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3,300 year old Selfie? Silver earrings from Biblical era discovered in northern Israel

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
2/28/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Archaeologists say the jewelry could have also been used for barter and trade

Silver earrings along with other silver ingots were found in a clay jug at an archeological dig at Abel Beth Maacah in northern Israel just south of the border with Lebanon. Both U.S. and Israeli archaeologists say the 3,300-year-old precious metals may have once been used for trade before the invention of coins.

The silver objects were found in a large ball-like mass wrapped in plant fibers. The silver objects were wrapped tightly in a ball of plant fibers. The curves of the earrings can be seen sticking out the side.

The silver objects were found in a large ball-like mass wrapped in plant fibers. The silver objects were wrapped tightly in a ball of plant fibers. The curves of the earrings can be seen sticking out the side.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
2/28/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Earrings, Israel, archeaology, barter


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The earrings and other pieces were cleaned by Mimi Lavi, a conservationist in the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

"The jug and its contents appear to be Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age, in the 13th century BC, the time of the Exodus and wilderness wanderings described in the Hebrew Scriptures," archaeologist Robert Mullins, an associate professor of biblical studies at Azusa Pacific University, says. Mullins, who led the dig said "This is one of only 20 silver hoards ever found in Israel," in a university press release.

The earrings and other silver pieces were cleaned by Mimi Lavi, conservationist in the Institute of

The earrings and other silver pieces were cleaned by Mimi Lavi, conservationist in the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Researchers noted that the scale is in centimeters.


The silver objects were found in a large ball-like mass wrapped in plant fibers. The silver objects were wrapped tightly in a ball of plant fibers. The curves of the earrings can be seen sticking out the side.

Researchers from Azusa Pacific and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem also found a large stone structure last summer that may have once comprised the tower section of a fortification for the settlement.

"For Mullins, the intriguing discovery confirmed his belief that this biblically significant site, once an ancient guardian city on the border of Lebanon, lies rich with treasures waiting to be unearthed," Azusa Pacific University said in a press release.

The mass of silver that was found is on the left. On the right, the jug from which it was removed.

The mass of silver that was found is on the left. On the right, the jug from which it was removed.


Citing biblical passages, the location was noted during a description of the rebellion against King David. Referring to the Second Book of Samuel Chapter 20, "You get the sense that this city is an important guardian for the northern approaches into Israel," Mullins told his team.

The Times of Israel pointed to another biblical citation of the location: "The Book of Kings chronicles its conquest by Ben-hadad I of Damascus in the early 9th century BCE and by Neo-Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III in 733 BCE."

In noting the discovery, the Times of Israel wrote, "Five complete silver earrings, three earring fragments and four scrap pieces that may have been used for monetary transactions."

Mullins said that earrings at the time were considered accessories for both men and women.

A view of Abel Beth Maacah.

A view of Abel Beth Maacah.


He told the Times of Israel that the jewelry would have been used to purchase goods, as currency was invented much later.

"Before coins were invented in the 5th century BCE, people would weigh out bits of silver on pan scales against known weights, such as the famous shekel of the Bible," Mullins said. "These pieces were evidently placed into a jug whose neck was missing, probably for safekeeping, though we have no proof that the jug and its contents were hidden below a floor."

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