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True treasures of the Holy Land

From above left, the beehives at Tel Rehov, a city drain in Jerusalem, and a quarry in Jerusalem that may have suppled massive stone blocks for the Second Temple.
From above left, the beehives at Tel Rehov, a city drain in Jerusalem, and a quarry in Jerusalem that may have suppled massive stone blocks for the Second Temple.

ALTHOUGH SOMETIMES OVERSHADOWED by the grand claims of amateurs, important discoveries are now being made by biblical archeologists on an almost weekly basis. In just the past month, researchers have announced five major finds in Israel, three in Jerusalem alone.

•Thirty beehives from the 10th or ninth century BC at Tel Rehov, in Israel's Bet She'an Valley. The beehives are the earliest found anywhere in the ancient Near East and give new meaning to the phrase "land of milk and honey."

•A possible Egyptian fortress from before the time of the Exodus, buried beneath a seventh century BC Philistine village near the Gaza Strip. Similar structures have been found elsewhere in Israel and attest to a strong Egyptian presence in the region during the Late Bronze Age.

•A quarry in Jerusalem that may have supplied massive stone blocks for the Second Temple, built in the first century BC. This is the first indication that these materials may have been procured locally.

•A wall, possibly from the Second Temple itself, found during repair work on top of Jerusalem's Temple Mount. The wall, which probably dates to the first century BC, may be from one of the courts of the Temple; if so, it would help us begin to understand the layout of the Temple.

•A huge city drain in Jerusalem dating from the time of the First Jewish Revolt in the first century AD. It fits the description given by Josephus, the Jewish general turned Roman historian, of an escape route used during the Roman siege that destroyed the city and the Temple. - E.C.

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