Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Biblical Archaeology in a Day

Last week a dear friend extended to us a serendipitous invitation to join them and some friends on a one day whirlwind tour of ten archaeological sites in southern Jordan. Our answer, in one word (and a punctuation mark): Yes! And yesterday was the day. By the end of our whirlwind tour we were hot, dusty, and in the words of our illustrious guide, suffering from rock fatigue. And so to spare you from rock fatigue, I will blog about one site at a time. But remember, we visited all these sites in ONE day. One amazing day.

The first site we visited, Tell Al Umeiri, is located just 6 km south of Amman. Dated from the Early-Middle Bronze period (per our guide though I've also read Late Bronze to Early Iron) or nearly 4000 years ago, this four room dwelling is the best preserved Ammonite house in all of Jordan/Palestine/Israel.

A 1984 excavation led to the discovery of a seal impression which read: “Belonging to Milkom’or the servant of Ba’alyassa.” This fits with a reference to an Ammonite king mentioned in Jeremiah 39:14: "...'Do you know that Baalis the king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to take your life?'"

And though the delicate spring wildflowers have faded, growing in their place were the hardier, drought resistant flowers of early summer.

The Euphorbia provided a beautiful chartreuse accent to area.

The ubiquitous purple thistle was the flower of the day, appearing at nearly all the sites we visited. Jordan's grazing sheep and goats just don't like those thorns!


Kathleen Hamilton said...

Wow, Melissa, that is extremely cool! What a fantastic opportunity. I can't wait to see more.

Patti said...

How neat, Melissa! What a wonderful opportunity. Gee, just looked at Kathleen's comments and I see that I've said the same thing but have used synonyms. It's all true...every word. :-)