ArtiFACTS: Recent News in Archaeology and Anthropology

Second Temple in Jerusalem in wrong spot!, Bulgarian archaeologists want higher wages, New Discovery of Old Sarcophagi in Egypt, and the 5,000 year-old embrace will go uninterrupted.

These are some interesting stories and their links and discussion is below the fold!

Second Temple is in the wrong spot? Proffessor Joseph Patrich of the Hebrew University Institute of Archaeology thinks so. He thinks that the temple, its courtyards, its gates, and so on, should be south and east of the current location. The reason Patrich thinks the actual temple location is different is because of data he used that was gathered in 1866 by Charles Wilson during a survey that mapped an underground cistern.

[O]ne can “reconstruct” the placement of the laver (a large basin) that was used by the priests for their ritual washing, with the water being drawn by a waterwheel mechanism from the cistern. After this purification, the priests ascended the nearby ramp to the sacrificial altar. By thus locating the laver, the water wheel, the ramp and the altar, one can then finally map, again in coordination with the Mishna, the alignment of the Temple itself and its gates and chambers.

Patrich stands by the assertion that his work isn’t politically motivated in any way and that its purely academic, but with the tension that exists in the region and between the Palestinians and the Jews over what both consider to be a “holy site,” any new information or archaeological innovation deserves to be carefully vetted.

Three Painted Wooden Sarcophagi Recovered at Saqqara.
Japanese archaeologists recently unearthed the three coffins which dated to the Middle Kingdom, nearly 5,000 years ago. Two of the sarcophagi were designed for a man called Sabak Hatab and a woman named Sint Ayt Ess and these are the oldest. The third belongs to a New Kingdom owner of the 18th Dynasty, ca. 1,500 BCE.

5,000 Year-Old Embrace Will not Be Disturbed
The much-linked to find of the “stone-age lovers” who were in time for Valentine’s Day and emailed to every archaeologist and anthropologist with a computer will not have their embrace interrupted in the name of science.

Buried 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, researchers will scoop the whole site and remove it instead of removing it bone-by-bone. Lots of interesting facts surround the couple: they were buried the wrong way (north-south, instead of east-west like contemporaries), together instead of singly, heads intact instead of decapitated, etc. And lots of speculation exists about their demise.

I say the man died and his family buried the love of his life with him since they new he couldn’t stand to be without her.


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