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

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  • lmlkes
    Dear Dr. Peter van der Veen and Listers, Hi!!! Here are some more details on Iconography and Epigraphy. The finds from Tell el Mazar and the finds from Tel
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 9, 2008
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      Dear Dr. Peter van der Veen and Listers, Hi!!! Here are some more
      details on Iconography and Epigraphy. The finds from Tell el Mazar
      and the finds from Tel Goren or Ein or En-gedi are discussed in Dr.
      Ephraim Stern's mammoth sized book En-Gedi Excavations I Final Report
      (1961-1965)(2007) on pages 256-257. On page 256 there are pictures of
      two Neo-Babylonian Seals. I agree with Dr. van der Veen that these
      seals are to be generally dated to 550 to 450 B.C. The problem is
      these seals are not good parallels with the seal of ShLMT. The seal
      of ShLMT is scaraboidal whereas these Neo-Babylonian seals are
      usually pyramidal conical or pyramidal octagonal, and are usually
      made from higher quality stone like chalcedony or agate. There is
      usually only ONE schematic priest figure before an even more
      schematic altar. Mr. Yitzhak Sapir in an earlier post mentioned in
      passing a seal that was excavated in Samaria. I believe it is WSS
      1078. These types of seals with TWO figures which are less schematic
      are more closer parallels to the seal of ShLMT. This WSS 1078 is very
      close but is not dated. Other seals include WSS 1026 in the Moabite
      section. It could easily be Hebrew because it has the extra tick on
      the Yod, which is characteristic of the Samaria Ostraca and the LMLK
      Ziph two-winged sun disc seals. It is dated to the 8th -7th
      Centuries. There is also in the Moabite section WSS 1043 (7th Cent.),
      1044 (7th Cent.) and 1047 (Not Dated). Under Edomite there is WSS
      1053 (early 6th). Under Moabite or Edomite seals there is WSS 1058
      (Not Dated), which looks very close. In the Phoenician section there
      is WSS 738 (9th-8th Cents.) In the Hebrew section there is WSS 154
      (No Date) and WSS 402 A, B, ( Dated mid-7th Cent. in Avigad's Hebrew
      Bullae Book). I am sure that I missed a few seals. These Two Figure
      scaraboidal parallels seem to be the seals to concentrate on. Like I
      mentioned previously we have all FOUR Hebrew letters contained on
      excavated LMLK MMShT two-winged sun disc seals in Jerusalem and
      Lachish, that are firmly dated to the late eighth century. There is
      no need to go to the Aramaic laguage when this is a Hebrew
      inscription found in a specific find spot in Jerusalem. These further
      arguments combined with Dr. Byrne's examples make a pre-exilic date
      seem much more likely. I look forward to 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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