Day 3 – Summer Season

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Today was very similar to the previous day – great weather and nice finds.

In area A – we finished removing several balks and continued to expose a clean Iron IIB context. We are still wishing for more LMLK seal impressions and Israelite Pillared Figurines (perhaps this will prove prophetic over the next couple weeks 🙂

In area B – Jesse Pincus began the GPR (ground penetrating radar) survey of the lower platform. We are very excited to see the results of this amazing technology.

In pottery reading/washing – we continued to find more and more Cypriot imports, Canaanite locally made ware (including several goblets/chalices), and another Philistine Bichrome sherd (belying an earlier Iron I/11th cent. BCE phase of the site).

In the evening, the team had the great privilege of listening to a very interesting lecture on Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah by Dr. Shawn Zellig Aster from Bar Ilan University. Besides the fascinating and well-presented lecture it was a rare privilege to first hear about the “Azekah Inscription” and then simply look out the western window of the lecture hall and see the city that is mentioned in the Neo-Assyrian late 8th cent. BCE text. (see below for full text from Context of Scripture) Only in Israel… Thanks goes to Dr. Aster for providing us with a great lecture that caused a lively discussion afterwards.

Here are a few shots from the days work.

Jesse collecting GPR data
Jesse collecting GPR data
Jeremy and Amy digging up several complete LB IIB storejars in B
Jeremy and Amy digging up several complete LB IIB storejars in B
Reed and Dina sifting, sifting and more sifting in Area B
Reed and Dina sifting, sifting and more sifting in Area B
Area A pavement (8th cent. BCE)
Jesse and Matt working hard on the GPR scan

“Azekah Inscription”

1–2 (scattered signs)
3 [ Ashur, my lord, support]ed me and to the land of Ju[dah I marched. In] the course of my campaign, the tribute of the ki[ngs of … I received].
4 [ by the mig]ht (?) of Ashur, my lord, the district [of Hezek]iah of Judah, like [ ]
5 [ ] the city of Azekah,a his stronghold, which is between my [ ] and the land of Judah [ ]
6 [ ] located on a mountain peak, like countless pointed ir[on] daggers, reaching to high heaven
7 [ ] were strong and rivaled the highest mountains; at its sight, as if from the sky [ ]
8 [by packed-down ra]mps, and applying mighty (?) battering rams, infantry attacks by min[es ]
9 [ the approach of my cav]alry they saw, and heard the sound of Ashur’s mighty troops and they were afraid [ ]
10 [ I besieged (?)] I conquered, I carried off its spoil. I tore down, I destroyed [ ]
11 [ the city X] a royal [city] of the Philistines,b which He[zek]iah had taken and fortified for himself [ ]
12 [ ] (scattered signs) [ ] like a tree [ ]
13 [ ] surrounded by great t[o]wers, most difficult [ ]
14 [ ] a palace, like a mountain, was barred in from of them, high [ ]
15 [ ] it was dark, and the sun never shone on it, its waters were located in dar[kn]ess, its outflow [ ]
16 [ ] its mo[uth (?)] was cut with axes and a moat was dug around it [ ]
17 [ soldiers] skilled in battle, he stationed in it, he girded his weapons, in order to [ ]
18 [ ] I had the people of Amurru,1 all of them, carry earth [ ]
19 [ against them. For a third time, [ ] great, like a pot [I smashed ]

20 [ cattle and sh]eep, from its midst I t[ook out, and as] spo[il I counted.]
21 (illegible signs)

William W. Hallo and K. Lawson Younger Jr., eds., Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World (COS 2; Accordance electronic ed. Leiden: Brill, 2003), 304-305.

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