Hebrew Bible and ANE History Lists Commentary

News and Comments that relate to the Hebrew Bible and to my posts on various ANE and Hebrew Bible related mailing lists - Yitzhak Sapir

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Kafr Cana Update

Update April 17, 2006: A slightly different article is now available at The Washington Times. Details follow the main quotations.

An undated but recent photo made available by
the IAA of the Kfar Kana excavation site
Photo source: Yahoo / AP Photo / IAA, Mar. 13, 2006
The Toronto Sun has an article with some new information on the recent excavation at Kfar Cana in the Galilee, interviewing Yardenna Alexandre, "a British-born graduate of the Institute of Archaeology at University College London, who works with the Israel Antiquities Authority." Much of the article ties the village to the times of Jesus, but some information is also provided relating to the early Iron Age finds:

With bulldozers virtually waiting in the wings, they have exposed part of the Israelite city wall and the remains of houses built alongside it 3,000 years ago during the era of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. ... Referring to the Iron Age settlement that dates back to the previous millennium (1,000 B.C.), Alexandre said most of its structures were built shortly before the creation of the northern kingdom of Israel. This kingdom was formed when that of Kings Saul, David and Solomon was divided between Solomon's heir, Reheboam, and his Israelite rival, Jereboam.

She and her team uncovered the remains of a wall that enclosed the settlement's 1.2 hectare area. They also discovered the remains of a kiln where the diggers came upon a great deal of burned material.

Other finds included loom weights which were "well known to the people of the Iron Age," she said. The Israelite town was destroyed in the ninth century B.C., probably by the Aramaeans, who then ruled Damascus. Ancient Cana was rebuilt shortly afterward.

Among the foreign armies which attacked it was that of the Assyrians who carried off 650 residents as captives. This is cited in a tablet composed by the Assyrian leader, Tiglat Pileser III, which was found in the Assyrians' capital, Calah, located in the north of modern-day Iraq.

The article mentions the possibility that the site or part of the area will be made into an archaeological park. Read the full article here. Update: In contrast to this optimistic attitude, The Washington Times has what appears to be a slight revision of the earlier article. It notes that the site "has been excavated by archaeologists in a crash effort to uncover its ruins before they are pulverized by local building contractors." Other interesting details from the second article include the dating of the Iron Age settlement: "[The] earlier town was destroyed in the ninth century B.C., probably by the Arameans who then ruled Damascus, Syria, Miss Alexandre said. Ancient Cana was rebuilt before the ninth century ended." Of the much later settlement, it notes that "many of Cana's houses contained ritual baths and stone vessels indicating its inhabitants were Galilean Jews at the time of the miracle described in the Gospel of John. ... Miss Alexandre emphasized that her scientific work was not inspired or motivated by the miracle associated with Cana."

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