Palestine Exploration, 2b
4. Central Palestine:
See above,III , 1, (2).
(Harvard Expedition).--Although the ancient capital of the Northern Kingdom, yet Samaria was Centrally located, being 20 miles from the Mediterranean coast and only about 30 miles North of Jerusalem. Ancient Samaria was very famous in Israel for its frivolity and wealth, special mention being made of its ointments, instruments of music, luxurious couches, and its "ivory palace" (Am 6:4-6; 1Ki 16:24). Its history is known so fully that the chronological sequences of the ruins can be determined easily. The citadel and town originated with Omri, circa 900 BC (1Ki 16:24); the Temple of Baal and palace were constructions of Ahab (1Ki 16:32; 22:39); it continued prosperous down to the Assyrian exile, 722 BC (1Ki 22:1-53 to 2Ki 17:1-41); Sargon and Esarhaddon established a Babylonian colony and presumably forrifled the town (720-670 BC); Alexander the Great captured it in 331 BC, and established there a Syrio-Maccabean colony; it was destroyed by John Hyrcanus in 109 BC, but rebuilt by Pompey in 60 BC, and again by Herod (30-1 BC). All of these periods are identified in the excavations, Herod's work being easily recognized, and Josephus' description of the town being found correct; the Greek work is equally well defined, so that the lower layers of masonry which contained the characteristic Jewish pottery, and which in every part of the ruin lay immediately under the Babylonian and Greek buildings, must necessarily be Hebrew, the relative order of underlying structures thus being "beyond dispute" (Reisner). During 1908-9 George A. Reisner with a staff of specialists, including David G. Lyon of the Harvard Semitic Museum, G. Schumacher, and an expert architect, undertook systematically and thoroughly to excavate this large detached "tell" lying 350 ft. above the valley and 1,450 ft. above sea-level, its location as the only possible strategic stronghold proving it to be the ancient Samaria. This was a "gigantic enterprise" because of the large village of 800 population (Sebastiyeh), and the valuable crops which covered the hill. Some $65,000 were spent during the two seasons, and the work finally ceased before the site was fully excavated. The following statement is an abridgment, in so far as possible in their words, of the official reports of Drs. Reisner and Lyon to the Harvard Theological Review: An average of 285 diggers were employed the first season and from 230-260 the second. Hundreds of Arabian lamps, etc., were found close to the surface, and then nothing more until the Roman ruins. Many fine Roman columns still remained upright, upon the surface of the hill. The road of columns leading to the Forum and ornamental gate (oriented unlike the older gates), the great outer wall "20 stadii in circuit" (Jos), the hippodrome, etc., were all found with inscriptions or coins and pottery of the early Roman Empire. Even the old Roman chariot road leading into the Forum was identified. Adjoining the Forum and connected with it by a wide doorway was a basilica, consisting of a large open stone-paved court surrounded by a colonnade with mosaic floor. An inscription in Greek on an architrave in the courtyard dates this to 12-15 AD. The plan of the Herodian temple consisted of a stairway, a portico, a vestibule and a cella with a corridor on each side. The staircase was about 80 ft. wide, composed of 17 steps beautifully constructed, the steps being quite modern in style, each tread overlapping the next lower by several inches. The roof was arched and the walls very massive and covered with a heavy coat of plaster still retaining traces of color. A few Greek graffiti were found near here, and 150 "Rhodian" stamped amphora handles and many fragments of Latin inscriptions. A complete inscription on a large stele proved to be a dedication from some Pannonian soldiers (probably 2nd or 3rd century AD) to "Jupiter Optimus Maximus." Near this was found a torso of heroic size carved in white marble, which is much finer than any ever before discovered in Palestine, the work "bringing to mind the Vatican Augustus" (Vincent), though not equal to it. Close to the statue was a Roman altar (presumably Herodian) circa 13 by 7 ft., rising in six courses of stone to a height of 6 ft. Beneath the Roman city was a Seleucid town (circa 300-108 BC), with its fortifications, gateway, temples, streets, and great public buildings and a complex of private houses, in connection with which was a large bath house, with mosaic floor, hot and cold baths, water closet, etc., which was heated by a furnace. Underneseath the Greek walls, which were connected with the well-known red-figured Greek ware of circa 400 BC, were brick structures and very thick fortress walls built in receding courses of small stones in the Babylonian style. In the filling of the construction trench of this Babylonian wall were found Israelite potsherds and a Hebrew seal with seemingly Babylonian peculiarities, and one fragment of a cuneiform tablet. Below these Babylonian constructions "there is a series of massive walls beautifully built of large limestone blocks founded on rock and forming a part of one great building, which can be no other than the Jewish palace." It consisted of "great open courts surrounded by small rooms, comparable in plan and even in size with the Babylonian palaces and is certainly royal in size and architecture." Its massive outlines which for the first time reveal to the modern world the masonry of an Israelite palace show that unexpected material resources and technical skill were at the command of the kings of Israel. An even greater discovery was made when on the palace hill was found an alabaster vase inscribed with the cartouche of Osorkon II of Egypt (874-853 BC), Ahab's contemporary; and at the same level, about 75 fragments of pottery, not jar-handles but ostraca, inscribed with records or memorials in ancient Hebrew. The script is Phoenician, and according to such experts as Lyon and Driver, practically identical with that of the Siloam Inscription (circa 700 BC) and Moabite Stone (circa 850 BC). "The inscriptions are written in ink with a reed pen in an easy flowing hand and show a pleasing contrast to the stiff forms of Phoenician inscriptions cut in stone. The graceful curves give evidence of a skill which comes only with long practice" (Lyon). The ink is well preserved, the writing is distinct, the words are divided by dots or strokes, and with two exceptions all the ostraca are dated, the reigning king probably being Ahab. The following samples represent the ordinary memoranda: "In the 11th year. From 'Abi`ezer. For 'Asa, 'Akhemelek (and) Ba`ala. From 'Elnathan (?). .... In 9th yr. From Yasat. For `Abino`am. A jar of old wine. .... In 11th yr. For Badyo. The vineyard of the Tell." Baal and El form a part of several of the proper names, as also the Hebrew Divine name, the latter occurring naturally not in its full form, YHWH, but as ordinarily in compounds YW (Lyon, Harvard Theol. Rev., 1911, 136-43; compare Driver,PEFS , 1911, 79-83). In a list of 30 proper names all but three have Biblical equivalents. "They are the earliest specimens of Hebrew writing which have been found, and in amount they exceed by far all known ancient Hebrew inscriptions; moreover, they are the first Palestinian records of this nature to be found" (see especially Lyon, op. cit., I, 70-96; II, 102-13; III, 136-38; IV, 136-43; Reisner, ib, III, 248-63; also Theol. Literaturblatt, 1911, III, 4; Driver, as above; MNOP, 1911, 23-27; Rev. Bibique, VI, 435-45).
(3) `Ain Shems
(Beth-shemesh, 1Sa 6:1-21; 2Ki 14:11).--In a short but important campaign, during 1911-12, in which from 36 to 167 workmen were employed, Dr. D. Mackenzie uncovered a massive double gate and primitive walls 12-15 ft. high, with mighty bastions, and found in later deposits Egyptian images, Syrian Astartes, imported Aegean vases and a remarkable series of inscribed royal jar-handles "dating from the Israelite monarchy" (Vincent), as also what seemed to be an ancient Semitic tomb with fatsade entrance. The proved Cretan relations here are especially important. The town was suddenly destroyed, probably in the era of Sennacherib (PEFS, 1911, LXIX, 172; 1912, XII, 145).
(Palestine Exploration Fund).--Tell ej-Jezer occupies a conspicuous position, over 250 ft. above the plain, and 750 ft. above the sea, on a ridge of hills some 20 miles Northwest of Jerusalem, overlooking the plain toward Jaffa, which is 17 miles distant. It is in plain sight of the two chief trade caravan roads of Southern Palestine which it controlled. The ancient Gezer was well known from many references to it on the Egyptian records, the names of several governors of Gezer being given in letters dating from circa 1400 BC and Menephtah (circa 1200 BC) calling himself "Binder of Gezer," etc. The discovery of the boundary stones of Gezer (see above) positively identified it. It was thoroughly excavated by R.A. Stewart Macalister in 1902-5, 1907-9, during which time 10,000 photographs were made of objects found. No explorations have been so long continued on one spot or have brought more unique discoveries or thrown more light upon the development of Palestinian culture and religion, and none have been reported as fully (Excavations of Gezer, 1912, 3 volumes; History of Civilization in Palestine, 1912). Ten periods-are recognized as being distinctly marked in the history of the mound--which broadly speaking represents the development in all parts of Pal: (a) pre-Semitic period (circa 3000-2500 BC), to the entrance of the first Semites; (b) first Semitic city (circa 2500-1800 BC), to the end of the XIIth Egyptian Dynasty; (c) second Semitic city (circa 1800-1400 BC), to the end of the XVIIIth Egyptian Dynasty; (d) third Semitic city (circa 1400-1000 BC), to the beginning of the Hebrew monarchy; (e) fourth Semitic city (circa 1000-550 BC), to the destruction of the monarchy and the Babylonian exile; (f) Persian and Hellenistic period (550-100 BC), to the beginning of the Roman dominion; (g) Roman (100 BC-350 AD); (h) Byzantine (350-600 AD); (i) and (j) early and modern Arabian (350 AD to the present). The last four periods have left few important memorials and may be omitted from review.
(a) The aboriginal non-Semitic inhabitants of Gezer were troglodytes (compare Ge 14:6) living in the caves which honeycomb this district (compare ZDPV , 1909,VI , 12), modifying these only slightly for home purposes. They were a small race 5 ft. 4 inches to 5 ft. 7 in. in height, slender in form, with rather broad heads and thick skulls, who hunted, kept domestic animals (cows, sheep, goats); had fire and cooked food; possessed no metals; made by hand a porous and gritty soft-baked pottery which they decorated with red lines; and were capable of a rude art--the oldest in Palestine--in which drawings of various animals are given. They prized certain bars of stone (possibly phallic); they probably offered sacrifices; they certainly cremated their dead, depositing with the ashes a few food vessels. The crematory found was 31 ft. long by 24 wide, and in it the bodies were burned whole, without regard to orientation. Many cup marks in the rocks suggest possible religious rites; in close connection with these markings were certain remains, including bones of swine (compare Le 11:7).
(b) The Semites who displaced this population were more advanced in civilization, having bronze tools and potter's wheels, with finer and more varied pottery; they were a heavier race, being 5 ft. 7 inches to 5 ft. 11 inches tall, larger-boned, thicker-skulled, and with longer faces. They did not burn but buried their dead carelessly upon the floor of the natural caves. The grave deposits are the same as before; occasionally some beads are found with the body. The former race had surrounded their settlement with a wall 6 ft. high and 8 ft. thick, mostly earth, though faced with selected stones; but this race built a wall of hammered stones, though irregularly cut and laid, the wall being 10 ft. thick, and one gateway being 42 ft. wide, flanked by two towers. While huts were always the common residences (as in later eras), yet some buildings of stone were erected toward the close of this period and one large palace was found, built of stone and having a row of columns down the center, and containing a complex of rooms, including one rectangular hall, 40 ft. long by 25 ft. wide. Most remarkable of all were their works of engineering. They hewed enormous constructions, square, rectangular and circular, out of the soft chalk and limestone rocks, one of which contained 60 chambers, one chamber being 400 by 80 ft. The supreme work, however, was a tunnel which was made circa 2000 BC, passing out of use circa 1450-1250 BC, and which shows the power of these early Palestinians. It was 200-250 ft. long and consisted of a roadway cut through the hill of rock some 47 1/2 ft. to an imposing archway 23 ft. high and 12 ft. 10 inches broad, which led to a long sloping passage of equal dimensions, with the arch having a vaulted roof and the sides well plumb. This led into a bed of much harder rock, where dimensions were reduced and the workmanship was poorer, but ultimately reached, about 130 ft. below the present surface of the ground, an enormous living spring of such depth that the excavators could not empty it of the soft mud with which it was filled. A well-cut but well-worn and battered stone staircase, over 12 ft. broad, connected the spring with the upper section of the tunnel 94 ft. above. Beyond the spring was a natural cave 80 by 25 ft. Dr. Macalister asks, "Did a Canaanite governor plan and Canaanite workmen execute this vast work? How did the ancient engineers discover the spring?" No one can answer; but certainly the tunnel was designed to bring the entrance of the water passage within the courtyard protected by the palace walls.
Another great reservoir, 57 by 46 ft., at another part of the city was quarried in the rock to a depth of 29 1/2 ft., and below this another one of equal depth but not so large, and narrowing toward the bottom. These were covered with two coats of cement and surrounded by a wall; they would hold 60,000 gals.
(c) The second Semitic city, built on the ruins of the first, was smaller, but more luxurious. There were fewer buildings but larger rooms. The potter's wheel was worked by the foot. Pottery becomes much finer, the styles and decoration reaching a climax of grace and refinement. Foreign trade begins in this period and almost or quite reaches its culmination. The Hyksos scarabs found here prove that under their rule (XVIth and XVIIth Dynastles) there was close intercourse with Palestine, and the multitudes of Egyptian articles show that this was also true before and after the Hyksos. The Cretan and the Aegean trade, especially through Cyprus, introduced new art ideas which soon brought local attempts at imitation. Scribes' implements for writing in wax and clay begin here and are found in all strata hereafter.
While the pottery is elaborately painted, it is but little molded. The older "combed" ornament practically disappears, while burnished ornament reaches high-water mark. Animal figures are common, the eyes often being elaborately modeled and stuck on; but it is infantile article Burials still occur in natural caves, but also in those hewn artificially; the bodies are carelessly deposited on the floor without coffins, generally in a crouching position, and stones are laid around and over them without system. Drink offerings always and food offerings generally are placed with the dead. Scarabs are found with the skeletons, and ornaments of bronze and silver, occasionally gold and beads, and sometimes weapons. Lamps also begin to be deposited, but in small numbers.
(d) During this period Menephtah "spoiled Gezer," and Israel established itself in Canaan. The excavations have given no hint of Menephtah's raid, unless it be found in an ivory pectoral bearing his cartouche. About 1400 BC a great wall, 4 ft. thick, was built of large and well-shaped stones and protected later by particularly fine towers, perhaps, as Macalister suggests, by the Pharaoh who captured Gezer and gave it as a dowry to his daughter, wife of King Solomon. A curious fact, which seemingly illustrates Jos 16:10, is the large increase of the town shortly after the Hebrew invasion. "The houses are smaller and more crowded and the sacred area of the high place is built over." "There is no indication of an exclusively Israelite population around the city outside" (Macalister, v. Driver, Modern Research, 69). That land was taken for building purposes from the old sacred enclosure, and that new ideas in building plans and more heavily fortified buildings were now introduced have been thought to suggest the entrance among the ancient population of another element with different ideas. The finest palace of this period with very thick walls (3-9 ft.) carefully laid out at right angles, and certainly built near "the time of the Hebrew invasion," was perhaps the residence of Horam (Jos 10:33). At this period seals begin (10 being found here, as against 28 in the next period, and 31 in the Hellenistic) and also iron tools; the use of the carpenter's compass is proved, the bow drill was probably in use, bronze and iron nails appear (wrought iron being fairly common from circa 1000 BC); a cooking-pot of bronze was found, and spoons of shell and bronze; modern methods of making buttons and button holes are finest from this period, pottery buttons being introduced in the next city. One incidental Bible reference to the alliance between Gezer and Lachish (Jos 10:33) finds unexpected illustration from the fact that a kind of pottery peculiar to Lachish, not having been found in any other of the Southern Palestinian towns, was found at Gezer. The pottery here in general shows the same method of construction as in the 3rd stratum, but the decoration and shapes deteriorate, while there is practically no molding. It shows much the same foreign influence as before, the styles being affected from Egypt, Crete, the Aegean, and especially Cyprus. From this period come 218 scarabs, 68 from the period previous and 93 from the period following. Ornamental colored specimens of imported Egyptian glass also occur, clear glass not being found till the next period. Little intercourse is proved with Babylon at this era: as against 16 Babylonian cylinders found in the previous period, only 4 were found in this and 15 in the next period. There is no marked change in the method of disposing of the dead, but the food vessels are of smaller size and are placed in the graves in great numbers, most of these being broken either through the use of poor vessels because of economy or with the idea of liberating the spirit of the object that it might serve the deceased in the spirit world. Lamps are common now in every tomb but there is a marked decrease in the quantity and value of ornamental objects. Religious emblems occur but rarely. The worship of Astarte (see ASHTORETH), the female consort of Baal, is most popular at this era, terra cotta figures and plaques of this goddess being found in many types and in large numbers. It is suggestive that these grow notably less in the next stratum. It is also notable that primitive idols are certainly often intentionally ugly (Vincent). So to this day Arabs ward off the evil eye.
(e) This period, during which almost the entire prophetic literature was produced, is of peculiar interest. Gezer at this time as at every other period was in general appearance like a modern Arab village, a huge mass of crooked, narrow, airless streets, shut inside a thick wall, with no trace of sanitary conveniences, with huge cisterns in which dead men could lie undetected for centuries, and with no sewers. Even in the Maccabean time the only sewer found ran, not into a cesspool, but into the ground, close to the governor's palace. The mortality was excessively high, few old men being found in the cemeteries, while curvature of the spine, syphilis, brain disease, and especially broken, unset bones were common. Tweezers, pins and needles, kohl bottles, mirrors, combs, perfume boxes, scrapers (for baths) were common in this stratum and in all that follow it, while we have also here silver earrings, bracelets and other beautiful ornaments with the first sign of clear glass objects; tools also of many kinds of stone, bronze and iron, an iron hoe just like the modern one, and the first known pulley of bronze. The multitude of Hebrew weights found here have thrown much new light on the weight-standards of Palestine (see especially Macalister, Gezer,II , 287-92; E. J. Pilcher, PEFS, 1912; A. R. S. Kennedy, Expository Times, XXIV).
The pottery was poor in quality, clumsy and coarse in shape and ornament, except as it was imported, the local Aegean imitations being unworthy. Combed ornament was not common, and the burnished as a rule was limited to random scratches. Multiple lamps became common, and a large variety of styles in small jugs was introduced. The motives of the last period survive, but in a degenerate form. The bird friezes so characteristic of the 3rd Semitic period disappear. The scarab stamp goes out of use, but the impressions of other seals "now become fairly common as potter's marks." These consist either of simple devices (stars, pentacles, etc.) or of names in Old Hebrew script. These Hebrew-inscribed stamps were found at many sites and consist of two classes, (i) those containing personal names, such as Azariah, Haggai, Menahem, Shebaniah, etc., (ii) those which are confined to four names, often repeated--Hebron, Socoh, Ziph, Mamshith--in connection with a reference to the king, e.g. "For (or Of) the king of Hebron." These latter date, according to Dr. Macalister's final judgment, from the Persian period. He still thinks they represent the names of various potters or potters' guilds in Palestine (compare 1Ch 2:1-55; 4:1-43; 5:1-26, and see especially Bible Side-Lights from Gezer, 150, etc.), but others suppose these names to represent the local measures of capacity, which differed in these various districts; others that these represented different tax-districts where wine jars would be used and bought. At any rate, we certainly have here the work of the king's potters referred to in 1Ch 4:23. Another very curious Hebrew tablet inscription is the so-called Zodiacal Tablet, on which the signs of the Zodiac are figured with certain other symbols which were at first supposed to express some esoteric magical or religious meaning, but which seem only to represent the ancient agricultural year with the proper months indicated for sowing and reaping--being the same as the modern seasons and crops except that flax was cultivated in ancient times. An even more important literary memorial from this period consists of two cuneiform tablets written about three-quarters of a century after the Ten Tribes had been carried to Assyria and foreign colonies had been thrown into Israelite territory. This collapse of the Northern Kingdom was not marked by any local catastrophe, so far as the ruins indicate, any more than the collapse of the Canaanite kingdom when Israel entered Palestine; but soon afterward we find an Assyrian colony settled in Gezer "using the Assyrian language and letters .... and carrying on business with Assyrian methods." In one tablet (649 BC), which is a bill of sale for certain property, containing description of the same, appeared the name of the buyer, seals of seller and signature of 12 witnesses, one of whom is the Egyptian governor of the new town, another an Assyrian noble whose name precedes that of the governor, and still another a Western Asiatic, the others being Assyrian. It is a Hebrew "Nethaniah," who the next year, as the other tablet shows, sells his field, his seal bearing upon it a lunar stellar emblem. Notwithstanding the acknowledged literary work of high quality produced in Palestine during this period, no other hint of this is found clear down to the Greek period except in one neo-Babylonian tablet.
The burials in this period were much as previously, except that the caves were smaller and toward the end of the period shelves around the walls received the bodies. In one Semitic tomb as many as 150 vessels were found. Quite the most astonishing discovery at this level was that of several tombs which scholars generally agree to be "Philistine." They were not native Canaanite, but certainly Aegean intruders with relations with Crete and Cyprus, such as we would expect the Philistines to have (see PHILISTINES). The tombs were oblong or rectangular, covered with large horizontal slabs, each tomb containing but a single body, stretched out with the head to the East or West One tomb was that of a girl of 18 with articles of alabaster and silver about her, and wearing a Cretan silver mouth plate; another was a man of 40 with agate seal of Assyrian design, a two-handled glass vessel, etc.; another was a woman surrounded by handsome ornaments of bronze, lead, silver and gold, with a basalt scarab between her knees. The richest tomb was that of a girl whose head had been severed from the body; with her was a hemispherical bowl, ornamented with rosette and lotus pattern, and a horde of beautiful things. The iron in these tombs was noticeable (compare 1Sa 17:7), and in one tomb were found two ingots of gold, one of these being of the same weight almost to a fraction as that of Achan (Jos 7:21). The most impressive discovery was the high place. This began as early as 2500-2000 BC, and grew by the addition of monoliths and surrounding buildings up to this era. The eight huge uncut pillars which were found standing in a row, with two others fallen (yet compare Benzinger, Hebrew Archaeology, 320), show us the actual appearance of this ancient worshipping-place so famous in the Bible (De 16:22; 2Ki 17:9,11; 23:8). The top of one of these monoliths had been worn smooth by kisses; another was an importation, being possibly, as has been suggested, a captured "Aril"; another stone, near by, had a large cavity in its top, nearly 3 ft. long and 2 ft. broad and 1 ft. 2 inches deep, which is differently interpreted as being the block upon which the 'asherah, so often mentioned in connection with the matstsebhoth, may have been erected, or as an altar, or perhaps a layer for ritual ablutions. Inside the sacred enclosure was found a small bronze cobra (2Ki 18:4), and also the entrance to an ancient cave, where probably oracles were given, the excavators finding that this cave was connected with another by a small, secret passage--through which presumably the message was delivered. In the stratum underlying the high place was a cemetery of infants buried in large jars. "That the sacrificed infants were the firstborn, devoted in the temple, is indicated by the fact that none were over a week old" (Macalister). In all the Semitic strata bones of children were also found in corners of the houses, the deposits being identical with infant burials in the high place; and examination showed that these were not stillborn children. At least some of the burials under the house thresholds and under the foundation of walls carry with them the mute proofs of this most gruesome practice. In one place the skeleton of an old woman was found in a corner where a hole had been left just large enough for this purpose. A youth of about 18 had been cut in two at the waist and only the upper part of his body deposited. Before the coming into Palestine of the Israelites, a lamp began to be placed under the walls and foundations, probably symbolically to take the place of human sacrifice. A lamp and bowl deposit under the threshold, etc., begins in the 3rd Semitic period, but is rare till the middle of that period. In the 4th Semitic period it is common, though not universal; in the Hellenic it almost disappears. Macalister suspects that these bowls held blood or grape juice. In one striking case a bronze figure was found in place of a body. Baskets full of phalli were carried away from the high place. Various types of the Astarte were found at Gezer. When we see the strength and popularity of this religion against which the prophets contended in Canaan, "we are amazed at the survival of this world-religion," and we now see "why Ezra and Nehemiah were forced to raise the `fence of the law' against this heathenism, which did in fact overthrow all other Semitic religions" (George Adam Smith. PEFS, 1906, 288).
(f) During the Maccabean epoch the people of Gezer built reservoirs (one having a capacity of 4,000,000 gallons) used well-paved rooms, favored complex house plans with pillars, the courtyard becoming less important as compared with the rooms, though domestic fowls were now for the first time introduced. The architectural decorations have all been annihilated (as elsewhere in Pal) except a few molded stones and an Ionic volute from a palace, supposed to be that of Simon Maccabeus because of the references in Josephus and because of a scribbled imprecation found in the courtyard: "May fire overtake (?) Simon's palace." This is the only inscription from all these post-exilic centuries, to which so much of the beautiful Bible literature is ascribed, except one grotesque animal figure on which is scrawled a name which looks a little like "Antiochus." Only a few scraps of Greek bowls, some Rhodian jar-handles, a few bronze and iron arrow heads, a few animal figures and a fragment of an Astarte, of doubtful chronology, remain from these four centuries. The potsherds prove that foreign imports continued and that the local potters followed classic models and did excellent work. The ware was always burnt hard; combed ornament and burnishing were out of style; molded ornament was usually confined to the rope design; painted decorations were rare; potter's marks were generally in Greek, though some were in Hebrew, the letters being of late form, and no names appearing similar to those found in Scripture. The tombs were well cut square chambers, with shafts hewn in the rock for the bodies, usually nine to each tomb, which were run into them head foremost. The doorways were well cut, the covers almost always being movable flat slabs, though in one case a swinging stone door was found--circular rolling stones or the "false doors" so often found in the Jerusalem tombs being unknown here. Little shrines were erected above the forecourt or vestibule. When the body decayed, the bones in tombs having these kukhin, shafts, were collected into ossuaries, the inscriptions on these ossuaries showing clearly the transition from Old Hebrew to the square character. After the Maccabean time the town was deserted, though a small Christian community lived here in the 4th century AD.
See also GEZER.
Most Important Recent Monographs:
Publications of Palestine Exploration Fund, especially Survey of Western Palestine (9 volumes, 1884); survey of Eastern Palestine (2 Volumes, 1889); "Palestinian Pilgrim's Text Society's Library" (13 vols) and the books of W.M. Flinders Petrie, F.J. Bliss and R.A.S. Macalister; also Bliss, Development of Palestine Exploration (1906), and Macalister, Bible Side-Lights from the Mound of Gezer (1906); Ernst Sellin, Tell Ta`annek (1904); Eine Nachlese auf dem Tell Ta`annek (1905); C. Steuernagel, Tell el-Mutesellim (1908); Mommert, Topog. des alten Jerusalem (1902-7); H. Guthe, Bibelatlas (1911).
Most Important Periodicals:
PEFS; ZDPV; Mitteilungen Und Nachrichten des deutschen Palastina-Vereins; Palastina-Jahrbuch (MNDPV); Revue Biblique.
Most Important General Works:
L.B. Paton, Early History of Syria and Palestine (1902); Cuinet, Syrie, Liban et Palestine (1896-1900); H.V. Hilprecht, Explorations in Bible Lands during the 19th Century. (1903); P.H. Vincent, Canaan, d'apres l'exploration recente (1907); G.A. Smith, Jerusalem (1908); S. R. Driver, Modern Research as Illustrating the Bible (1909).
Camden M. Cobern