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The Lachish Story Continues…
Interview with Archaeologist Saar Ganor

NOTES FROM OUR CO-DIRECTORS
All kinds of things in the works for 5777! We're starting off with some news regarding two of our premier excavations - but details will have to wait for the New Year! In the meantime, archaeologist Oren Guttfeld was in the news this week with a very cool find in Jerusalem's Old City. Barnea is plugging away at his Master's dissertation, and I'm splitting my time between Gush Etzion and the Mediterranean north-west. More is coming soon… so stay tuned!

David Willner
Elul 5776
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Today's Israel Antiquities Authority press conference of a find at Lachish was attended by Foundation Stone's CoDirectors, Mr David Willner and myself, and we conducted an interview, in Hebrew, with IAA Archaeologist Saar Ganor. 
This will be posted on Foundation Stone's LandMinds Facebook 
page shortly  In this exclusive interview Mr Ganor explains the historical context, shows where the discoveries were made, and discusses the significance of the administration and cultic features in the gate, and displayed the various finds, including the star- the stone toilet. 

The two integrated important facts one can take away are 1) clear evidence of the destruction of a cultic site during the Judahite period, apparently a perfect fit with Hezekiah king of Judah's actions, as described in Kings II 18:4. the altar corners are broken and so on. The Assyrian destruction thus covers the city of Hezekiah, Lachish Level III and indeed, Sennacheirv challenges him from there; Kings II
18: 14, 17. Secondly, the installation of a toilet in the cultic site seems to be the first physical evidence of a practice described in the Bible as executed by Jehu in disgracing the idolatrous sites in Samaria by making them into latrines; Kings II 10:27. Chemical tests showed no phosphates were present in the cesspit below it. This further indicates it was there for the impact.
In the accompanying IAA
video showing the gate during excavation, between 0:42-1:10 is a unique seat, part of a bench system in the six-chamber gate structure of the city, which bespeaks of the "elders sitting in the gate" , as in Deut. 22:15, Josh. 20:4, Ruth 4:1. Traces of such a feature were found in Tel Dan, but seeing the magnificent carved seat handles of the seat is absolutely striking. 

Lachish is not just another site, not just another grand tel, another one of the small set of major biblical period cities. The events of Lachish appear across the books of the Prophets, always as a powerful city. Lachish bears evidence of two major destructions - Assyrian, brought about by Sennacheriv as part of his campaign that demolished the Judean Foothills- Shephela and breadbasket- and is prominently displayed in image and inscription, in Sennacheiriv's Nineveh
palace- now housed in British Museum Room 10. And, there is clear evidence of the Babylonian destruction, addressed in Jeremiah 34:7. It holds more periods, even 1000 years earlier, has more secrets and many inscriptions coming up even now, and of late, it is claimed that a layer of Lachish may play a role in the  King David 10th century debate. Archaeologists for the past decades have used these two destruction layers as linchpins for understanding the country's archaeological record and pottery typology- Lachish II, higher up, of the Babylonian destruction, and Lachish III, lower down, of the earlier Assyrian destruction. Lachish II, Lachish III - household terms.

David Willner, MA Ed., who is a graphic artist with a couple decades of experience in archaeology, pointed out to archaeologist Saar Ganor a finger impression and a possible additional lamelekh impression. It is rubbed out, but the dung beetle is visible, horizontal, if you look at the right angle.

Currently at the site the gate complex has a wooden infrastructure over it. It is being prepared for public viewing. 

Shana tova, 

Rabbi Barnea Levi Selavan, Archaeologist 
CoDirector, Foundation Stone
www.foundationstone.org
 
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