• Kobi Tour Guide of Israel

Israel Archaeology Update: 7 New Incredible Finds in August

As a tour guide of Israel, I often have to caution clients that one week, two weeks or even ten weeks in Israel is just not enough time to completely experience everything that Israel has to offer. It's always just a taste - and you need to come back for another course. We have more museums per capita and hiking trails per square mile/km than anywhere in the world. The culinary and tech scenes are bustling, the arts & culture scene is vibrant and the people and land are so incredibly diverse. And that's all without even mentioning the religious and historical sites. "So just how many archaeological sites are there in Israel," I am often asked. 1000? 5000? Try some 37,000. And while we cannot dig them all at once, there are always archaeological digs happening in Israel which means that we are constantly finding new and amazing things.


Here is a roundup of amazing archaeological stories - most of which are just from this past week alone! And if you missed last month's archaeology update, make sure to check that out as well here: https://www.tourguideofisrael.com/post/5-new-major-archaeological-discoveries-in-israel-including-at-the-tomb-of-the-p-matriarchs


Strontium Isotope Mapping: If you have never even heard of this, don't worry. I hadn't heard of it until last week. But apparently it is a game-changing way to understand the migration of humans and animals, of the level of Carbon-14 dating. And the Australian university spearheading the project just finished mapping Israel and the results are fascinating and incredibly important to the history of early man. https://www.timesofisrael.com/1st-complete-strontium-isotope-map-of-israel-tracks-ancient-human-migration/

Flint Tools Carving Site: Speaking of human migration, the most northern flint tools carving site from the Middle Paleolithic Era (250,000-50,000 BCE) ever discovered - which uses Nubian technology - was just found by Israeli teenagers working on a site near the city of Dimona in the Negev desert. This helps to show the route of early man from Africa into Asia. Of course Israel being the land bridge between those two continents (and Europe), it would only make sense to find it here, but now we have. https://en.davar1.co.il/242000/


Canaanite Fortress: a 3200-year old fortress was found in southern Israel, from the time of the Judges period in the Bible, ostensibly for protection against the new menace in the land at the time, the Philistines or "invaders" - http://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/gal-on-canaanite-fortress-08778.html



Tel Rosh: A site in the north shows which us the difficulty of identifying sites when we don't have an "x marks the spot" - aka writing which confirms the identity of the place. Fortunately the Bible can be helpful as it gives geographical boundaries of tribes and names of towns within, but that only narrows it down. https://www.jpost.com/archaeology/archaeologists-propose-new-identification-for-biblical-tel-rosh-639257


Bethsaida: This is one of the most important sites associated with Jesus' ministry which has yet to be positively identified (again, finding the name in writing at a site would help). Debates about it have gone back decades if not centuries. Now a new theory is being proposed by an Israeli archaeologist. https://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/.premium-where-is-biblical-bethsaida-where-jesus-walked-on-water-the-case-of-e-tell-1.9082557


King Richard the Lionheart's Battlesite: In 1191 King Richard came on crusade to the Holy Land after the stunning fall of the First Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem following the debacle at the Horns of Hattin. On his way to Jerusalem (which he never took) he aimed to take the port city of Jaffa and found himself embroiled in battle with Muslim forces near the fortress of Appollonia/Arsuf. Now the field of battle may have been finally identified.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-archaeologist-identifies-battlefield-where-crusaders-defeated-saladin-1.9030323

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/archaeologists-locate-site-famous-battle-third-crusade-180975490/

A Treasure Chest of Gold Coins: Israeli teenagers volunteering on an archaeological dig in central Israel found a veritable treasure - 425 24-carat pure gold coins from 1100 years ago, during the period of the Muslim Abbasid Caliphate which was based in Baghdad. https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/gold-coins-found-israel-scli-intl/index.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/24/world/middleeast/israel-gold-coins-archaeology.html


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