A Fortress Unearthed

A Fortress UnearthedThe excavation of a destroyed fortress that belonged to the Seleucid military forces—the Yevanim of Chanukah—brings the battle to life after more than 2,000 years. The Israel Antiquities Authority recently announced the excavation, saying the Seleucids likely used this fortress to defend the Hellenistic city Maresha against the Chashmona’im.

Chanukah celebrates the rededication of the Beis Hamikdash by Yehudah Hamaccabi in 164 BCE, but that was by no means the end of the story—or the fighting. Soon after the apparent victory of the Maccabees, the Seleucid forces convinced elements of the Jewish population to accept a promise of religious freedom in return for amnesty. This led to the expulsion of Yehudah and his soldiers from Yerushalayim, though they fought valiantly in the hills.

Read the rest of A Fortress Unearthed in Ami Magazine.

Kosher Dishes


Kosher DishesWhen people hear the word “archaeology” most will immediately think of Israel or the ancient Near East. Who would have thought that important archaeological research pertaining to the history of the Jewish people would be going on in Oxford, England? But actually, a group of British archaeologists working in Oxford have published a fantastic study in which they examined two sets of evidence—animal bones and broken pottery. The simple result? They were able to confirm that an area known from medieval property records was indeed the Jewish quarter and that Jews in the 12th and 13th centuries observed the laws of kashrus.

Read the rest of this article in Ami Magazine.

Judean Desert Texts: What is their significance?

The Dead Sea Scrolls have been called the largest jigsaw puzzle in the world. But it’s not just a regular jigsaw puzzle of some 80,000 pieces. Rather, imagine opening a box with a real jigsaw puzzle inside, throwing away the majority of the pieces, and then trying to put the puzzle together. That’s the task that scholars have been working on since the initial discoveries of manuscripts at Qumran and other sites in the Judean Desert. Imagine, therefore, the thrill of Dead Sea Scrolls scholars when new pieces of the puzzle are discovered that can be put into their rightful place in a document some 2,000 years old. This, indeed, is why the latest manuscript discovery has been so widely celebrated. Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists, engaged in a systematic re-exploration of all of the Judean Desert caves, have reported finding additional fragments, filling in gaps in a manuscript containing a Greek translation of the Twelve Prophets.

Read the full article at the Jerusalem Report.