Top Ten Discoveries in Biblical Archaeology in 2012

ARTIFAX magazine and The Book & The Spade radio program have published the Top Ten Discoveries in Biblical Archaeology in 2012.

Both organisations are interested in archaeology from the biblical point of view. Many more discoveries were made in 2012, of course, but these are the ten highlights that were picked out by them.

Out of those ten, the discovery of a water cistern from the First Temple period below Robinson’s Arch is at the top of my list, as it casts light on the water situation in Jerusalem probably during the time of Hezekiah.

Photo: Vladimir Naykhin

During his time, Jerusalem extended greatly to include the Western Hill and every possiblilty to store water must have been explored. The largest known water reservoirs that were made at that time were the Pools of Siloam and Bethesda.

Schematic reconstruction of the three phases of the development of Jerusalem. Drawing © Leen Ritmeyer.

Second place goes to the Matanyahu seal that was found beneath Robinson’s Arch too.

Photo: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority

People used personal seals in the First Temple period for the purpose of signing letters and they were set in a signet ring. The seals served to identify their owner,  just as they identify officials today.

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One Response to Top Ten Discoveries in Biblical Archaeology in 2012

  1. abchrysler says:

    Leen, I agree with your choices, especially the cistern from Hezekiah’s time. He was an amazing builder (the expanded city wall, the tunnel, etc.). Additionally, the Proto-Aeolic capital fragment, found in Jerusalem, was uncovered too late to make the list, but I think you might agree that it should be there.

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