Archeological Evidence Supports Jewish Presence in Middle East

Map of Various Archeological Sites in Israel

 

ARCHEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE OF JEWISH PRESENCE IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL THROUGHOUT THE AGES

Archeological research in Israel reveals that the country is the home of the spiritual heritage of the great monotheistic religions.  Above all it clearly reveals the historical link between the Jewish people, the Bible and the Land of Israel. Uncovering the remains, buried in the soil, constitute the physical link between the past, the present and the future of the Jewish people in its country. This unbroken chain of history can be observed at sites all over the country.

Archeological investigation in the Land of Israel began in the middle of the 19th century, when biblical scholars surveyed the area in search of remains of places mentioned in the Bible. Toward the end of the 19th century, many mounds (in Hebrew tel) composed of the remains of ancient settlements were excavated, and the foundations for scientific archeological investigation were laid. Archeological activities expanded during the British Mandate period (1917-1948) and have been increased to a large extent since the establishment of the State of Israel.

Archeological research in Israel accords much importance to the fact that the country is the home of the spiritual heritage of the great monotheistic religions. Above all it clearly reveals the historical link between the Jewish people, the Bible and the Land of Israel, uncovering the remains, buried in the soil, constitute the physical link between the past, the present and the future of the Jewish people in its country.

This unbroken chain of history can be observed at sites all over the country: in the biblical cities of Hatzor, Megiddo, Gezer, Shomron, Be’er Sheva, and Dan; in the cities of the Second Temple period – Tiberius, Sepphoris (Tsippori), Gamala – and the fortresses of Masada and Herodion, where the Jews fought for freedom; in the Judean Desert near the Dead Sea, where the remains of the Essenes’ spiritual center were uncovered, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, including the earliest copies of books of the Bible were found.

Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, has been the focus of extensive archeological activity and remains of 5,000 years of history have been revealed: in the City of David, the walls of the Canaanite city and remains of structures from the capital of the United Kingdom of Israel, including sophisticated underground water systems; from the Second Temple period the remains of public buildings along the retaining walls of the Temple Mount, which stand to this day, the remains of the splendid residences of the Upper City in today’s Jewish Quarter of the Old City, the ruins of which remained in situ after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in the year 70 CE, and hundreds of rock-cut tombs, some lavishly decorated, which testify to the wealth of the city that was destroyed.

There are 20,000 recognized sites of antiquity in Israel that are protected by law. Every year, dozens of sites from every period of history and in all parts of the country are excavated. Licenses to excavate are issued to expeditions – from Israel and abroad – by the Israel Antiquities authority, which is entrusted with the preservation of the country’s antiquities. Israel’s Antiquities Law requires every site slated for construction to be examined for archeological remains and a salvage excavation to be conducted if deemed necessary. The state also has the right to preserve finds of public interest; some of the more important of these are exhibited at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The museum also houses the Shrine of the Book, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are preserved, and some are on view to the public.

Much effort, as well as resources, are also invested in preserving and restoring ancient sites and dozens of them, from all periods of history, have been opened to the public.

The following are more of the many sacred and holy Jewish sites in Israel which contain an abundance of significant archeological evidence of the Jewish people’s presence in the Land of Israel for millennia:

The Mount of Olives

The Western Wall

The Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs

Rachel’s Tomb

Joseph’s Tomb

The Temple Mount (considered the holiest site in Judaism, location of the First and Second Temples as well as the Ark of the Covenant, said to have been placed by King David)

Source:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israel

http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Facts+About+Israel/Culture/CULTURE+Archeology.htm

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