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Archaeological evidence verifies long-doubted medieval accounts of First Crusade

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Republication from eurekalert.org

This earpiece, perhaps of Egyptian manufacture, is apparent loot from the First Crusade sack of Jerusalem in July, 1099 (Credit: Virginia Withers)

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University of North Carolina at Charlotte

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte-led archaeological dig on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion has been going on for over a decade, looking at an area where there were no known ruins of major temples, churches or palaces, but nonetheless sacred land where three millennia of struggle and culture has long lain buried, evidence in layer upon layer of significant historical events.

Virtually every dig season, a significant discovery has been made at the site, adding real detail to the records of this globally-renowned city, giving new insights to what has often been imperfectly preserved in ancient histories. This year’s findings are no different, confirming previously unverified details from nearly thousand-year-old historical accounts of the First Crusade – history that had never been confirmed regarding the five-week siege, conquest, sack and massacre of the Fatamid (Muslim)-controlled city in July of 1099.

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Evidence of the Babylonian capture of Jerusalem found in Mount Zion excavation

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Republication from phys.org

 

One of the Scythian type arrowheads found in the destruction layer from 587/586 BCE. Credit: Mt Zion Archaeological Expedition/Virginia Withers

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Researchers digging at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s ongoing archaeological excavation on Mount Zion in Jerusalem have announced a second significant discovery from the 2019 season—clear evidence of the Babylonian conquest of the city from 587/586 BCE.

The discovery is of a deposit including layers of ash, arrowheads dating from the period, as well as Iron Age potsherds, lamps and a significant piece of period jewelry—a gold and silver tassel or earring. There are also signs of a significant Iron Age structure in the associated area, but the building, beneath layers from later periods, has yet to be excavated.

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On the Warfare in Ancient Israel and the Importance of Iron

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Phillistine

Philistine swords and daggers.

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Modern reconstruction of Phillistine and Canaanite battle-axes (images added by  periklisdeligiannis.wordpress.com).

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Republication from Article Myriad

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The general history of ancient Israel is, by its very nature, somewhat challenging to piece together, as the written and archaeological record is fragmentary (DeVaux & McHugh 213; Miller & Hayes 19). The limited information that is available is sourced primarily from religious texts, and the metaphorical and interpretive nature of these writings creates difficulties in establishing the accuracy of the stories as historical fact (DeVaux & McHugh 241). The same difficulties are confronted when studying the military history of ancient Israel. As DeVaux and McHugh wrote, “the very words used for military equipment are far from precise, and their meaning is often uncertain” (241). In addition, the traditional sources that are used to corroborate historical interpretations, such as archaeology, have not been helpful in terms of expanding historians’ knowledge of ancient military history in Israel.

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