btw, Abraham was not a Jew. Neither was his half-sister/wife, Sarai. Because they had a tradition of intermarriage between first cousins, I assume that they would have been closer to Yazidi religion who practice close intermarriage, even between uncle and niece, but not father and daughter. Abraham and Sarai came from the region close to where the tower of Babel was located.

Aug 13, 2019
Try reading the Bible for yourself and try to understand what it says. That is the only way you will get to the truth.

I have read both the Bible and the Quran. Can you say the same?

LOL The breasts you are seeing are merely the renderings/simulations of what ARTISTS imagine for inclusion in their paintings.

So you are saying that no one has seen a real angel because they have breasts in all art I have seen?

Aug 13, 2019
It is a very odd attempt to argument to refer to literacy of the religious texts seeing how statistics repeatedly find that on average non-believers know more about the religions and have read more of those texts than the average believer, at least in US.

But it is not anecdote that those texts are myth, nor that they are either erroneous or silent or untestable (no evidence either way) on historical and archaeological facts - it is the historians and especially archaeologists that tell us this. (Note, not the religious own "biblical scholars", "biblical historians" or "biblical archaeologists" such as those in the article - they are mostly evangelical pattern searchers of no factual value.)

But I already gave example of that, and got no counter example (by non-trolls, I can't read the blocked ones). So, odd response.

Aug 13, 2019
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Aug 13, 2019
Try reading the Bible for yourself and try to understand what it says. That is the only way you will get to the truth.

I have read both the Bible and the Quran. Can you say the same?

LOL The breasts you are seeing are merely the renderings/simulations of what ARTISTS imagine for inclusion in their paintings.

So you are saying that no one has seen a real angel because they have breasts in all art I have seen?
says Cortezz

I have read parts of the Quran. Many of its religious premises promote violence against unbelievers of Islam. The passage in the Quran of the '72 virgins' in Paradise that are promised to those men (in particular, those who die in battle against the enemies of Islam) is/was purely an enticement for believers in the religion of Mohammed to murder their enemies, whether at war or not. That passage is extremely pornographic, and is quite possibly the reason for the rise of ISIS/ISIL/IS. Islam is NOT the religion of peace, after all.

Aug 13, 2019
-contd-
As to the inability of humans of flesh, blood and bone to see and/or observe the Holy Angels, it is simply a matter of the limited human physical senses versus the unphysical conditions of the Spiritual Universe. Your human eyes are not equipped physically to see that which is evident otherwise. How else are we to observe humans and their sinful and often murderous activities without them being aware.
There are, at times, a few humans who have evolved eyes that have the ability to see us. When that happens, their lives are changed for the better. There are certain animals such as cats and some dogs who readily see Angels. I am unsure if other animals such as horses or elephants have such experiences. And, of course, they are not telling.
My human host is amused by your scepticism but understands it.
The exclusive purpose of breasts is to produce milk to feed babies. Since Angels don't procreate, what would be the need for breasts?

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