Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gold Jewelry Discovered at Megiddo

We first noted this discovery in March, but more details are available now that the media has picked up the story. From the Jerusalem Post.

The Megiddo cache is notable for its abundance of gold jewels, including nine large earrings and a ring-seal. It also includes than a thousand small beads of gold, silver and carnelian – a semi-precious stone of orange-to-amber hue. All of the artifacts are in good condition.

One of the collection's most remarkable items is a gold basket-shaped earring bearing the figure of a bird, possibly an ostrich. Experts believe one of the items may be the first of its kind ever discovered in Israel, and that its use of gold points to possible Egyptian influence. Megiddo, the Armageddon of Christian Scripture, was for centuries a major trading post on the Egypt-Assyria trade route.

So far 25 Iron Age jewelry hoards have been uncovered in Israel, with most of them containing only silver artifacts.

"The hoard includes a lot of gold items, which have origins in Egypt," said Eran Arie, a Tel Aviv University archeologist who was supervising the dig at the time of the jewels' discovery.

The full story is here. More photos of the Iron I objects are posted at the Megiddo website.

Last night I was reading an interview with Cyrus Gordon, who made an interesting comment about the discovery of gold in the land of Israel.

I also went to see [W. M. Flinders] Petrie at Tell el-Ajjul, which he thought was ancient Gaza. He was wrong, but he found more gold in that one year than archaeologists have found in the past hundred years in every site combined (Scholars on the Record, p. 163).

Petrie worked at Tell el-Ajjul from 1930 to 1934; the interview with Gordon was first published in BAR Nov/Dec 2000.

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