Archaeologists Discover Remains from the Babylonian Destruction of Jerusalem

Aug. 12 2019

Yesterday, Jews around the world fasted to commemorate the destruction of the First and Second Temples. By coincidence, a group of researchers involved in excavations around Mount Zion have just announced the discovery of evidence of the earlier of those events: specifically, the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte reports:

The discovery is of a deposit including layers of ash, arrowheads dating from the period, Iron Age potsherds, lamps, and a significant piece of period jewelry—a gold and silver tassel or earring. There are also signs of a significant Iron Age structure in the associated area, but the building, beneath layers from later periods, has yet to be excavated.

Because of the site’s location, various alternative explanations for the artifacts can be eliminated, the researchers argue. “We know where the ancient fortification line ran,” noted [the dig’s co-director] Shimon Gibson, “so we know we are within the city. We know that this is not some dumping area, but the southwestern neighborhood of the Iron Age city—during the 8th century BCE the urban area extended from the City of David area to the southeast and as far as the Western Hill where we are digging.”

The ash deposits, similarly, are not conclusive evidence of the Babylonian attack in themselves, but are much more so in the context of other materials. Gibson [explained that] “the combination of an ashy layer full of artifacts, mixed with arrowheads, and a very special ornament indicates some kind of devastation and destruction. Nobody abandons golden jewelry and nobody has arrowheads in his domestic refuse.”

By all accounts the Babylonian conquest of the city by the Neo-Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar was ferocious and resulted in a great loss of life, with the razing of the city and the burning of houses, and the plundering and dismantling of King Solomon’s Temple.

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Read more at Phys.org

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, First Temple, Jerusalem

 

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy