Category: Ancient Cilvilizations and Giants

Mysterious 4,000-year-old lost city discovered

By James Rogers | Fox News

A team of French archaeologists has located the remains of a lost ancient city in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Over the course of six excavations between 2012 and 2018, researchers uncovered the ancient city at Kunara near the Zagros mountains. Previously, experts had been prevented from exploring the site near the modern city of Sulaymaniyah by Saddam Hussein’s regime and conflicts in the region.

The discovery is described in the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) journal.

Located on the western border of the Mesopotamian Empire, the city may have been an important center of an ancient mountainous people known as the Lullubi, according to experts.

The first of the cuneiform tablets discovered during the Kunara excavation. The tablet records the delivery of different types of flour. (A. Tenu / Mission archéologique française du Peramagron)

The first of the cuneiform tablets discovered during the Kunara excavation. The tablet records the delivery of different types of flour. (A. Tenu / Mission archéologique française du Peramagron)

Large stone foundations were discovered at the site, which dates to around 2200 B.C. Dozens of clay tablets covered with cuneiform writing were also found, shedding light on the city’s agriculture. For example, the first of the clay tablets discovered records the delivery of different types of flour.

The archaeologists’ research indicates that the city’s demise occurred about 4,000 years ago when it was ravaged by fire.

However, the city’s name is still unknown. Further excavation of the site will take place in the fall.

The small cup-shaped indents in this structure may have served a ceremonial purpose, according to archaeologists. (D. Sarmiento Castillo / Mission archéologique française du Peramagron)

The small cup-shaped indents in this structure may have served a ceremonial purpose, according to archaeologists. (D. Sarmiento Castillo / Mission archéologique française du Peramagron)

Ancient sites in other parts of the world are also revealing their secrets. Last year, archaeologists in Greece located the remains of a lost city believed to have been settled by captives from the Trojan War.

Separately in 2018, archaeologists in Western Mexico used sophisticated laser technology to discover a lost city that may have had as many buildings as Manhattan.

In 2017, archaeologists harnessed spy satellite imagery and drones to help identify the site of an ancient lost city in Northern Iraq.

An arrowhead fragment made of obsidian, or volcanic glass. that was discovered at the site. The obsidian comes from Anatolia, which is several hundred miles from Kunara, according to experts.

An arrowhead fragment made of obsidian, or volcanic glass. that was discovered at the site. The obsidian comes from Anatolia, which is several hundred miles from Kunara, according to experts. (F. Marchand/Mission archéologique française du Peramagron)

The Qalatga Darband site overlooks the Lower Zab river at the western edge of the Zagros Mountains, is part of a historic route from ancient Mesopotamia to Iran.

Experts recently created a stunning digital reconstruction of a centuries-old lost city discovered in South Africa. In another project, researchers have shed new light on the events that led to the demise of the ancient Cambodian megacity of Angkor.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9702

Secret Underground Church Started By James The Half-Brother Of Jesus Discovered In Jerusalem On Mount Zion

The 21st century keepers of this 2,000-year old church are certain it was started by the half-brother of Jesus, James. Jewish Christians were under heavy persecution from the Roman Empire in the days before Rome created the Catholic Church. The other early Christian church from around 300 AD has tile mosaics on the floors illustrating scenes from the book of Revelation.

by Geoffrey Grider March 18, 2019

There are two notable men named James we read about in the New Testament. There was James Zebedee, the brother of John, who the Bible refers to as the “sons of thunder”. The ‘other’ James is the half-brother of the Lord Jesus Himself.

Recently, I came across these amazing videos of archaeological discoveries dating back to the First Century AD, showing what is purported to be perhaps the very first Christian church in Jerusalem, one that was started by James, the half-brother of Jesus. Not to be confused with James, the brother of John, who wrote the book of James that bears his name.

“Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.” Galatians 1:18,19 (KJV)

I present these videos to you for your viewing pleasure, and hope that you will all check them out by comparing them with scripture to see if they match up with the biblical timeline. I am by no means a biblical archaeologist, but I have watched them many times and remain fascinated by what they show.

Secret Church From First Century Discovered On Mt. Zion

The 21st century keepers of this 2,000-year old church are certain it was started by the half-brother of Jesus, James. Jewish Christians were under heavy persecution from the Roman Empire in the days before Rome created the Catholic Church

Amazing Discovery Shows Scenes From Book Of Revelation

This one really sent chills down my spine, an early Christian church from around 300 AD that has tile mosaics on the floors illustrating scenes from the book of Revelation. 

The Two Men Named James

FUN FACTS: There are two notable men named James we read about in the New Testament. There was James Zebedee, the brother of John, that the Bible refers to as the “sons of thunder”. Along with the apostle Peter, this trio was blessed to be allowed to witness some amazing things.

“And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:” Mark 3:17 (KJV)

Peter, James and John were there in the ‘inner circle’ in Matthew 17 where they witnessed the miracle on the Mount of Transfiguration, and listened in rapturous wonder as Jesus told them of the last days and the end of the world in Mark 13 and Matthew 24.

“And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.” Galatians 2:9 (KJV)

The ‘other’ James is the half-brother of the Lord Jesus Himself, and he was used mightily as well. James was personally acquainted with and sought out by the apostle Paul at the start of his ministry as recorded in Galatians, and later was the chair of the Council At Jerusalem in Acts 15 where Paul’s gospel of the grace of God was formally adopted by the church leaders.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9695

Cahokia: North America’s massive, ancient city

It was a sprawling civilization.

Matt Davis

22 February, 2019

  • Near modern-day St. Louis, Missouri, you can find towering mounds of earth that were once the product of a vast North American culture.
  • Cahokia was the largest city built by this Native American civilization.
  • Because the ancient people who built Cahokia didn’t have a writing system, little is known of their culture. Archaeological evidence, however, hints at a fascinating society.

Mesopotamia had Ur, a wealthy city from 2100 BCE and a towering ziggurat. Egypt had Memphis and Alexandria, with their great pyramids and library, respectively. The Toltecs or Totonacs, who resided in modern-day Mexico, had Teotihuacan, which hosted over 125,000 people in its monolithic architecture.

Ancient cities seem to have sprung up all over the world, each of which must have been magnificent sights in their day. But it seems like a handful of these cities hog all the limelight. Though Teotihuacan may be known, for instance, few are familiar with North America’s other great ancient city, Cahokia.

Mysterious mounds near St. Louis 

Monks Mound, the largest remaining mound in Cahokia. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

About 10 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri, 80 mounds of earth dot 2,200 acres of land, the largest of which covers 13.8 acres and rises 100 feet high. These 80 mounds are the remainders of 120 mounds built 1,000 years before Columbus reached North America by a forgotten people called the Mississippians, named after the great river they lived near. All told, the mounds would have required the excavation of about 55 million cubic feet of earth.

The Mississippian civilization is poorly understood; they had no writing system, and by the time Europeans bothered to seriously document their culture, they had been scattered, wiped out by European diseases they had no immunities to.

Instead, much of our understanding of the Mississippians has come from archaeology, and the city of Cahokia represents the greatest trove of archaeological evidence. The city was named after the Cahokia tribe that lived in the area when the French first arrived, though they were not its original inhabitants. In fact, by that time in the 17th century, Cahokia was abandoned.

Though the Mississippians had no writing system, Cahokia was clearly the product of some kind of centralized planning. Its many great mounds are a testament to that, as well as the 50-acre leveled plain of the city named the Grand Plaza; the remains of a copper workshop; a palisade that surrounded its central, ceremonial district; and large henges made of wood.

When Cahokia was at its greatest between 1050 and 1200 CE, it hosted an estimated 40,000 Mississippians, more than the city of London at the time. The bulk of these people flocked to the city between 1050 and 1100, where they built homes, established the Grand Plaza, and built more mounds that raised important buildings over the thousands of other homes in Cahokia.

Life in Cahokia

We can glean some other features of Cahokian life from the fragments they left behind. We’ve found carved discs throughout Cahokia that were used in a game called “chunkey” that was played on the large flat field of the Grand Plaza. Participants rolled the chunkey stone across the field and threw spears toward where they thought the stone would come to rest. Huge audiences watched chunkey players, and players often gambled on the outcome.

But life in Cahokia wasn’t entirely fun and games. There is also evidence that the Cahokians engaged in human sacrifice. At one mound in particular, dubbed Mound 72, researchers found the remains of 272 people. In one instance of sacrifice, 39 people were lined up in front of a pit and clubbed one by one, falling into a mass grave. Two dozen different mass graves populate Mound 72, all of which contain the remains of people who had been strangled, clubbed, and even buried alive.

But there’s also a more reverent grave at Mound 72: a man buried on 20,000 beads made from seashells, which were status symbols and luxury items in Mississippian culture. These beads were arranged in the shape of a falcon. The falcon was an important symbol in Mississippian culture, typically associated with great warriors and chunkey players.

The city’s decline

By the time Columbus and other Europeans arrived in America, Cahokia was abandoned and had been since approximately 1300. What drove the Mississippians away from the vast city is unclear. It’s possible there had been some kind of conflict with another people — the palisade that encircled part of the city speaks to that.

Or, it could be that the unique density of Cahokia led to its downfall. Few other places in North America had tens of thousands of humans living in close proximity with one another. It could be that disease wiped out the Cahokians or that the area was overhunted, overfished, and overfarmed. Some evidence also suggests that the area was severely flooded twice: once between 1100 and 1260 and again between 1340 and 1460. Possibly a combination of these factors led the mound-builders to abandon Cahokia.

Today, Cahokia is preserved as a historic site that anyone can visit. However, Cahokia only gained its protective status in the 1960s. Prior to that, it was the site of heavy development — some of its mounds had been leveled for farming, airfields, housing, and highways. Fortunately, much of the site still remains, and it represents one of the few ancient cities left to visit in North America.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9686

Atlantis found? Mythical lost city ‘in Israel and evidence is in the BIBLE’, expert claims

THE lost city of Atlantis never disappeared, and its remains can be found in Israel, a biblical researcher has claimed.

By Anthony Blair / Published 25th February 2019

Canary Islands are the location of Atlantis claims expert

Ryan Pitterson claims remains in the Middle East match up with incredible tales of mythical beings in the Bible.

According to Pitterson, the tale of Atlantis tallies with the incredible stories of superhuman giants known as the Nephilim.

The Nephilim were a race of half-human, half-angelic creatures created by fallen angels.

Atlantis, first described by ancient Greek philosopher Plato in around 350BC, was rumoured to be a mythical island city.

It was said to have suffered a catastrophic natural disaster and was permanently sunk beneath the waves somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean.

OUTLANDISH: A biblical expert claims Atlantis is in modern-day Israel (Pic: GETTY/ISRAEL-TRAVEL-AND-TOURS.COM)

“”It’s almost remarkable how similar it is to Ezekiel 31”

Ryan Pitterson, author, Judgement of the Nephalim

In November, Daily Star Online reported researchers’ claims the ruins of Atlantis had been found off the Spanish coast.

But Pitterson is convinced Plato’s description of Atlantis matches biblical records of the Israeli city of Gilgal Refaim.

Speaking on US radio, Pitterson said the story of the Nephalim matches the tale of the Greek god Poseidon, who was said to have fathered children with a human woman in Atlantis.

Pitterson, author of the book Judgement of the Nephalim, said: “One example that really stood out for me is Plato’s description of Atlantis.

RUINS: Ryan Pitterson believes Gilgal Rephaim, or Rujm el-Hiri, is the remains of Atlantis (Pic: GOOGLE MAPS)

MAPPED: The ruins are in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (Pic: GOOGLE MAPS)

“It’s almost remarkable how similar it is to Ezekiel 31, which describes the rise of this fallen angel spawning many children and having a kingdom with an abundance of resources and rivers as well as a military power and then having it crumble.”

He went on: “In Plato’s account, it was the Greek god Poseidon who fell in love with a human woman and impregnated her.

“So right from the onset, it was a god coming to an Earthly realm and conceiving a child with a human woman in the same fashion of Genesis 6.

“Atlantis is described as having all sorts of great minerals — gold, precious minerals — and in a biblical account in Genesis 2, we’re told the rivers that ran out of the Garden of Eden encompassed the whole line of Avila.”

PHILOSOPHER: The Ancient Greek Plato first wrote about Atlantis in about 350BC (Pic: GETTY)

MONUMENT: Gilgal Rephaim has sometimes been called the Stonehenge of the Middle East (Pic: GETTY)

Today, the ancient remains of Gilgal lie near Argaman in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Atlantis was said to have been built outwards in concentric circles with water running through it.

Similarly, Gilgal features five concentric circles of stones, built using 40,000 tonnes of rock.

Believed to date from around 3,000 years before Jesus‘s birth, it has earned the nickname “The Stonehenge of the Middle East”.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9662

Saudi Megatropolis to be Built on Top of Mount Sinai?

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz January 23, 2019 , 2:14 pm

“On the third new moon after the Israelites had gone forth from the land of Egypt, on that very day, they entered the wilderness of Sinai. Exodus 19:1 (The Israel Bible™)

As researchers debate the location of Biblical Mount Sinai, the Saudi Arabian government is moving forward with plans for a mega-city built on top of one of the prime candidates.

Last year, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced plans to create a mega-city named Neom on the coast of the Red Sea. The plans for the city are ambitious indeed: at a cost of $500 billion, Neom will be 17 times the size of London and 33 times the size of Manhattan. The city will cover 10,230-square-miles extending 285 miles along the coast of the Red Sea and run entirely on renewable energy. The name “Neom” was constructed from two words. The first three letters form the Ancient Greek prefix neo- meaning “new”. The fourth letter is from the abbreviation of Arabic Mostaqbal meaning “future.”

Though the designated area in northwest Saudi Arabia near the Jordanian border is relatively desolate and empty, conflict arose when several people asserted that one mountain, Jabal al Lawz (Mountain of Almonds) was where Moses stood when he received the Ten Commandments from the hand of God.

In a recent documentary, Finding the Mountain of Moses, Ryan Mauro,  National Security Analyst for the Clarion Project, warned of the dire consequences should the Saudi mega-city be built.

Many scholars claim that Mount Sinai is in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt but Mauro rejected that claim based on the “more than 70 times the Bible says the Israelites went out of Egypt.”

“If all of us don’t take action, Saudi construction in the area may destroy key evidence and prevent excavation for the foreseeable future,” Mauro said in his movie.

Mauro is not alone in his assertion that Jabal al Lawz is the Biblical Mount Sinai. After visiting the site in 2018, Bible scholar and bestselling author Joel Richardson told WND, “If those on the fence actually could visit the site, I guarantee they would be fully convinced, or 95 percent there.”

“This is a mountain with a dark-colored basalt rock on the top, as well as a cave on its front – ‘the Cave of Elijah’ – with an altar at its base with bulls carved all over it, ‘the Golden Calf altar,’ he said. “It also has an animal corral and altar, and pillars at its base, consistent with God’s command to Moses to build at the base of the mountain,” said Richardson.

Researchers have proposed about 20 different locations for Mt. Sinai and there is no consensus of opinion.

Scholars fall into two camps: those who suggest sites found in the modern Sinai Peninsula and those who favor locations in Saudi Arabia. Of the five proposed locations in the Sinai Peninsula, Jebel Musa (Moses’ Mountain), the site of St Catherine’s monastery, is the most popular.

In addition to the conflicting opinions, there is also some confusion as the location of the precise mountain. Jabal Maqlā (Burnt Mountain) located about four miles to the south, is often misidentified as Jabal al-Lawz by various authors such as Bob Cornuke, Ron Wyatt, and Lennart Moller as shown by local and regional maps.

Mauro will be posting a website with a petition calling on the U.S. State Department and Saudi government to preserve the sites and have them put on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Due to Saudi restrictions on visitors, the site is difficult to research and if the Saudi plans go through, it will be impossible.

Newly discovered petroglyphs at the foot of mountain depict archers which Richardson claimed are based on a warning by Moses that anyone who set foot on the mountain would be shot with arrows. Another petroglyph depicts a seven-branched menorah which Richardson maintained indicates the ancient Hebrews visited the site. Consistent with the biblical account of water pouring out of the rock, there are clear signs of water erosion in an arid area where such erosion is evident nowhere else, said Richardson.

Rabbi Harry Moskoff, the author of the A.R.K Report, concurred that Mount Sinai is in Saudi Arabia but disagrees with the theory that Jabal al Lawz is Mount Sinai.

“The theory that Jebel al Lawz is the location of Sinai is very low on Biblical facts,” Moskoff told Breaking Israel News. Moskoff explained that the theory was first made popular by a book, The Gold of Exodus, published 20 years ago. “Other researchers followed that lead but there were a lot of errors in that theory. In order to research this subject, it is necessary to go back to the original sources which are Biblical and Jewish.”

As an example, Moskoff pointed out that Cornuke based his theory on the Hebrews leaving Egypt 19 days before crossing the sea.

“I don’t know where he gets 19 days from,” Moskoff said. He cited Seder Olam Rabbah, a 2nd-century CE Hebrew-language chronology detailing the dates of Biblical events from the Creation to Alexander the Great’s conquest of Persia. “The Seder Olam Rabbah states explicitly that it was seven days until they arrived at the sea.”

Moskoff noted that in many cases, sites of Biblical importance were usurped or disrespected.

“There is a bit of tension between the religions when dealing with sites of Biblical importance,” Moskoff said. He noted that the site of Christian researchers do not typically refer to Jewish sources. Moskoff noted the irony in the religious division over the site since Jethro, Moses’ non-Jewish father-in-law, joined the Hebrews at Mount Sinai. This particular multi-faith aspect of Sinai is described in the section of the Torah being read by Jews around the world this week.

“There are monasteries and mosques at most of the holy sites as well,” Moskoff noted. “This may be a religious conflict but it may also be just staking out territory. The Palestinians are staking out territory, trying to take over all of Israel. For the Christians, it is theological. Ideally, it should not lead to a monopoly by one religion and the exclusion of all others.”

Neom was slated to be completed in 2025 but construction has stalled, if not from heaven then due to political entanglements. Bin Salman’s government was accused of murdering a journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. The crown prince admitted in 2018 that, as a result of the ensuing scandal,  “No one will invest [in the project] for years.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9588

In the Qumran cliffs, an expedition digs up new Dead Sea Scroll caves

Winter excavation yields information on how an ascetic desert community lived and where it hid its precious sacred texts — and gives pointers for where to search next

By Amanda Borschel-Dan and Photos and video: Luke Tress 24 January 2019, 9:51 pm 4

A Bedouin huntsman and his dog, climbing on rocky mountainous cliffs above the Dead Sea, spotted a likely prey. The dog chased it into the mouth of a cave where inside, the Bedouin discovered jars containing scrolls with writing upon them. The find was reported to Jews living in Jerusalem, who mounted an expedition into the Judean Desert to retrieve them. They discovered many scrolls written in Hebrew script, including books of the Bible.

The year was 790 CE.

The events, recorded in a letter written by the East Syriac patriarch Timothy I in 800 CE, eerily anticipate the famous 1946 (re)discovery at Qumran of the trove of ancient sacred texts we now know as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

For a new team of Qumran excavators, who this week finished a third dig season high above the Dead Sea, the story is a beacon of hope.

“The Bedouin were not the first ones to find the scrolls in 1947,” said Dr. Oren Gutfeld, co-director of the Cave 53-Qumran Excavation.

The question is, will looters be the ones to discover any remaining scrolls?

On Tuesday, The Times of Israel joined the Qumran expedition on the last day of its three-week winter excavation of a new cave complex. Based on results from two previous seasons, the team, led by Hebrew University archaeologist Oren Gutfeld and Randall Price from the private Virginia-based Christian institution, Liberty University, believes there are more undiscovered finds that have slipped through the fingers of archaeologists — and even of intrepid looters.

For example, no one knows the whereabouts of Timothy’s particular cave, described in his letter as being in the vicinity of Jericho. Perhaps it was fully emptied, its scrolls used by the community and eventually deposited in the Cairo Genizah. Or maybe it is one of the 11 major caves that held the 900-plus manuscripts and 15,000 tiny text fragments that have been unearthed since the besieged Qumran community stashed them away from the Romans circa 68 CE.

Or maybe, just maybe, Timothy’s cave is still out there to be discovered. If so, Gutfeld is positioning his team to find it — as well as a wealth of information on the people behind the Dead Sea Scrolls and their everyday lives. The previous two excavation seasons of Cave 53 bear out the possibility of overlooked artifacts.

 “We prove in Cave 53 that the caves of Qumran were not excavated, they were surveyed,” said Gutfeld. The previous archaeologists “just entered, they found the scrolls or the jars and they took them,” he said. There was no digging, and certainly no fine sifting of materials during the heady days of the first excavations.

Beginning in 1949, teams of excavators — authorized and not — combed the cave-dotted cliffs of Qumran in search of scroll caches. For a while, the finds were abundant. And then, after the mid-1950s, there was nothing new discovered under the blazing Dead Sea sun.

For the past three winter seasons, Gutfeld’s team has re-examined previously surveyed, but unexcavated caves. This year, the team took to the heights and examined an uncharted cave to discern if more finds await in the sheer cliffs.

Before the expedition concluded, Gutfeld took a pair of journalists up to the cave complexes numbered 52 and 53, based on earlier archaeological surveys that found some 600 caves in the cliffs. After ascending the steep, often unmarked path high above the Qumran National Park, the view is breathtaking (and not only because this journalist needed to catch her breath from the rope-aided climb) from the small man-made terrace outside Cave 52, some 212 meters (695 feet) above the Dead Sea.

It is commonly accepted that the major scroll finds originated in 11 caves, explained Gutfeld before we entered the cave located high above the park’s hiking trails. The assignation, he said, is often based on secondhand Bedouin testimony, since several of the manuscripts were purchased, not excavated. He thinks it possible that the massive hoard may have originated in other caves as well, which have until now been overlooked by archaeologists.

A faint, spray painted 52 points out the mouth of the cave. In the 1950s, it was surveyed by a member of the original Qumran excavations team, Józef Milik, a one-time Catholic priest and archaeologist. Milik, said Gutfeld, wrote an article in the 1950s suggesting that this spot was in fact the cave described by Timothy. Milik hypothesized that it had been emptied of scrolls by monks sent by Timothy from the Jericho Caranthal Monastery, over a thousand years prior to his survey.

“We believe maybe — we don’t know, but it’s a possibility — that it’s not the Bedouin who looted the cave, but that it was done hundreds of years earlier by the monks of the Caranthal Monastery,” said Gutfeld.

In the three seasons of excavations so far, the team has discovered indications of “scroll activity” — accessories including jars, textile wrappings, leather ties. This winter, the team also examined a pair of hard-to-enter elevated caves, reachable only with full climbing gear and metal guides hammered into the rock.

Taking in the Dead Sea panorama, Gutfeld swept his arm out and said with a smile, “This is my office.”

What Cave 52 yielded

Spoiler: No scrolls were discovered this winter, either.

From an academic point of view, the 2019 excavation was launched asking the question of whether caves found so high on the cliff were used as living spaces or only for hiding scrolls.

Through the excavation of Cave 52 this season, and the paucity of material culture from every day life, the conclusion is that it was only meant as a vault. A probe excavation of the even higher Cave 52B offered the same result, said Gutfeld.

 “The story of the cave and the excavation is more about the climbing, bringing up the tools, and rappelling when going down,” he said. “Just think about the Essences who climbed with jars in their hands — what we did with the ropes — how many jars fell?”

The opening of Cave 52 “was a rabbit hole tunnel,” which the team enlarged with small picks. “Everything was sifted from the first bucket, even the dirt piles outside the cave,” said Gutfeld, on the assumption that perhaps some of the looters had dropped some pottery.

Inside Cave 52, the team found Second Temple scroll jar pottery sherds and a few organic materials.

“The minute we lowered the level of the dirt we started to find the pottery sherds from Second Temple period jars,” he said. But there were few other finds, even after excavating a promising back tunnel. “Unfortunately we dug here for two weeks, it’s a very nice tunnel, but we didn’t find anything,” he said.

“Our conclusion is that it was used as a scroll cave, but the minute the jars were taken, it was empty,” said Gutfeld.

What was found in ‘juicy’ Cave 53

Excavation co-director Price, a pastor and Jewish Studies professor, fervently believes there are more mysteries to be discovered here. Joining Gutfeld and The Times of Israel at the mid-cliff level Cave 53, Price explained how the cave — and its surprise adjacent Cave 53B twin —  were excavated beginning in 2017.

“We had hoped to find a scroll cave,” Price said honestly of his initial goals. He told The Times of Israel that to find a cave holding the sacred scripture given to the people of this land would be thrilling.

 “This is one of the first caves excavated south of the plateau. The more famous caves are in the north. And in excavating this,” Price said, sweeping his hand around the cave, “we did find scroll jars — seven in total.” But no scrolls.

The cave was identified in a 1993 IAA survey and has interesting man-made features, including a column which supports an overhang ceiling at the cave’s edge. Although it is has remained stable thus far, it is definitely not a place to set a chair and enjoy the view.

A second, previously uncharted cave was discovered in an easy climb above Cave 53, and is called Cave 53B.

The path to and from these caves is unmarked, but at only 100 meters (328 feet) above the Dead Sea it is much less strenuous than that of caves 52 and 52B, which were the focus of this dig season. (At its highest, this year’s path is only accessible through rappelling).

Today, the mouth of Cave 53 gapes wide open, but during initial checks in 2010, it would have been more hidden from view. Then, Price and Gutfeld spotted sleeping mats made of palm fronds next to the man-made pillar in the back of the cave, as well as pottery.

Price secured funding for the excavation from private donations (digs are not funded through the Israeli government or universities) and a license was granted by the Staff Officer for Archaeology in the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, which is responsible for excavations in the West Bank, where Qumran is located.

Ahead of the 2017 winter excavation, all signs were positive. “The expectation was that there was something here to be found,” said Price.

And there was: What was originally scheduled as a two-week excavation stretched into an intense five. In addition to pottery pieces for seven scroll jars, through careful sifting of the dust and dirt the team uncovered hundreds of olive and date pits, as well as seeds, telling of ancient habitation of the cave. There was “scroll activity,” including 15 fragments of linen textile that used to cover the scrolls, cut leather straps, and a carved stick which Price said was used to wound the manuscripts into the jars.

Through sifting, the team discovered “an acorn that was brought from the Judean Hills over 50 kilometers [31 miles] away,” said Gutfeld. In sum, they filled an almost unprecedented 450 bags of organic material.

The two most astonishing finds were discovered in Cave 53B: an intact Qumran-style oil lamp that was discovered at the mouth of the cave, and a beautiful bronze pot that was found in the back in a previously undiscovered chamber.

The cave complex also offered signs of much earlier habitation: Within moments of arriving to the terrace outside its mouth, Gutfeld bent over and picked up several pieces of pottery. In one hand he held a few sherds from the Second Temple period. In another, prehistoric pottery from thousands of years ago, possibly Neolithic or Chalcolithic.

Other prehistoric finds include arrow and spear heads, flint blades, an interestingly carved carnelian seal and a piece of precious obsidian, which would have somehow made its way from Turkey.

“There was a lot of activity here, but it wasn’t until the Second Temple period that the jars were brought in, probably from the Qumran community, and placed here,” said Price.

Price has a theory why the scrolls are absent from this spot: When the Qumran community was attacked in 68 CE and the Romans turned the plateau into a fortress, the northern path was closed. So the residents turned south, possibly to Masada, and picked up their scrolls from this cave on the way.

Cave 53 is now excavated in parts down to bedrock. Charcoaled remains of thousands of year old fires can be seen on the pillar next to straggly strands of 2,000-year-old sleep mats. The team said there is no more work to be done here, and it will soon look for another location.

Ahead of the 2020 excavation

In early February, Gutfeld will begin surveying for locations in the middle terrace of the cliff for the 2020 excavation. “Hopefully we’ll find another ‘juicy’ cave, like Cave 53,” he said.

“There is still much more to do, especially in this region,” said Gutfeld.

According to a recent Haaretz article, head of the IAA Yisrael Hasson is on board with the team’s goals. “The desert is full of hiding places. Until we have thoroughly checked and mapped them all, we won’t declare the work finished,” said Hasson.

Hasson said his archaeologists are also working in the area: “Six months ago we excavated six caves and more recently we excavated two more caves in the northern Dead Sea area, but I won’t say more because I don’t want to give information to robbers… We’re doing ‘low profile’ work to stay ahead of the competition,” said Hasson.

Each year the team must apply for a new dig license from the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria. Part of the application process includes secure funding for both excavation and publication of finds. For this team, the funding comes through private donations — not always easy to come by despite its high-profile objectives.

Because of the very real threat of looting in the area, the dig is considered a “salvage excavation” and is permissible by law in order to save and rescue the potential precious heritage items. Likewise, he said, all excavation is only conducted after securing a permit. (Asked whether the West Bank location was an obstacle to garnering funding, Gutfeld said the only blow-back he has felt so far was from a Jewish woman at a conference in the States.)

But his third reason for why the excavation’s West Bank location is not significant is that scrolls are overwhelmingly important to Judaism and early Christianity. They are a direct tie to the historical Land of Israel, which predates modern borders.

“When I take my kids to the [Israel Museum’s] Shrine of the Book and they can read directly from the scrolls, it says everything,” said Gutfeld.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9584

‘Indiana Jones’ dig uncovers site of lost Ark of the Covenant

The Ark, with two stone tablets listing the Ten Commandments, was built by the Israelites as they conquered the Holy Land.

By Mirror.co.uk

  • 10:48, 10 JAN 2019
  • Updated10:51, 10 JAN 2019

A group of real-life Indiana Joneses believe they may have solved one of the mysteries of the lost Ark of the Covenant.

Prof Israel Finkelstein, of Tel Aviv University, is leading an archaeological dig at Kiryat Ye’arim, near Jerusalem, and believes that it is where the Ark was kept for 20 years.

The Ark, with two stone tablets listing the Ten Commandments, was built by the Israelites as they conquered the Holy Land.

It was captured by the Philistines, but after afflicting them with plague and famine, was returned to the Israelites at Kirjath-Jearim.

Archaeologists are now almost certain the town of Kiryat Ye’arim is the same place.

Prof Finkelstein said: “It fits the detailed description in Joshua. In Byzantine times, historian Eusebius said that Kirjath-Jearim was nine or 10 miles west of Jerusalem, which this site is.

“Also the name of the hill in Arabic – Deir el-Azar – preserves the name of the Byzantine monastery: the Monastery of Elazar.

“According to the Book of Samuel, Elazar was the priest in charge of the Ark.”

The Ark is said to have disappeared from Jerusalem in the sixth century BC.

https://i2-prod.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article13837019.ece/ALTERNATES/s615b/0_PAY-PNPNARKCOVENANT05JPG.jpg

The platform excavated at Kiryat Ye’arim which is 10 miles west of Jerusalem (Image: Credit: Pen News/Shmunis Family Excavations)

And though he has found no evidence of the Ark itself, Prof Finkelstein believes he can shed some light on its true nature.

“We are not searching for the Ark. We are trying to understand the Ark narrative, who composed it, when and why.

“The biblical narrative probably comes from the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and was seemingly composed in the first half of the 8th century BC.

“It probably served the ideological goals of the kingdom at the time, perhaps also its territorial aspirations, namely control over Judah.”

Lending weight to this theory is a huge platform discovered at the site. Professor Finkelstein said: “Kirjathjearim was a typical hill country town, on a peak, with relatively steep slopes.

“But on the summit there was an elevated platform, which was probably the location of a temple.”

Kirjathjearim straddled the border of two ancient kingdoms – Israel to the north and Judah to the south – with excavations suggesting the site was used by the former to control the latter.

Against this backdrop, Professor Finkelstein believes the Ark story was invented to give Kirjathjearim religious legitimacy as an administrative centre.

It also emphasises a fabled past when the two kingdoms were united under a single ruler, further legitimising ancient Israel’s rule over its southern neighbour.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9562

Stone From High Priest’s Breastplate Discovered?

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz/Breaking Israel News December 07, 2018

“And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel.” Exodus 28:9 

Sometimes incredible stories are actually true, and in this case, experts agree that a small onyx stone, claimed to be given to a Knight Templar over 1,000 years ago and handed down through one family from generation to generation, is actually what the present owner claims: a gem from the breastplate of the High Priest in Jerusalem.

A Prophetic Stone?

The stones of the choshen mishpat,  the High Priest’s breastplate, were referred to in the Bible as the urim v’tummim, a phrase that defies translation.

And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aharon’s heart Exodus 28:30

The Talmud (Yoma 73a) describes how questions were put to the breastplate, and the stones would light up to spell out the answer. The book of Samuel lists the urim v’tummim as one of the three forms of divine communication: dreams, prophets, and the urim v’tummim.

And when Shaul inquired of Hashem, Hashem answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. I Samuel 28:6

According to the Talmud (Yoma 21b), the urim v’tummim were lost when Jerusalem was sacked by the Babylonians. The Book of Ezra mentions that individuals who were unable to prove, after the Babylonian captivity had ended, that they were descended from the priesthood before the captivity began, were required to wait until priests in possession of urim v’tummim were discovered.

In addition to the 12 stones mounted on the breastplate were two sardonyx stones fixed in gold settings on the shoulders of the High Priest.  

And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulder-pieces of the ephod, to be stones of memorial for the children of Israel; and Aharon shall bear their names before Hashem upon his two shoulders for a memorial. Exodus 28:12

Experts believe this is one of those stones. If this is so, contained within it is the power of prophecy and it may play an important role in returning the Priestly Caste to serve in the Temple.

Discovery: Too Incredible to Believe

In 2000, Dr. James Strange, a noted professor in religious studies and archaeology, traveled to South Africa. An acquaintance suggested Dr. Strange contact a family she had met there and if he could, help them with a pro-bono appraisal of a gemstone. They were of humble means and Dr. Strange was a certified appraiser whose services were highly sought after.

Dr. Strange met with the family, intending to humor them. Instead, he was astounded by what they showed him. “I was indeed amazed at the gemstone,” Dr. Strange told Breaking Israel News. The stone itself was nothing special. A semi-precious sardonyx, it had little intrinsic worth.

But Dr. Strange was puzzled by the object he held in his hands. “I was unaware that anyone in the late Middle Ages had the technology to cut a hemisphere in such a medium, so I tried to exhaust all other explanations,” he said.

Even more astounding than the cut of the stone was the inexplicable inscription inside the stone, visible through the clear surface: two letters in ancient Hebrew. Dr. Stone wrote in his appraisal of the gem, “There is no modern or ancient technology known to me by which an artisan could produce the inscription, as it is not cut into the surface of the stone.”

Dr. Strange was an expert but when faced with such a mystery, he sought help. He turned to Ian Campbell, Director of the Independent Coloured Stones Laboratory in Johannesburg and a leading South African gemologist. Campbell was equally dumbfounded.

He studied the stone, trying to ascertain its origin. The owner’s story placing it on the High Priest’s breastplate were too incredible. But the family had documentation that traced its descent from a Crusader-period male ancestor who had been in the Holy Land in the Middle Ages and claimed the stone was a reward from the High Priest. Could it be true?

The Thousand-Year Story

According to the Auret family tradition, the ancestor, named Croiz Arneet deTarn Auret, received the stone from “the High Priest” in gratitude for his part in freeing Jerusalem around 1189. The custodianship of the stone was passed on in the Auret family through the male line until the nineteenth century. That tradition was broken when Abraham Auret passed away in 1889, bequeathing the stone to his daughter, Christina Elizabeth.

After her marriage to William James Hurst, the stone left the Auret name, and has been passed on from mother to daughter ever since. Meticulously recorded family trees and genealogical reports corroborate the story. The stone was passed on as an inheritance and is presently owned by an elderly woman in South Africa, who wishes to remain anonymous.

It has been strongly transmitted to each member of the family through the centuries that it was God’s hand that inserted the mysterious inscription inside the stone.

Experts Agree

The mystery of the writing remained. Dr. Strange noted that the stone had no external markings, so it clearly hadn’t been set in a ring or a necklace. He was forced to conclude that it had probably been set in a large plate or breastplate. He dated production of the stone to approximately the 5th century BCE.

As an appraiser, Dr. Strange could not erase all doubt, but he could certainly evaluate it as a one-of-a-kind. He appraised the stone’s value at $175-$225 million.

The gemologist, Mr. Campbell, photomicrographed (photographing via a microscope) the stone, confirming it had not been cut open to make the inscription. When asked to estimate the value of the stone, Mr. Campbell wrote, “How does one logically go about putting a value to something like a proven religious artifact that is a ‘one of’ article?”

He estimated that $200 million was a “fair starting point”.

The owner of the stone also consulted Professor M. Sharon from the University of Witwatersrand. The professor, an expert in ancient Hebrew, was given a photo of the stone. The blurry photographs hinted at something astounding but he had to be sure. Intrigued, he asked to examine the actual stone.

In his written report, he said that when he held it to the light, he was amazed to see very clearly inside the stone itself, two letters in ancient Hebrew. The letters seemed to be engraved or burnt into the heart of the stone.

“Due to the clarity of the letters and their fine definition it would be incredible if they are a coincidental natural formation in the stone,” he stated in his notarized report. “The lack of any apparent sign of interference with the surface makes the existence of the letters inside the stone a real enigma.”

He noted the inscriptions in ancient Hebrew script of what he described as “the equivalent of our ‘B’ and ‘K’.” He identified the style of script, dating it to be from the year 1000 BCE, give or take 200-300 years.

In 1994, Dr. Joan Goodnick Westenholz, who served as Chief Curator at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem, examined the stone. She concluded, “It is a unique object that has no similar or identical counterpart; it is the only one of its kind in the world.”

Dr. Goodnick Westenholz believed that the gem was “priceless”, estimating the date of the stone’s production to be approximately the 7th century BCE. She noted the inscription “in the shape of a possible letter is a ninth century form of an archaic Hebrew letter bet.”

In her notarized report, she observed next to the letter bet “what can be perceived as the image of a wolf.” She noted that the wolf corresponded to the blessing Jacob gave Benjamin.

Binyamin is a wolf that raveneth; in the morning he devoureth the prey, and at even he divideth the spoil. Genesis 49:27

But Is It True?

Dr. Westenholz  and Ian Campbell have since passed away, but Breaking Israel News was able to confirm that their statements and documentation were genuine. Campbell’s apprentice, Jeremy Rothon, confirmed the original appraisal and told Breaking Israel News that he was well aware of the stone’s heritage. It had made an enormous impression on Campbell and he had discussed it at length with his student.

Dr. Strange remembers the stone very well, and is more convinced than ever of its authenticity. “A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then,” Dr. Strange told Breaking Israel News. “I calculated then that if it were a fraud, then one or more very similar others would show up on the international market rather soon, but to my knowledge none has.”

He called for new examination of the gem. “I think this object needs a new appraisal and as many scientific tests as possible to determine whether it is genuine,” said Dr. Strange. “If it turns out to be an artifact important to the history of the Jewish people, then that is truly wonderful.  If it turns out to be a masterful fraud, then I will be pained that I was duped.”

The Journey Home

The present owner has contracted with a South African businessman to find investors who are willing to purchase the stone and bring it home to Israel. Both parties prefer to remain anonymous. When he saw the stone and understood what it was, the businessman was dismayed, understanding that it could easily turn into a commodity, an object of greed. 

He recognized that this small stone was an enormous part of Jewish history and set out to find an investor who would recompense the owner with the intention of bringing it to Israel and donating it to the Temple.

“I’ve been involved with deals like this before,” he told Breaking Israel News. “There are pieces of Egyptian heritage in museums all over the world. People find something and sell it, without thinking about what it is. That is what is done and it is a shame, even more so with this stone. Several people have been trying to buy or sell this stone, turning it into a business. All I really wanted to do was get the stone back to Israel where it belongs.”

Many people have begun to discount the Jewish connection to Israel and the Temple Mount, claiming the Jewish Temples are fairytale accounts. This small stone and its miraculous engraving that once lit up the High Priest’s breastplate are proof that the Temple stood in Jerusalem, and may signal the return of more artifacts that have been misplaced, waiting to return home.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9518

Archaeologists Believe They Have Found A Ring That Belonged To Pontius Pilate, Roman Governor Who Ordered Crucifixion Of Jesus Of Nazareth

The site of Herodium was excavated by Professor Gideon Prester of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from 1968 to 1969, during which the ring was found at the hilltop palace. Dr. Roi Porat of the Hebrew University headed the exploration of the site’s findings and led the team that worked to clean and examine the ring. Pilate’s name was not considered to be common during this time, and the seal is typical of the status of cavalry in Roman society, which is why the authors of the publication believe it belonged to the prefect.

by Geoffrey Grider November 29, 2018

An inscription on a copper-alloy ring that was found nearly 50 years ago at an excavation near Herodium has been deciphered and could have possibly belonged to Pontius Pilate.

Over 50 years ago, at the site of the ancient Herodium in Israel, a ring was found that dated back to the First Century AD. It bore an inscription that until very recently remained undeciphered. Archaeologists have now been able to decode it, and have found that it bears the words ‘of Pilate’. Interestingly, Pilate was the 5th of the Roman governors, or prefects, in ancient Judea, and 5 is the number of death and judgment in the Bible. So it is fitting that Pilate would be the one to pronounce death upon the innocent Jesus of Nazareth.

“The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” Acts 4:26-28 (KJV)

The Bible tells us that while both Herod and Pontius Pilate were there standing against Jesus, so too were the people of the nation of Israel there to oppose thier king. That opposition continues to this day as you will note in the below article from the JPost. They refuse to give God the glory by using the global standard of BC – which stands for ‘before Christ’, and AD – meaning ‘in the year of our Lord’, when referring to Old and New Testament times, and have changed it to BCE  – ‘before the common era’,  and CE – ‘common era’.

“And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto him, Thou sayest it. And the chief priests accused him of many things: but he answered nothing. And Pilate asked him again, saying, Answerest thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against thee. But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled.” Mark 15:2-5 (KJV)

Pray for Israel and the Jewish people, that the scales that cover their spiritual eyes, and that are over their hearts, will be removed and that some might be saved before the start of the time of Jacob’s trouble.

INSCRIPTION REVEALED ON JESUS’S KILLER’S RING

FROM THE JERUSALEM POST: The Roman prefect, who was notoriously credited with the death of Jesus, ruled the Judea province from 26 CE to 36 CE. The inscription, which was published in the latest edition of the Israel Exploration Journal, includes the words “Of Pilate” [πιλατο] on the small seal ring dated to the first century BCE to the mid-first century CE.

It also contains a depiction of a krater, a type of jar that originated in ancient Greece that was used for watering down wine. The newly published article also discusses the typology of ancient representations of kraters in Second Temple Jewish art.

The site of Herodium was excavated by Professor Gideon Prester of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from 1968 to 1969, during which the ring was found at the hilltop palace. Dr. Roi Porat of the Hebrew University headed the exploration of the site’s findings and led the team that worked to clean and examine the ring.

Pilate’s name was not considered to be common during this time, and the seal is typical of the status of cavalry in Roman society, which is why the authors of the publication believe it belonged to the prefect. Though the ring is simple, it was likely to be used for daily functions, such as signing documents by officials or court staff who would have signed documents in Pilate’s name.

Pilate was the fifth of the Roman prefects in Judea. It is assumed by archaeologists that Pilate used Herodium, originally built in the first century CE by King Herod, as an administrative center.

The ring’s study was led and produced by Malka Hershkovitz and Professor Shua Amorai-Stark, and was co-authored by Gideon Foerster, Yakov Kalman, Rachel Chachy and Porat.

According to ancient historian Josephus and canonical gospel accounts, Pilate lobbied for Jesus to be spared his eventual fate of execution, but eventually gave into public demands for his death. He had famously sought to avoid personal accountability for Jesus’s death, as is seen in the Gospel of Matthew with his symbolic “washing of his hands.”

“And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? And they cried out again, Crucify him. Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.” Mark 15:12-14 (KJV)

The only other physical archaeological evidence that confirms Pilate’s existence is a Latin inscription found on a limestone block that is Pilate’s tribute to Tiberius. It was found as a reused block within a staircase at the Roman theater in Caesarea, and is now housed at the Israel Museum. The inscription on the stone also references Pilate as prefect of Judea

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9493

Science shocker: Adam and Eve for real

All mankind descended from 1 couple

Published: 13 hours ago

In a major shock to evolutionary science, a sweeping survey of the genetic code shows the human race sprang from a single adult couple.

The research was led by the Rockefeller University and the University of Basel, Switzerland, and stunned all involved.

“This conclusion is very surprising,” said David Thaler, research associate from the University of Basel. “And I fought against it as hard as I could.”

While still holding to an old Earth with these modern humans dating back between 100,000 to 200,000 years, it’s a time far more recent than other claims in the evolutionary theory.

In addition, this Adam and Eve, the researchers say, arose after a catastrophic event than nearly wiped out the human race. The Bible’s a story of a couple created by God as a adults.

Another surprise for the scientists, however, was that nine of every 10 animal species also come from a single pair of beings.

Senior research associate Mark Stoeckle and Thaler, the two scientists who headed the study, concluded 90 percent of all animal species alive today come from parents that all began giving birth at roughly the same time, less than 250 thousand years ago — throwing into doubt the patterns of human evolution.

“At a time when humans place so much emphasis on individual and group differences, maybe we should spend more time on the ways in which we resemble one another and the rest of the animal kingdom,” said Stoeckle.

The study also suggests people and animals are very similar genetically to each other.

“If a Martian landed on Earth and met a flock of pigeons and a crowd of humans, one would not seem more diverse than the other according to the basic measure of mitochondrial DNA,” said Jesse Ausubel, director of the Program for the Human Environment at the Rockefeller University.

Stoeckle agrees, adding: “Culture, life experience and other things can make people very different but in terms of basic biology, we’re like the birds.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9477