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7360Re: Forgery and Unprovenanced artifacts (was: Ryan Byrne's commentary on the $lmt seal: Seals of Women, Epigraphy, Iconogr)

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  • lmlkes
    Feb 7, 2008
      Dear Dr. Peter van der Veen and Listers, Hi!!! I appreciate your very
      kind reply. As far as the genuineness of the two Royal Bullae of King
      Hezekiah goes, I am going by Professor Yuval Goren's comments on this
      list. If you need another test, I remember at least one bulla being
      burnt black. Like I have said a few times before, thermoluminescence
      would be another way to authenticate the burnt ones, and it would be
      probably more scientific. I agree with you in general that a
      provenanced object usually has a provenance. I was just saying(really
      in passing) that you really have to look at provenanced material
      closely too. When was it excavated; how was it excavated; is there a
      specific find spot; how was it dated; are there pictures; is there
      the actual object itself left, sometimes the provenience is just an
      AREA, as I explained earlier about provenience listed in Dr. Walter
      Aufrect's Ammonite Corpus Book, etc. You can go to museums and find a
      description card and no object(and no picture)left; you can find
      objects interspersed with other objects, so you do not know if for
      instance if LMLK handles came from an excavation in Jerusalem or Tell
      Zachariah. I know of 107 LMLK Handles excavated by Dame Kathleen
      Kenyon in Jerusalem in the late 1960s that have Never been published,
      etc. I would like to challenge you on your analysis of the letters of
      the ShLMT seal. You date them to the mid-6th to mid-5th Centurys.
      What if I told you on the LMLK two-winged sun disc seals that all
      FOUR letters are represented on the MMST types when you combine the
      two seals!!!!! Even your Aramaic T is represented on the MMST
      undivided bottom inscription LMLK seal. Iconography is rather rare in
      our Hebrew Corpus, but like I have said in earlier posts bearded
      Hebrew men are known on the Governor of the City Bullae, which are
      pre-exilic. I see no basis to jump to a post-exilic date on this
      seal, but I agree with Dr. Byrne for a pre-exilic date. I welcome
      Your Comments.
      With Much Gratitude,
      Sincerely Yours,
      Michael Welch
      Deltona, Florida
      --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "Peter van der Veen"
      <van_der_Veen@...> wrote:
      >
      > Dear Mike,
      >
      > Thank you for your concern to discuss the authenticated Hezekiah
      bullae. I am glad you did. When they are shown to be genuine, then we
      should be happy about it.
      >
      > But I do not like so much your definition of unprovenanced when a
      seal or bulla comes from an archaeological site. Of course you are
      completely right that the exact context of several seals and bullae
      is not known. E.g. the famous Gedalyahu 'sr 'lhbyt bulla from Lachish
      was not stratified contrary to what many believe even in print (it
      probably did come originally from Stratum II, but its findspot does
      not tell us). Still they are not unprovenanced. We know from which
      site they come, something we unfortunately do not normally know with
      unprovenanced pieces acquired from the antiquities market. Surely
      nobody having 'faked' a piece or worse having discovered a genuine
      piece somewhere on the surface at an unknown site would throw it away
      on a spoil heap at an archaeological site, just to entertain
      archaeologists. Hence I would differentiate between unstratified and
      unprovenanced. An unstratified find still has priority over an
      unprovenanced piece. I agree with you that the latter class cannot be
      simply ignored, but they must be used wisely and with great prudence.
      >
      > Best
      > Peter van der Veen PhD
      >
      > -------- Original-Nachricht --------
      > > Datum: Wed, 06 Feb 2008 22:35:03 -0000
      > > Von: "lmlkes" <mbj11@...>
      > > An: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      > > Betreff: [ANE-2] Re: Forgery and Unprovenanced artifacts (was:
      Ryan Byrne\'s commentary on the $lmt seal: Seals of Women, Epigraphy,
      Iconogr)
      >
      > > Dear Mr. Sapir and Listers, Hi!!! I Thank You for taking the time
      to
      > > write your reply. I respect your position, and I understand it.
      You
      > > want to be very careful. I do too. Concerning your question what
      can
      > > we learn from unprovenanced material, I can say that from the two
      > > unprovenanced bullae that have recently been authenticated by
      > > Professor Goren, we can learn several things. On one bulla there
      is a
      > > two-winged sun disc whose central device, a sun orb with six
      rays,
      > > three on the top and three on the bottom, (probably reflecting a
      > > Hittite in orgin type sun disc), shows up as the central device
      on
      > > thirteen two-winged sun disc LMLK seals of King Hezekiah. On King
      > > Hezekiah's second unprovenanced bulla we have more of an Egyptian
      > > iconographical device, a two-winged scarab. King Hezekiah chose a
      > > four-winged scarab on the other eight LMLK seals that were used
      to
      > > seal jars during his reign. In addition to the icongraphy, we
      learn
      > > how King Hezekiah spelled his name and that he was the King of
      Judah.
      > > >From unprovenanced material, hundreds of Hebrew names have also
      been
      > > added to the Hebrew Onomasticon and some iconography as well. I
      > > respect your position if you want to throw away, in an
      intellectual
      > > sense, all of the unprovenanced material out there. I just would
      not
      > > do it personally. I, like I said before, am very grateful to men
      like
      > > Dr. Nahman Avigad, and a long list of others of course, who were
      > > willing to devote their lives to figuring out all of the
      > > unprovenanced material out there as best they can. Guesses, yes I
      am
      > > willing to make guesses, just like Dr. Avigad and any other
      scholar,
      > > until the guess can be confirmed or disregarded. This is the way
      > > scholarship works, especially since there is not usually a
      written
      > > record sitting right by the object(s) being excavated. You have
      to be
      > > careful too when you classify objects as provenanced. What were
      the
      > > methods used while excavating(were the methods accurate and
      > > scientific), was it a surface find, etc. Some sites were
      excavated,
      > > but the excavation reports were never written, so is this
      material
      > > unprovenanced, etc. Concerning more examples of the "lame bet"
      there
      > > is a City of David bulla, 'Elishama' son of Yeho'ab where both
      bets
      > > are pretty "lame." This bulla was actually excavated by Professor
      > > Shiloh and is found on page 59 of Ancient Jerusalem Revealed
      edited
      > > by Hillel Geva(1994). The other example is the top register HBRN
      > > seal, a two-winged sun disc type excavated at Gibeon by Dr. James
      B.
      > > Pritchard. I hope that I have answered your questions.
      > > With Much Gratitude,
      > > Sincerely Yours,
      > > Michael Welch
      > > Deltona, Florida
      > > --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "Yitzhak Sapir" <yitzhaksapir@>
      > > wrote:
      > > >
      > > > On Feb 5, 2008 7:00 PM, Michael Welch wrote:
      > > >
      > > > > Dear Mr. Sapir and Listers, Hi!!! I Thank You for your
      interesting
      > > > > reply. I Thank You for the link to the seal also. You are not
      > > really
      > > > > serious about ignoring the unprovenanced material; are you???
      You
      > > have
      > > > > been writing about the UNPROVENANCED seal of Ezra for the
      past few
      > > > > weeks.
      > > >
      > > > Of course I am serious. Please explain to me what I could
      learn
      > > from an
      > > > unprovenanced artifact whose authenticity is in doubt that I
      could
      > > not learn
      > > > from a properly excavated one. I'll never know if anything new
      > > that appears
      > > > in the unprovenanced artifact is really something authentic but
      not
      > > previously
      > > > known, or an example of the artifact's lack of authenticity.
      This
      > > means that
      > > > nothing new can be learned from these artifacts. There are,
      > > however,
      > > > different classes of unprovenanced artifacts. First, if the
      > > iconography on the
      > > > Ezra seal was unique, it is reasonable to assume that it is
      > > authentic if we
      > > > now find the iconography on a properly excavated seal.
      However, the
      > > > iconography is not unique. Other classes of unprovenanced
      > > artifacts might
      > > > include artifacts from the Temple Mount, which were not
      excavated
      > > in a regular
      > > > dig, but their provenance from the Temple Mt is certain.
      Moreover,
      > > I was under
      > > > the (false) impression that the 1970s were still unaffected by
      the
      > > > forgeries that
      > > > are known from the 1980s on. However, even before reading
      Lenny
      > > Wolfe's
      > > > article carefully, I had had a feeling that some of the
      artifacts
      > > from
      > > > the 1970s
      > > > that appeared on the antiquities market were too good to be
      true,
      > > and I should
      > > > be suspicious. In view of Wolfe's article, I therefore find it
      > > > impossible to trust
      > > > anything from the 1970s as well. Thus, I agree with you that I
      was
      > > not careful
      > > > enough, and that the Ezra seal, from the late 1970s, has good
      > > reason for
      > > > suspicion as a forgery and should be ignored. A better example
      for
      > > comparison
      > > > is the seal excavated in Samaria.
      > > >
      > > > To give a specific example, let us take the "Lame Bet" issue.
      On
      > > how many
      > > > provenanced artifacts is it found? I understand you claim that
      it
      > > is found on
      > > > the Tel Zayit stone. I don't know about that -- the conclusion
      is
      > > based on
      > > > G.M. Grena's drawing, and I think for such a conclusion only an
      > > expert
      > > > examination of the stone will suffice. But even assuming that
      is
      > > true, how
      > > > do you know if your "Lame Bet" on the Zayit stone is indicated
      of a
      > > very
      > > > rare feature that was present only in the 10th century or if it
      was
      > > an element
      > > > that began in the 10th century and remained rare but in the
      period
      > > of the
      > > > return suddenly enjoyed a greater distribution? You don't! It
      is
      > > your guess.
      > > > Guesses, however, are not sufficient to teach us anything about
      the
      > > history
      > > > of Israel.
      > > >
      > > > Yitzhak Sapir
      > > >
      > >
      > >
      >
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