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Egypt's Most Ancient Desert Fortress Uncovered in Sinai

Egypt's Most Ancient Desert Fortress Uncovered in Sinai


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In Egypt, the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities has announced a major discovery in Sinai. Dr. Moustafa Waziri has announced that an Egyptian team of archaeologists has unearthed a two towers of a castle or fortified structure that dates from the 26 th Dynasty. The find is important as it will not only enable a greater understanding of the development of Egyptian fortresses but also provide insights into the strategic importance of the Sinai region in ancient times.

The discovery was made in the north of Sinai at a site that is known as Tell El-Kadwa. The Sinai Peninsula was very important to the defense of Ancient Egypt as it was a frontier area where the pharaoh’s army would attempt to halt any invasion from the area that is now Israel. There is evidence that successive pharaoh’s built many forts in the desert region to protect the Egyptian heartland from invasion. According to the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research , the Ancient Egyptians had established an ‘eastern frontier defense network’ in Sinai since at least the Middle Kingdom .

According to the ministry facebook, this fort represents ‘Egypt’s eastern gate, and the only fortress in control of the entry and exit process during the Zionist era’.

Spear heads found at the fortress site in Sinai ( Ministry of Antiquities )

Walls and towers of a great fort

The latest excavation has found ‘the remains of the towers of the ancient castle, as well as its southern wall’ according to the Luxor Times . This site extends for some 240 feet (84 m) and is located on an eminence (raised ground). The castle is believed to have had some 16 towers built of mud brick and is at least 2,500 years old.

The experts also unearthed many rooms in the fort that are filled with debris, earth, and sand, which was possibly to buttress the walls and to reinforce them. It has also been suggested that they may have been used to store water . The Luxor Times also reports that archaeologists have uncovered an ‘entrance to the castle, which is a side gate located in the north-eastern part of the discovered wall’. A chamber near the entrance where members of the garrison probably monitored people entering and leaving the fort was also revealed during the dig.

Some mud-brick houses that were built against one of the fort’s curtain walls were also excavated. A quartz amulet was found near one of these former dwellings and it was inscribed with the name of a 26 th Dynasty pharaoh. The monarch named on the talisman is King Psmatik I, who was a member of the Saite Dynasty the last native-born pharaohs to rule Egypt.

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An amulet with the name King Psmatik I was found. ( Ministry of Antiquities )

The Saite Dynasty

The Saite Pharaohs had originated in the city of Sais and they had come to prominence after the Assyrian invasion and occupation of Egypt. Psmatik I had expelled the brutal Assyrians and reasserted Egyptian independence c. 610 BC. His family ruled the country, mostly successfully, until the Persians invaded and deposed the last Saite Pharaoh, Psmatik III in 525 BC.

This castle was built on the ruins of an earlier one that is considered to be the oldest one yet found in this part of Egypt. The Luxor Times quotes the head of the Department of Lower Egypt Antiquities, Nadia Khedr, as saying “the walls of the old castle were near 7 meters in width, compared with 11-meter wide walls of the most recent one”. The later castle had sixteen towers compared to the earlier one which only had four. The differences between the two forts are helping archaeologists to understand the evolution of ancient Egyptian castle building over the centuries.

There is evidence that Tell El-Kadwa fort had come under a sustained siege and that at some point its walls were mostly destroyed. This may have occurred during the Persian invasion of 525 BC. The team are continuing their excavations and they hope to discover more about the construction of the fort. It is hoped that the project will help to generate interest in the Sinai and encourage more tourists to visit the area.


Egyptian archaeologists say lava of Thera found in Sinai

TEL HABUWA, Egypt (AP) – Egyptian archaeologists on Monday presented white stones of pumice that they believe a tsunami in ancient times carried 850 kilometers (530 miles) across the Mediterranean to North Sinai. The pumice was discharged by a volcanic eruption on the ancient Greek island of Thera in the 17th century BC. Traces of this solidified lava foam that floats have been found in Crete and southwestern Turkey, but Egypt’s archaeologists believe it also reached this site in the Sinai Desert, about 7 kilometers (4 miles) south of the coast. The Thera explosion was devastating. It sunk most of the island and killed over 35,000 people of a thriving Minoan community. The head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, hailed the discovery as opening a «new field» of study in Egyptology. «Geologists will help us study how… natural disasters, such as the Santorini [the modern-day name for Thera] tsunami, affected the Pharaonic period.» A volcanologist at Greece’s Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration, Georgios Vouyioukalakis, is skeptical that the pumice could have traveled so far. But «thin strata of ash» carried by the wind from Thera have already been found in the Nile Delta, he told The Associated Press. «The tsunami could have carried pumice a bit higher than the coastal area. But it would have been carried there by currents,» Vouyioukalakis said in Athens. Some believe that Thera could even be the elusive Atlantis, the mythical land described by Plato that disappeared without a trace. But the myth of Atlantis was not on the mind of the archaeologists when they excavated this desert site northeast of Qantara, a town on the Suez Canal about 150 kilometers (93 miles) northeast of Cairo. They were searching for Pharaonic forts that played a major role in protecting ancient Egypt’s gateway to the Nile Delta from foreign invasion. They were gratified when, earlier this month, they uncovered the remains of an 18th dynasty fort, which featured four rectangular towers built of mud bricks. «The pieces of lava stone were a surprise, but they were only part of the story,» said team leader Mohamed Abdel Maqsud. For the archaeologists, more significant was the discovery of a fortress from where the ancient Egyptians expelled the Hyksos enemy during the New Kingdom, a Pharaonic empire that lasted from about 1500 BC to about 1000 BC. The easternmost forts were so important that they were depicted in the reliefs on the walls of Karnak Temple in the ancient capital of Thebes – the present day city of Luxor, 500 kilometers (300 miles) south of Cairo. The 18th Dynasty was the first dynasty of the New Kingdom and its 12th ruler was the boy Pharaoh Tutankhamen. Hawass did not elaborate on the geological tests that linked the Sinai pumice to Thera, but said he was convinced that more such lava would be found. «This is only the beginning,» he said. Vouyioukalakis, who has extensively studied Thera’s eruption, said that if the pumice did come from there, it would be the first evidence the tsunami had carried the lava so far. AP writer Nicholas Paphitis in Athens contributed to this report.


Archaeology in Israel: Nitzana

Nitzana is a ruined town in the Negev identified with ⯺wjā al-�īr on the Ismailiya road, 50 miles southwest of Beersheba.

Nessana was the ancient name of the site as revealed in the papyri found there. It was founded in the second or first century B.C.E. by the Nabateans, who built a small fort with round towers (two of which were found in the excavations there) on a small hill dominating the wide and fertile Wadi �īr. Hasmonean coins found there indicate that the place had commercial relations with Judea. The site was abandoned after the Roman occupation of Petra, the Nabatean capital, in 106 C.E., but was rebuilt as a frontier post by the emperor Theodosius I (379�). The soldiers of the garrison received plots of land in the valley, and a town was built beneath the fortress (now called Hospice of St. George). Nitzana was connected by a road with Elusa, the capital of the Byzantine Negev, with Elath and with Sinai. The Byzantine town included two churches with mosaic floors (one dated 435) and a large cemetery with tombstones (dated 430�). It prospered during this period, serving merchants bound for Egypt, pilgrims traveling to Mt. Sinai, and anchorites living in the desert. The town survived the Persian and Arab conquests papyri discovered by the Colt Expedition in 1936 show that a mixed Arab-Greek administration persisted until approximately 750 C.E. The settlement declined and was eventually abandoned until its reoccupation by the Turks as a police post in 1908. Under the British Mandate a central headquarters for the border police was located there. In May 1948, during the Israel War of Independence, the Egyptian invasion started from this point. Israel forces took the area in December, and it was declared a demilitarized zone in the Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement. It was also the site for the Israel-Egyptian Mixed Armistice Commission meetings until 1967.

The site was discovered by U.J. Seetzen in 1807, with the first proper investigations at the site conducted by E.H. Palmer and C.F. Tyrwhitt-Drake in 1870. A. Musil made a detailed plan of the site in 1902, followed by the investigations of C.L. Woolley and T.E. Lawrence in 1913/14. Important excavations were conducted at the site in 1935� by H.D. Colt, with the discovery of an important archive of papyri. In 1987 excavations were resumed at the site under the direction of D. Urman and J. Shereshevski on behalf of Ben-Gurion University. Further parts of the flight of steps connecting the town with the acropolis were uncovered. Two building complexes were unearthed close to the Southern Church, and the excavators suggest that they were used by the priests as their living quarters. Further work was done on the acropolis, and a new area of excavations was opened up next to the bank of the wadi which extends between the lower and upper towns, revealing a large living quarter dating to the Late Byzantine period built above Nabatean settlement remains. A previously unknown church with a martyrium and baptistery was uncovered in the lower town, and an unknown monastery was found on the north edge of the northern hill of the upper town. Numerous ostraca were uncovered inscribed in Greek, Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Coptic.

In 1987 the Jewish Agency for Israel decided to establish an education center in Nitzana. The main aim was to educate Israeli and Diaspora youth about the settlement potential of the desert. The village served as an absorption center and ulpan for young immigrants. In addition, it offered various educational programs for Diaspora youth. Nitzana was also a research center for environmental studies attached to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It had a guest house with 50 rooms for visitors to the region. At the end of 2002 the educational community numbered 230 residents.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.

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Dig in Sinai Uncovers Roman Amphitheater : Archeology: A canal project, which follows the path of an ancient route linking Africa and Asia, threatens more than 1,000 antiquity sites with obliteration.

Egyptian archeologists have unearthed an amphitheater and racetrack of Pelusium, a major Roman seaport and early Christian center on the Mediterranean coast of Sinai.

They expect the discoveries to make Pelusium, 15 miles east of the Suez Canal, a leading tourist attraction in coming years.

Not far from the latest finds, archeologists are trying to stay ahead of the bulldozers carving out a canal system that will transform thousands of acres of Sinai desert into farmland.

Teams from Germany, France, Britain, Switzerland, Austria and Canada will join the effort next month. The United States is providing equipment and technical aid.

The canal project, which follows the path of an ancient route linking Africa and Asia, threatens more than 1,000 antiquity sites with obliteration.

“I’m not surprised there are such discoveries, because so many important sites lie along the path of this canal,” Faiza Heikal, Egyptology professor at American University in Cairo, said of Pelusium. “But it’s always very exciting when pieces of history emerge.”

Heikal heads an international campaign to save Sinai’s heritage.

The Salam Canal, envisioned by the late President Anwar Sadat, will carry water piped from the Nile Delta under the Suez Canal across 100 miles of Sinai to El-Arish, near the Israeli border. It could irrigate up to 600,000 acres of desert along the route.

For archeologists, the project is a blessing as well as a curse because it focuses attention on historical treasures long overshadowed by the splendid pyramids, temples and tombs along the Nile.

So far, they have managed to stay about a mile ahead of the bulldozers.

After the canal is finished, many sites not directly along it will be threatened by fluctuating water levels and an expected influx of 300,000 settlers.

Remains of Pelusium stretch for almost 2 miles between the routes of the main canal and a drainage ditch to the north. Slender columns, human bones, Roman glass and red bricks stud the dunes and salt flats.

Last year, archeologists began digging near a haphazard collection of two dozen columns and bits of columns outside a towering fortress built during the Islamic period.

They are gradually uncovering the amphitheater, complete with tiers of red brick seats and a circular stage of bricks covered by limestone chips assembled like a mosaic. The theater, 300 feet in diameter, faces the sea.

Several miles away, another Egyptian team is excavating a large circle of red bricks identified as the grandstand where spectators enjoyed a day at the races in Pelusium’s hippodrome.

Mohammed Abdel Maksoud, who coordinates archeological work for Heikal’s salvage campaign, said ancient records speak of Pelusium’s beauty.

“They called this place the island of Pelusium, but until we started digging, we didn’t know why,” he said.

As Maksoud explained it, Pelusium would have looked like an island: “To the south was a branch of the Nile, to the north the Mediterranean, in the middle Pelusium.”

One of his many challenges is to reconstruct the plan of the city. Pelusium was second in size and importance only to Alexandria during Roman rule in Egypt, which began with the suicide of Cleopatra.

Excavators have uncovered a Roman bath with mosaic floors, a smaller amphitheater and bath, two churches, a monastery and a large storage area near the hippodrome, perhaps for grain.

Maksoud believes a major temple is buried somewhere in the area. Also, Pelusium is known to have been home to one of early Christianity’s most important sites, the Church of the Holy Family.

Sinai’s northern coastal strip was a highway between Egypt and Canaan. On it, Pharaohs marched against Palestinian princes and armies from Persia, Greece and Rome marched against Pharaohs.

Legend says the Holy Family traveled the route by donkey, with King Herod’s troops close behind.

That flight from Palestine to Egypt, and back, became a cornerstone of the Egyptian Coptic faith. The Copts built churches to mark important stages of the journey.

During the Israeli occupation of Sinai after the 1967 Middle East war, archeologist Elizer Oren of Ben Gurion University documented 1,300 antiquity sites along the coast. He did not excavate Pelusium because its ruins lay within a security zone facing the Suez Canal.

French teams came to Pelusium in the 1980s after Israel had returned Sinai to Egypt.


Letter Excerpts

December 20, 1913
Carchemish

“We have had a very good season’s digging this autumn … We found a great gateway, with long walls leading up to it, all lined with great carved slabs of black and white stone … a king and his children: men with drums and trumpets, and men dancing: a goddess at the head of a long procession of priests and priestesses, carrying corn and mirrors and fruit, and gazelles … Then a great base of two lions, holding up on their backs a great statue of a god, sitting on a stone chair, and holding a club: behind him the gateway, with very long inscriptions in Hittite (which of couse we cannot read) … It must be a great temple, or the palace of a king.”
—T.E. Lawrence to Florence Messham, his childhood nurse

February 28, 1914
Hotel d’Angleterre, Damascus, Syria

I got down to Akabah alone and on foot, since my idiot camels went astray … [A Turkish official] forbade [Captain Stewart] Newcombe to map, and me to photograph or archaeologise. I photographed what I could, I archaeologized everywhere. In especial there was an island [Jezirat Faroun], said to be full of meat. The bay of Akaba is full of sharks, hungry sharks (shivers) and the island was half a mile off shore … [Lawrence and his servant Dahoum] splashed off for the island with a couple of planks as paddles … I felt that any intelligent shark would leave me in the cold, but the whole squadron sailed across safely, saw, judged and condemned the ruins as uninteresting, and splashed homewards, very cold and very tired.
—T.E. Lawrence to a friend.

“Lawrence of Arabia as Archaeologist” by Stephen E. Tabachnick originally appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review, September/October 1997. It was first republished in Bible History Daily on December 18, 2013.


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As one reviewer on the back cover has stated, this book should be the standard academic source for the study of Exodus,

James Hoffmeier is neither an evangelist trying to convert anyone, nor is he an Indiana Jones wannabe trying to promote his own agenda. He is a serious scholar whose knowledge of ancient Egypt and experience in the field of Egyptian archaeology give him a much deeper understanding of the Exodus than evengelists and adventure seekers.

Other scholars have tried to marginalize the biblical account of Israel's Exodus from Egypt by claiming it was based upon mythological stories from surrounding cultures and was written in Judea or Babylon long after the Exodus was supposed to have occurred. Hoffmeier offers a serious challenge to these assumptions by taking a scholarly approach in authenticating the biblical account. Hoffmeier clearly demonstrates that the Exodus narratives are based on first hand accounts that that go back to Egypt and Sinai in the second millennium BC. Hoffmeier doesn't go off on flights of fancy by trying to explain the miraculous sea crossing or the theophany on Mount Sinai. He leaves tha up to the reader's personal faith. However, by using the Bible as his primary guide, he is able to tell us where these events were most likely to have occurred by backing up the biblical narrative with historical and archaeological data.

Hoffmeier reveals how the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant, as described in the Bible, have earlier prototypes in ancient Egypt and that portable shrines of this type were used by Egyptian priests. He also reveals how certain items and implements associated with the Tabernacle and the garments worn by the Levitical priests are named in the Bible with words having an Egyptian etymology. Many of the names of significant individuals recorded in the Torah, particularly from the tribe of Levi, such as Moses, Aaron, Miriam, and Phinehas, are derived from Egyptian names. In adition, Israel's covenant is structured along the same lines as covenants and treaties recorded in ancient Egypt.

Hoffmeier clearly demonstrates that the Egyptian influence on Israel would hardly make sense if Israel had never spent a considerable amount of time in Egypt. This is further elaborated in his earlier book, Israel In Egypt.

In the process of verifying the biblical authenticity of the Exodus account, Hoffmeier debunks the popular and sensational claims regarding Jebel Al Lawz being the real Mount Sinai and the corresponding theory that the sea crossing occurred from the Straits of Tiran into Saudi Arabia. Hoffmeier claims with certainty that if the Bible is to be used as a guide in locating the sea crossing and Mount Sinai, they could not be at the Straits of Tiran and Jebel Al Lawz.

Hoffmeier, who knows alot more about ancient Egyptian history than the people who promote the Jebel Al Lawz theory, demonstrates how ancient Egypt's eastern frontier was in the Bitter Lakes region where they built fortresses and canals to defend against marauding Canaanite tribes from the east and that the Sinai Peninsula wa never considered part of ancient Egypt. In addition, the geological history of that region indicates that the Bitter Lakes were at one time substantial bodies of water.

The Bible describes the location of the sea crossing with the terms Migdol, Pi-Hahiroth, and Baal Zephon. The exact locations described by these terms have been lost over time but Hoffmeier explains their meanings. Migdol refers to a fortress, Pi-Hahiroth refers to an area where a canal empties into a larger body of water, and Baal Zephon refers to a Canaanite deity. There is archaeological evidence of ancient fortresses and canals in the Bitter Lakes region which can't be found at the Straits of Tiran. In addition, Canaanites tried to invade Egypt in the Bitter Lakes region. There is no evidence of Canaanite presence near the Straits of Tiran.

Hoffmeier also points out that the Israelites' travel itinerary in the Book of Numbers from the sea crossing to Mount Sinai roughly corresponds to the distance between the Bitter Lakes and the traditional Mount Sinai (Jebel Musa).

Hoffmeier does not claim to know the exact location of the real Mount Sinai but that the Bible clearly points to the southern Sinai Peninsula as its location. He expresses doubts about Jebel Musa due to the lack of an adjacent plain suitable to encamp a multitude of people for any length of time. However, he identifies two adjacent peaks which are possible candidates.

For anyone having a serious intellectual interest in understanding the Exodus as it is recorded in the Bible, this is the source.


Archaeology in Israel: Kadesh

Kadesh is the name of several places in Biblical Israel to which a sacred character is attributed.

Kadesh-Barnea

An important oasis situated on the southern border of Canaan (Num. 34:4 Josh. 15:3 Ezek. 47:19 48:28) in the wilderness of Zin (Num. 20:1 27:14 33:36 Deut. 32:51) – part of the wilderness of Paran (Num. 20:16) – at a distance of an eleven days' journey from Mt. Horeb (Deut. 1:2). Kadesh is alternatively called En-Mishpat ("spring of judgment" Gen. 14:7) and the "waters of Meribah" ("strife," Num. 20:13, 24 27:14 Deut. 32:51), names which indicate its special role as a sacred place of judgment and assembly for the desert tribes.

Kadesh-Barnea appears in the stories of Abraham (Gen. 16:14 20:1) and in the description of the expedition of Chedorlaomer and his allies Kadesh-Barnea, here called En-Mishpat, is said to have been inhabited by Amalekites (Gen. 14:7). During the Exodus it served as an assembly point for the Israelite tribes in the desert (Deut. 1:46). Some scholars regard it as the first amphictyonic center of the Israelites. From Kadesh-Barnea spies were sent to explore Canaan (Num. 13:26) the attempt was made to penetrate into Canaan which was prevented by Arad and Hormah (Num. 14:40� 21:1 33:36�) messengers were sent to the king of Edom and from here the Israelites started out on their eastward march to Transjordan (Num. 20:14ff. 33:36ff. Deut. 1:46ff. Judg. 11:16ff.). Biblical tradition associates Kadesh-Barnea with the family of Moses in particular: here Moses drew water abundantly from the rock here he and Aaron were punished for their lack of faith by being denied entrance into the land of Canaan (Num. 20:2ff.) here his sister Miriam died and was buried (Num. 20:1) and Aaron died nearby at mount Hor (Num. 20:22� 33:37�). Kadesh-Barnea has been identified with the group of springs 46 mi. (75 km.) south of Beer-Sheba and 15 mi. (25 km.) south of Niẓ𞤺nah. The name is preserved at the southernmost spring ⯺yn Qudays, but ⯺yn al-Qudayrāt to the north of it is of much greater importance being a rich spring which waters a fertile plain. In its vicinity a large fortress from the time of the Judahite kings was discovered. Most scholars therefore identify Kadesh-Barnea with the larger spring the entire group of springs may have originally been called Kadesh-Barnea and the name survived at the southern one despite its lesser importance. During the Sinai campaign a large Israelite fortress was discovered also above ⯺yn Qudays as well as numerous remains in the whole region from the Middle Bronze I (c. 2000 B.C.E.) and Israelite periods.

Large-scale excavations in 1976 and 1982 uncovered three superimposed fortresses on the site. The first was dated to the 11 th century, the second to around the time of Hezekiah and measured 65 ft. × 195 ft. (20 × 60 m.) with six rectangular towers and a moat and glacis on three sides, and the third to the seventh century, probably destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Inscriptions indicate that the inhabitants of the fortress probably spoke Hebrew.

Kadesh in Galilee

One of the principal cities in Upper Galilee in the Canaanite and Israelite periods. In the opinion of some scholars, it is mentioned in the list of cities conquered by Thutmosis III (c. 1468 B.C.E.) and depicted on a relief of Seti I (c. 1300 B.C.E.) others, however, argue that these references are to Kadesh on the Orontes. In the Bible, "Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali" appears in the list of defeated Canaanite kings (Josh. 12:22), as a city of refuge (Josh. 20:7) and a levitical city (Josh. 21:32 I Chron. 6:61), and as one of the fortified cities of the tribe of Naphtali (Josh. 19:37). It was conquered by Tiglath-Pileser III in his expedition in 733/2 B.C.E. (II Kings 15:29) but continued to exist in the Second Temple period eventually becoming a Hellenistic city in the territory of Tyre. Near Kedesh, Jonathan the Hasmonean defeated the army of Demetrius II (I Macc. 11:63� Jos., Ant. 13:154). It is identified with Tell Qadis, a large tell overlooking the fertile plateau west of the Ḥuleh, and containing remains and fortifications from the Canaanite, Israelite, and later periods. A Roman temple was partially excavated in 1981�, dedicated under Hadrian in 117/8 C.E.

Kadesh-Naphtali

The birthplace of Barak, son of Abinoam, located in Galilee in the territory of the tribe of Naphtali (Judg. 4:6, 9�). It is generally identified with Kedesh (2) but this seems unsound for the following reasons:

(a) Kedesh Upper Galilee is far from Mt. Tabor in the vicinity of which Deborah's battle with the Canaanite kings took place

(b) "Elon-Bezaanannim, which is by Kedesh" (Judg. 4:11) is also known from the border description of Naphtali where it is situated between the Tabor and the Jordan (Josh. 19:33).

Kedesh-Naphtali should therefore be sought east of Mount Tabor and in this area Khirbat al-Kadīsh near Poriyyah which contains extensive remains from the early Israelite period has been proposed as the location of the site.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.

(1) B. Rothenberg and J. Aharoni, Tagliyyot Sinai (1958) H.C. Trumbull, Kadesh-Barnea (1884): C.L. Woolley and T.E. Lawrence, The Wilderness of Zin (1915) Glueck, in: AASOR, 15 (1935), 118ff. Phythian-Adams, in: PEFAS, 67 (1935), 69ff. 114ff. de Vaux and Savignac, in: RB, 47 (1938), 89ff. (2) J. Aharoni, Hitna𞉚lut Shivtei Yisrael ba-Galil ha-Elyon (1957), index Avi-Yonah, Land, index Albright, in: BASOR, 19 (1928), 12 35 (1929), 9 J. Garstang, Joshua-Judges (1931), 390�. (3) Press, in: BJPES, 1, pt. 3 (1933/34), 26ff. J. Aharoni, op. cit., index Kolshari, in: BIES, 27 (1963), 165ff. (4) M. Péyard, Qadesh Mission à Tell Nebi Mend… (1931) Du Buisson, in: Mélanges Maspéro, 1 (1938), 919ff. Gardiner, in: Onomastica, 2 (1947), index Aharoni, Land, index.

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Egypt's Most Ancient Desert Fortress Uncovered in Sinai - History

Learn the stories behind Biblical archaeology finds like the Pool of Siloam in Israel, where the Gospel of John says Jesus miraculously restored sight to a blind man.

Archaeological discoveries are the puzzle pieces of the past.

Archaeologists use every piece of evidence—from the tiniest fragment of pottery to monumental ruins of ancient fortification walls—to gain insight into the civilizations that made up the ancient world. Specialists who excavate in the lands of the Bible often unearth Biblical archaeology finds that deepen our understanding of the ancient Biblical world.

In this free eBook, Biblical archaeology specialists share their stories, the excavated evidence and the insights gained from Ten Top Biblical Archaeology Discoveries, ancient artifacts and ruins where the worlds of archaeology and the Bible meet.

While many key Biblical archaeology findings are the result of years of systematic and painstaking excavation, sometimes important Biblical archaeology finds are a complete accident!

Archaeologist Ze’ev Meshel happened upon a handful of painted fragments of pottery in the eastern Sinai desert. These pottery shards from Kuntillet ’Ajrud are now regarded as one of the most interesting Biblical archaeology findings, a discovery that altered our perception of the early Israelite religion.

The famous Nag Hammadi Library came to the world’s attention when two peasants discovered a 13-volume library of Coptic texts hidden beneath a large boulder in Egypt.

Archaeological site surveyor Gila Cook was shocked when she accidentally discovered an inscribed stone within a newly excavated wall in Israel. The writing on the stone contains the first historical evidence of King David outside the Bible, qualifying it as one of the most valuable Biblical archaeology findings.

Of course there are countless more Biblical archaeology finds reported in each issue of Biblical Archaeology Review magazine, each more thought-provoking than the next. The ten examples in this free report are by no means exclusive others would make different selections for their top ten. But there’s no denying that these finds do stand out.

In Ten Top Biblical Archaeology Discoveries, you’ll discover how archaeology brings the ancient world of the Bible to life, right before your eyes.

You don’t need to be an archaeologist to make these discoveries

You can experience the thrill of discovery with the archaeologists themselves in your free eBook, which includes the following ten top Biblical archaeology finds.

Chapter 1
The Nag Hammadi Library

Until the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library in 1945, the Gnostic view of early Christianity had largely been forgotten. But when two peasants discovered a 13-volume library of Coptic texts hidden beneath a large boulder near the town of Nag Hammadi in upper Egypt, the world was reintroduced to this long-forgotten and much-maligned branch of early Christian thought. Scholar James Brashler tells the story behind the discovery and eventual publication of the Nag Hammadi manuscripts, which has all the ingredients of a spy thriller.

Chapter 2
’Ain Dara Temple

Scholar John Monson unveils one of the closest known parallels to Solomon’s Temple: the recently discovered temple of ’Ain Dara in northern Syria. The temple at ’Ain Dara has far more in common with the Jerusalem Temple described in the Book of Kings than almost any other known building. The plan, size, date and architectural details fit squarely into the tradition of sacred architecture from north Syria (and probably Phoenicia) from the tenth to eighth centuries B.C.

Chapter 3
Tel Dan (“David”) Stela

Few Biblical archaeology discoveries have attracted as much attention as the Tel Dan Stela—the ninth-century B.C. inscription that furnished the first historical evidence of King David outside the Bible. This in-depth chapter describes the historical moment when an excavation assistant stumbled upon the stela bearing the inscription in a newly excavated wall.

Chapter 4
Mona Lisa of the Galilee

More than 16 centuries after an earthquake destroyed the Roman city of Sepphoris, a richly colored mosaic portrait of an unnamed woman was discovered among the ruins. This chapter examines the enchanting tilt of her head and near-smile that earned her the nickname “Mona Lisa of the Galilee.”

Chapter 5
“Yahweh and His Asherah”

A handful of painted sherds discovered in the eastern Sinai desert forever changed our perception of early Israelite religion. Upon the shattered fragments of a large eighth-century B.C. storage jar is an inscription that referred to “Yahweh of Samaria and his Asherah.” Scholar Ze’ev Meshel explains how these painted pottery fragments provide a fresh perspective on the religious life of ancient Israel as well as archaeological evidence that Israelite religion—far from being the single monolithic Yahwistic faith depicted in the Bible—was practiced and understood in a variety of ways.

Chapter 6
St. Peter’s House

More than 25 years ago, archaeologists discovered a simple first-century A.D. home in Capernaum that may have been inhabited by Jesus during his Galilean ministry. According to the excavated material remains, the function of the house appears to have changed dramatically, becoming a place for communal gatherings, possibly even Christian gatherings. Scholar James F. Strange and Biblical Archaeology Review editor Hershel Shanks present layer upon layer of circumstantial evidence to support the house’s importance in earliest Christianity and its association with Jesus and his foremost disciple, Peter.

Chapter 7
The Siloam Pool in Jesus’ Time

In 2004, during construction work to repair a large water pipe south of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, on the ridge known as the City of David, archaeologists excavated part of a monumental pool where Jesus performed the miracle of restoring sight to a blind man in the Gospel of John. Biblical Archaeology Review editor Hershel Shanks discusses the validity of this claim as well as the original purpose of this pool. Bathing? Drinking? Swimming?

Chapter 8
Ashkelon’s Arched Gate

Scholar Lawrence E. Stager describes the discovery of the oldest known monumental arch, found in southern Israel in 1992, originally built during the Middle Bronze Age, c. 1850 B.C. An ancient roadside sanctuary discovered during the same dig revealed something even more remarkable: an exquisitely crafted statuette of a silver calf.

Chapter 9
Stepped Stone Structure

Jerusalem’s unique 12-story-high foundational structure—the largest Iron Age construction in Israel—appears to have been vital to the organization and defense of the City of David. Perhaps more than any other find from the City of David, the massive Stepped Stone Structure stands as a momentous reminder of just how grand David and Solomon’s Jerusalem might have been. Although at first glance it appears to be little more than a towering mass of twisted stone and rubble, it likely supported a major fortress or administrative building. Scholar Jane Cahill West explores this monumental structure.

Chapter 10
Babylonian Siege Tower and Arrowheads

Uncovered during excavations in Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter during the 1970s, this 22-foot tower, with walls 12 feet thick, helped defend Jerusalem against the Babylonian invasion in 586 B.C. Around the base of the tower, a thick layer of charred wood, ashes and soot bore witness to the raging fire that accompanied the Babylonian destruction. Among the charred rubble, excavators found five arrowheads: four of iron, and one of bronze. The bronze arrowhead was of the Scytho-Iranian type used by the Babylonian army. The iron arrowheads were typical of those used by the Israelites. Lying in the ashes, these five small artifacts gave poignant testimony to the furious clash that preceded the fall of Jerusalem.

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Reconstructing Petra

"Donkey, horse or camel?" The question from my Bedouin guide reminds me of a rental car agent asking, "Economy, full-size or SUV?" I choose economy, and we canter on our donkeys through the steep valleys that surround Petra, in Jordan, as the rock changes from red to ocher to orange and back to red. Two millennia ago our now deserted track was a well-engineered caravan route, bustling with itinerant traders on foot, Roman soldiers on horseback and rich merchants on camels.

Directly ahead is a sheer cliff lined with elegant carvings reminiscent of Greek and Roman temples, a surreal vision in this remote mountain valley surrounded by desert. This is the back door to Petra, whose very name means rock in Greek. In its heyday, which began in the first century B.C. and lasted for about 400 years, Petra was one of the world's wealthiest, most eclectic and most remarkable cities. That was when the Nabatean people carved the most impressive of their monumental structures directly into the soft red stone. The facades were all that remained when 19th-century travelers arrived here and concluded that Petra was an eerie and puzzling city of tombs.

Now, however, archaeologists are discovering that ancient Petra was a sprawling city of lush gardens and pleasant fountains, enormous temples and luxurious Roman-style villas. An ingenious water supply system allowed Petrans not just to drink and bathe, but to grow wheat, cultivate fruit, make wine and stroll in the shade of tall trees. During the centuries just before and after Christ, Petra was the Middle East's premier emporium, a magnet for caravans traveling the roads from Egypt, Arabia and the Levant. And scholars now know that Petra thrived for nearly 1,000 years, far longer than previously suspected.

Our donkeys slow as we approach Petra's largest free-standing building, the Great Temple. Unlike the hollowed-out caves in the cliffs surrounding the site, this complex stood on solid ground and covered an area more than twice the size of a football field. My guide, Suleiman Mohammad, points to a cloud of dust on one side of the temple, where I find Martha Sharp Joukowsky deep in a pit with a dozen workers. The Brown University archaeologist—known as "Dottora (doctor) Marta" to three generations of Bedouin workers—has spent the past 15 years excavating and partially restoring the Great Temple complex. Constructed during the first century B.C. and the first century A.D., it included a 600-seat theater, a triple colonnade, an enormous paved courtyard and vaulted rooms underneath. Artifacts found at the site—from tiny Nabatean coins to chunks of statues—number in the hundreds of thousands.

As I climb down into the trench, it feels as if I'm entering a battlefield. Amid the heat and the dust, Joukowsky is commanding the excavators like a general, an impression reinforced by her khaki clothes and the gold insignias on the bill of her baseball cap. "Yalla, yalla!" she yells happily at the Bedouin workers in dig-Arabic. "Get to work, get to work!" This is Joukowsky's last season—at age 70, she's preparing to retire—and she has no time to waste. They've just stumbled on a bathing area built in the second and third centuries a.d., and the discovery is complicating her plans to wrap up the season's research. A worker hands her a piece of Roman glass and a tiny pottery rosette. She pauses to admire them, sets them aside for cataloging, then continues barking at the diggers as they pass rubber buckets filled with dirt out of the trench. It is nearing midafternoon, the sun is scorching, the dust choking and the workday almost over. "I wanted to finish this two days ago, but I'm still stuck in this mess," Joukowsky says in mock exasperation, pointing to dark piles of cinders from wood and other fuel burned to heat the bath water of Petra's elite. "I'm ending my career in a heap of ash."

Earlier archaeologists considered the Great Temple an unsalvageable pile of stones, but Joukowsky proved otherwise by attacking the project with a vigor she likely inherited from her parents. Her father, a Unitarian minister, and mother, a social worker, left Massachusetts to spend the years before, during and after World War II rescuing and resettling thousands of Jews and anti-Nazi dissidents. When the Gestapo shut down their operation in Prague, the couple barely escaped arrest. While they moved through war-ravaged Europe, their young daughter Martha lived with friends in the United States. Even after the war, her parents remained committed social activists. "They would be in Darfur were they here now," Joukowsky says. "Maybe as a result, I chose to concentrate on the past—I really find more comfort in the past than in the present."

She took up archaeology with gusto, working for three decades at various sites in the Near East and publishing the widely-used A Complete Manual of Field Archaeology, among other books. But Petra is her most ambitious project. Beginning in the early 1990s, she assembled a loyal team of Bedouin, students from Brown and donors from around the world and orchestrated the Herculean task of carefully mapping the site, raising fallen columns and walls and preserving the ancient culture's artifacts.

When she began her work, Petra was little more than an exotic tourist destination in a country too poor to finance excavations. Archaeologists had largely ignored the site—on the fringe of the Roman Empire—and only 2 percent of the ancient city had been uncovered. Since then, Joukowsky's team, along with a Swiss team and another American effort, have laid bare what once was the political, religious and social heart of the metropolis, putting to rest forever the idea that this was merely a city of tombs.

No one knows where the Nabateans came from. Around 400 B.C., the Arab tribe swept into the mountainous region nestled between the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas and the Mediterranean Sea. At first, they lived simple nomadic lives, eking out a living with flocks of sheep and goats and perhaps small-scale agriculture. They left little for future archaeologists—not even broken pottery.

The Nabateans developed a writing system—ultimately the basis of written Arabic—though the inscriptions they left in Petra and elsewhere are mostly names of people and places and are not particularly revealing of their beliefs, history or daily lives. Scholars have had to use Greek and Roman sources to fill in the picture. Greeks in the decades after Alexander the Great's death in 323 B.C. complained about Nabateans plundering ships and camel caravans. Scholars believe that such raids whetted the Nabateans' appetite for wealth. Eventually, instead of attacking caravans, the raiders began guarding them—for a price. By the second century B.C., Nabateans dominated the incense trade from southern Arabia. Within several decades, they had assembled a mercantile empire stretching for hundreds of miles. The people who a few generations earlier had been nomads were now producing eggshell-thin pottery, among the finest in the ancient world, as well as grand architecture.

By 100 B.C., the tribe had a king, vast wealth and a rapidly expanding capital city. Camels lumbered into Petra with boxes of frankincense and myrrh from Oman, sacks of spices from India and bolts of cloth from Syria. Such wealth would have attracted raiders, but Petra's mountains and high walls protected the traders once they arrived in the city. The Siq, a twisting 1,000-yard-long canyon that in places is just wide enough for two camels to pass, made the eastern part of the city impregnable. Today it serves as Petra's main entryway. It may be the most dramatic entrance to an urban space ever devised. In ancient times, though, the primary entrance into Petra was likely the road by which I came by donkey.

A church used until the seventh century A.D. and excavated in the 1990s (Lamb Medallion from Byzantine floor mosai) contained papyrus scrolls that attest to Petra's longevity. (Lindsay Hebberd / Corbis) One of the few entryways into Petra is a narrow passage, the Siq, at the end of which Petrans carved elaborate monuments into the soft rock. (Lonely Planet Images) Traders from Egypt and Greece traveled the city's main road, once spectacularly colonnaded. (Gil Giuglio / Hemis / Corbis)

Writing early in the first century A.D., the Greek historian Strabo reported that while foreigners in Petra are "frequently engaged in litigation," the locals "had never any dispute among themselves, and lived together in perfect harmony." Dubious as that may sound, we do know that the Nabateans were unusual in the ancient world for their abhorrence of slavery, for the prominent role women played in political life and for an egalitarian approach to governing. Joukowsky suggests that the large theater in the Great Temple that she partially restored may have been used for council meetings accommodating hundreds of citizens.

Strabo, however, scorns the Nabateans as poor soldiers and as "hucksters and merchants" who are "fond of accumulating property" through the trade of gold, silver, incense, brass, iron, saffron, sculpture, paintings and purple garments. And they took their prosperity seriously: he notes that those merchants whose income dropped may have been fined by the government. All that wealth eventually caught the attention of Rome, a major consumer of incense for religious rites and spices for medicinal purposes and food preparation. Rome annexed Nabatea in A.D. 106, apparently without a fight.

In its prime, Petra was one of the most lavish cities in history—more Las Vegas than Athens. Accustomed to tents, the early Nabateans had no significant building traditions, so with their sudden disposable income they drew on styles ranging from Greek to Egyptian to Mesopotamian to Indian—hence the columns at the Great Temple topped with Asian elephant heads. "They borrowed from everybody," says Christopher A. Tuttle, a Brown graduate student working with Joukowsky.

One of Petra's mysteries is why the Nabateans plowed so much of their wealth into carving their remarkable facades and caves, which lasted long after the city's free-standing buildings collapsed from earthquakes and neglect. The soft stone cliffs made it possible to hollow out caves and sculpt elaborate porticoes, which the Nabateans painted, presumably in garish colors. Some caves, Tuttle says, were tombs—more than 800 have been identified—and others were places for family members to gather periodically for a meal memorializing the dead still others were used for escaping the summer's heat.

At its peak, Petra's population was about 30,000, an astonishing density made possible in the arid climate by clever engineering. Petrans carved channels through solid rock, gathering winter rains into hundreds of vast cisterns for use in the dry summers. Many are still used today by the Bedouin. Tuttle leads me up the hill above the temple and points out one such cistern, a massive hand-hewn affair that could hold a small beach cottage. Channels dug into the rock on either side of the canyon, then covered with stone, sent water hurtling to cisterns near the center of town. "There are abundant springs of water both for domestic purposes and for watering gardens," Strabo wrote circa A.D. 22. Steep hillsides were converted to terraced vineyards, and irrigated orchards provided fresh fruits, probably pomegranates, figs and dates.

The pricier real estate was on the hill behind the temple, well above the hubbub of the main thoroughfare and with sweeping views to the north and south. Tuttle points out piles of rubble that once were free-standing houses, shops and neighborhood temples. A Swiss team recently uncovered, near the crest, an impressive Roman-style villa complete with an elaborate bath, an olive press and frescoes in the style of Pompeii. At the base of the hill, adjacent to the Great Temple, Leigh-Ann Bedal, a former student of Joukowsky's now at Pennsylvania State University in Erie, uncovered the remains of a large garden. Complete with pools, shade trees, bridges and a lavish pavilion, the lush space—possibly a public park—is thought to have been unique in the southern part of the Middle East. It resembles the private ornamental gardens built to the north in Judea by Herod the Great, who lived until 4 B.C. Herod's mother, in fact, was Nabatean, and he spent his early years in Petra.

By the fourth century A.D., Petra was entering its decline. Joukowsky takes me on a tour of the newfound spa, which includes marble-lined walls and floors, lead pipes and odd-shaped stalls that might have been toilets, all indications of prosperity. But the growing sea trade to the south had sucked away business, while rival caravan cities to the north such as Palmyra challenged Petra's dominance by land. Then, on May 19, A.D. 363, a massive earthquake and a powerful aftershock rumbled through the area. A Jerusalem bishop noted in a letter that "nearly half" of Petra was destroyed by the seismic shock.

Scholars long assumed the catastrophe marked the end of the city, but archaeologists have found abundant evidence that Petra remained inhabited, and even prospered, for another three centuries or so. Almost 100 years after the earthquake, local Christians built a basilica now famed for its beautiful and intact mosaics of animals—including the camel, which made Petra's wealth possible—just across the main street from the Great Temple. Some 150 scrolls—discovered when the church was excavated in 1993—reveal a vibrant community well into the seventh century A.D., after which the church and, apparently, most of the city was finally abandoned.

Forgotten for a millennium in its desert fastness, Petra reemerged in the 19th century as an exotic destination for Western travelers. The first, Swiss adventurer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, visited in 1812 when it was still dangerous to be a foreign Christian deep within the Ottoman Empire. Disguised as a Persian pilgrim, he marveled at Petra's wonders but could not linger, since his curiosity aroused the suspicions of his local guides. "Great must have been the opulence of a city which could dedicate such monuments to the memory of its rulers," he wrote. "Future travelers may visit the spot under the protection of an armed force the inhabitants will become more accustomed to the researches of strangers, and then antiquities. will then be found to rank among the most curious remains of ancient art."

Petra has lately fulfilled that prophesy. It is now Jordan's top tourist destination, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. Hollywood's Indiana Jones sought the Holy Grail in one of Petra's caves in a 1989 film, dramatizing the site for a worldwide audience. The 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel made mass tourism possible. Foreigners began coming to Petra, and devout Jews began making pilgrimages to nearby Jebel Haroun, which, according to tradition, is the site of the prophet Aaron's tomb. The nearby village of Wadi Musa has been transformed from a straggling collection of run-down mud-brick houses into a boomtown of hotels (the Cleopetra) and stores (the Indiana Jones Gift Shop). Petra is also a top contender in an international contest to name the New Seven Wonders of the World. Candidates were nominated by a panel of experts, and winners will be chosen by votes. (You can vote online at new7wonders.com.) Winners are scheduled to be announced next month.

Despite all the publicity and the parade of tourists, much of Petra remains untouched by archaeologists, hidden under thick layers of debris and sand built up over the centuries. No one has found the sites of the busy marketplaces that must have dotted Petra. And although local inscriptions indicate that the Nabateans worshiped a main god, sometimes called Dushara, and a main goddess, the Nabateans' religion otherwise remains mysterious.

So while the work by Joukowsky's team has revealed much about ancient Petra, it will be up to a new generation of researchers like Tuttle to tackle the many rubble piles—and mysteries—that still dot the city's landscape. "We really know next to nothing about the Nabateans," says Tuttle as he surveys the forbidding landscape. "I hope to spend most of my professional life here."

Tuttle and his colleagues will be assisted by Bedouin skilled in uncovering and reassembling the past. Bedouins lived in Nabatean caves for at least a century, until the 1980s when the government pressured most to move to a concrete settlement outside the ancient city to make way for visitors who come to explore the site. My guide, Suleiman Mohammad—who worked at the Great Temple before switching to the more lucrative tourist trade and who married a Swiss tourist—tells me he is grateful to have so many foreign visitors. But not all Bedouin are so lucky, he says. In the harsh country outside Petra, he points to a group far out in the desert: "They have no shoes, wear tattered clothes, and just have goats—there are no tourists out there!"

Suleiman invited the excavation team and me to dinner at his home that night. He greeted us warmly, and we climbed to the roof to enjoy the sunset. The red sun softens the ugly concrete village. Returning downstairs, we sat on cushions and ate from a large platter of traditional maglouba, clumping the rice into lumps with our hands and relishing the warm chicken. It was Thursday night, the start of the Arab weekend, and after dinner a young American and a Bedouin arm-wrestled to great laughter and shouting. Outside, the large waning moon rose and, far below, the red rock of Petra turned to silver in the soft desert night.

Andrew Lawler wrote about the archaeology of Alexandria in the April issue of Smithsonian. He avoids riding camels.


NIẒẒANAH

NIẓẓANAH (Heb. נִצָּנָה Gr. Nessana ), a ruined town in the Negev identified with ʿAwjā al-Ḥafīr on the Ismailiya road, 50 mi. (80 km.) S.W. of Beersheba. Nessana was the ancient name of the site as revealed in the papyri found there. It was founded in the second or first century b.c.e. by the Nabateans, who built a small fort with round towers (two of which were found in the excavations there) on a small hill dominating the wide and fertile Wadi Ḥafīr. Hasmonean coins found there indicate that the place had commercial relations with Judea. The site was abandoned after the Roman occupation of Petra, the Nabatean capital, in 106 c.e., but was rebuilt as a frontier post by the emperor Theodosius I (379–95). The soldiers of the garrison received plots of land in the valley, and a town was built beneath the fortress (now called Hospice of St. George). Niẓẓanah was connected by a road with Elusa, the capital of the Byzantine Negev, with Elath and with Sinai. The Byzantine town included two churches with mosaic floors (one dated 435) and a large cemetery with tombstones (dated 430–64). It prospered during this period, serving merchants bound for Egypt, pilgrims traveling to Mt. Sinai, and anchorites living in the desert. The town survived the Persian and Arab conquests papyri discovered by the Colt Expedition in 1936 show that a mixed Arab-Greek administration persisted until approximately 750 c.e. The settlement declined and was eventually abandoned until its reoccupation by the Turks as a police post in 1908. Under the British Mandate a central headquarters for the border police was located there. In May 1948, during the Israel *War of Independence, the Egyptian invasion started from this point. Israel forces took the area in December, and it was declared a demilitarized zone in the Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement. It was also the site for the Israel-Egyptian Mixed *Armistice Commission meetings until 1967.

The site was discovered by U.J. Seetzen in 1807, with the first proper investigations at the site conducted by E.H. Palmer and C.F. Tyrwhitt-Drake in 1870. A. Musil made a detailed plan of the site in 1902, followed by the investigations of C.L. Woolley and T.E. Lawrence in 1913/14. Important excavations were conducted at the site in 1935–37 by H.D. Colt, with the discovery of an important archive of papyri. In 1987 excavations were resumed at the site under the direction of D. Urman and J. Shereshevski on behalf of Ben-Gurion University. Further parts of the flight of steps connecting the town with the acropolis were uncovered. Two building complexes were unearthed close to the Southern Church, and the excavators suggest that they were used by the priests as their living quarters. Further work was done on the acropolis, and a new area of excavations was opened up next to the bank of the wadi which extends between the lower and upper towns, revealing a large living quarter dating to the Late Byzantine period built above *Nabatean settlement remains. A previously unknown church with a martyrium and baptistery was uncovered in the lower town, and an unknown monastery was found on the north edge of the northern hill of the upper town. Numerous ostraca were uncovered inscribed in Greek, Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Coptic.

In 1987 the *Jewish Agency for Israel decided to establish an education center in Niẓẓanah. The main aim was to educate Israeli and Diaspora youth about the settlement potential of the desert. The village served as an absorption center and *ulpan for young immigrants. In addition, it offered various educational programs for Diaspora youth. Niẓẓanah was also a research center for environmental studies attached to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It had a guest house with 50 rooms for visitors to the region. At the end of 2002 the educational community numbered 230 residents.


Watch the video: Αρχαία Αίγυπτος - Το ΘΑΥΜΑ του Νείλου.. (February 2023).

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