Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Three inscriptions

In the space of about ten minutes, we found ourselves walking past three stones we already knew all about from our time in Jerusalem in 2013.  I had simply missed the fact that, since Jerusalem was part of the Ottoman Empire during the nineteenth century so many of the things discovered then would have ended up in Istanbul - much as the British Museum is full of things looted from our own sphere of influence at about the same period.  This is one of the earliest examples of Hebrew writing, an exercise piece about the prgress of the agricultural year, a reproduction of which we saw at the place from which it comes at Tel Gezer.  It is much smaller than we imagined.

Here is one example of the much more famous warning signs from the Jerusalem Temple, alerting outsiders that they put their lives at risk by intruding beyond them.

And here is the record of the digging of Hezehiah's tunnel found on site there which we were told all about when we walked through it.  We remembered that the account told of those digging from either side hearing the sounds of axes and voices from the other side as they came to close to breaking through to each other.

The 'trade' worked the other way, from the treasures illustrated as now being in Venice as a result of the Crusaders passing through (systematically wrecking) to the sad sign at a tomb outside the Hagia Sophia giving the catalogue numbers in the Louvre for the tiles sent to Paris for restoration in the nineteenth century.

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