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The Scrolls as a Start, Not an End

November 1st, 2011

An animated map shows the area being swept into the expanding blobs of surrounding empires. The Egyptian New Kingdom gives way to the Hittite; the United Kingdom of Israel thrives, beginning around 1000 B.C., and then splits in two. The Assyrian Empire overruns them both; then comes a parade of conquerors, from the Babylonians to the Byzantines, an immense chain of domination.

The opposite wall offers a reverse timeline, beginning in the present and displaying excavated objects. The Ottoman Period (1516-1917) is represented by pottery tobacco pipes; the Mamluk Period (1250-1517) is commemorated in an 18th-century coin. The Crusader Kingdom, a series of Islamic empires and their ancient predecessors are represented by pottery, coins and jewelry.

The onslaught moves forward and backward in time. But we learn that in the 12th century B.C., there were signs of a culture in the Canaanite hills that scholars have associated with the Israelites; evidence includes the ruins of distinctive four-room homes incorporating a central courtyard.

We are also shown artifacts that testify to the evolution of Israelite monarchies and to the building of royal cities with trappings of wealth; large vessels have survived bearing the Hebrew inscription “LMLK”: “belonging to the king.”


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