The California Museum of Ancient Art held its WINTER 2009 SERIES, "DIGGING INTO THE ANCIENT WORLD OF THE BIBLE." Two dynamic speakers - each a respected Biblical Archaeologist - were featured: Dr. Ronny Reich and Dr. Aaron Burke. The lectures were held at Piness Auditorium, in the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, 3663 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles.
On Wednesday, March 4, Dr. Ronny Reich presented "NEW DISCOVERIES FROM THE CITY OF JERUSALEM." Near the Gihon Spring, on the eastern side of the City of David, a significant discovery was made - a private house of the late 8th century BCE. Its floor was sealed with a thick layer of debris fill.
A chance discovery on Jerusalem's southernmost edge exposed a large pool lined on all sides with stone steps. Fed by the Gihon Spring through Hezekiah's ancient tunnel, coins found embedded in the pool's cement floor date from the late Second Temple Period. Further excavations revealed part of a stepped, paved, stone road leading toward the Temple Mount half a mile away. Recently, the main sewer under the road was uncovered. Excavators suggest this pool is the Siloam Pool mentioned in the New Testament. Viewed in context of the Temple City, Dr. Reich will explain the meaning of this landmark and its precise date.
Ronny Reich, one of the world's leading experts on Jerusalem's archaeology, is professor at the University of Haifa in the Department of Archaeology. He received his PhD from Hebrew University in 1990. In 2000, Dr. Reich won the prestigious Jerusalem Prize, having excavated in that city for 40 years. He has authored or co-authored four books and many articles.
On Monday, March 30, Dr. Aaron Burke presented "EGYPTIANS AND GREEKS IN JAFFA: A NEW LOOK AT THE ANCIENT MEDITERRANEAN PORT," an illustrated lecture. Jaffa, located 40 miles northwest of Jerusalem, served as the primary Mediterranean seaport along the southern Levantine coast from 1700 BCE. Despite its importance in historical sources, no coherent record of Jaffa as an archaeological site exists to date. In 2007, the Jaffa Cultural Heritage Project was established to fill this void: renewing excavations and examining in detail the backlog of unpublished finds from numerous excavations in the past 60 years.
Another area excavated by Jacob Kaplan has become a centerpiece of Jaffa's tourism since 1965. Located inside the visitor's center, excavations in 2001 revealed an elaborate and well preserved structure from the Hellenistic Period (circa 3rd century BCE), previously misidentified as a catacomb and cellar. Work in 2009 seeks to continue exposing the remains of this finely preserved, two story Hellenistic building that underlies the entire excavation area.
Assistant Professor of Archaeology of Ancienl Israel and the Levant at UCLA, Aaron A. Burke received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2004. A new voice in Biblical Archaeology, Dr. Burke is co-leader of the Jaffa Cultural Heritage Project and author of many articles on ancient Israel.
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