Sunday, June 17, 2007

Biblical Archaeology in a Day, Site V~Dibon

Biblical Archaeology in a Day, Site I~ Tell Al'Umeiri
Biblical Archaeology in a Day, Site II~ Ataroth
Biblical Archaeology in a Day, Site III~Machaerus
Biblical Archaeology in a Day, Site IV~ Khirbet Iskander

Continuing south, we arrived in the present day village of Dhiban and the ancient city of Dibon which exist side by side. It is believed that "Dibon-gad" mentioned in Numbers 33:45 is one of the camp locations of the Israelites during the exodus. Dhiban has been occupied intermittently since the Early Bronze Age, or about 3000 BC.

Perhaps the greatest historical signifcance of this site is that it was here, in 1868, a German missionary, Rev. F.A. Klien discovered the Mesha Stele, or as it has come to be known, the Moabite Stone. The stele, erected by the Moabite King, Mesha, in about 850 B.C., is a memorial to his victories over the Israelite king, Omri, and the other men of Israel (Gad, Ataroth, Nebo, and Jehaz).

The bedouins of the area, hoping that multiple pieces would bring more money, broke up the stone; fortunately, a French diplomat had made a squeeze (paper mache' impression) of the intact stele. The reconstructed stele in housed in the Louvre.

Written in the Moabite language, nearly identical to an early form of Hebrew, it contains 34 linesof history which scholars generally accept as agreeing with the historic accounts found in the Old Testament historical books of Kings and Chronicles. You can read more about the Mesha Stele and a translation of the inscription here. Very interesting.

Dear Husband shows a budding archaeologist how to determine the arc of a vessel from a pottery sherd.


JavaArm said...

Wow...what a very interesting whirlwind tour. :) Nothing like having history at your doorstep. Loved the pics too...especially the one of youngest daughter reaching for the light...that is need to get it blown up and framed. :)

Seasonal Soundings said...

Just wanted to let you know how much I have been enjoying your archaeology posts. Seeing the real thing today with your commentary has been thrilling! I've shared some with my dh when I can drag him to the computer. Thanks for all the time it takes to write and post!

desert mom said...

Thanks, Janie. Writing these posts has actually helped organize and reinforce the the things I learned on the tour. Surprise, surprise. I'm glad you're enjoying them. You have to drag your dh to the computer too? ;).