Researchers from Tel Aviv University and Germany's Heidelberg University
uncovered the royal garden at the site of Ramat Rachel, a kibbutz (communal
farm) in Israel, and are leading the first full-scale excavation of this type of
archaeological site in Israel.
The garden was a massive and lush green space royals would use to relax. Such
pleasure spots were once the ultimate symbol of power, according to the
One of the main features of the Ramat Rachel gardens is its intricate irrigation
system, the likes of which have never been seen before outside of Mesopotamia
(home of the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon). The irrigation system includes
open channels and closed tunnels for water to travel though, as well as
stone-carved gutters and the framework for elaborate waterfalls.
When the garden was built, being able to control water, especially in the
desert, was a great show of political strength.
Based on their analysis, the researchers think Ramat Rachel was built by the
Judeans, but commissioned by foreign powers. The archaeologists hope to study
the site more to unravel its story, and shed new light on the complicated
political maneuverings between the various empires that ruled in Israel. The
site was in use from the 7th to the 4th centuries B.C., a period that saw many
wars and exchanges of power, with the garden evolving under each civilization.
According to the researchers, the first phase of the garden can be dated back to
the 7th century B.C., when Judah became a vassal kingdom of the Assyrian empire.
"It is our assumption, due to a combination of our finds at the dig correlated
with historical texts, that the garden and the main parts of the citadel were
constructed during this period, and probably following some kind of 'order' of
the empire, or at least to facilitate the needs to raise taxes to it," Lipschits
told LiveScience in an e-mail.
"The abundance of stamped jar handles, a form of administrative-economic system,
from the Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian periods (7th-4th centuries B.C.),
indicate the site was in use throughout the changing of powers, and the lack of
destruction layers suggest the transition went smoothly in Ramat Rahel, and that
it continued with its original purpose,"an administrative center of produce
distribution," he said.
The researchers are using a combination of excavation methods to study the
garden site. For example, botanical and agricultural analysis will reveal which
plants and animals lived in the garden, while geological inspection should show
where the soil originated. The scientists are also studying the plaster inside
water trenches to try to find hidden pollen remains.
2. Archaeology: Brit-Am Version of
From: david meadows <email@example.com>
ANCIENT NEAR EAST AND EGYPT
EUROPE AND THE UK (+ Ireland)
On the DNA front, early Neolithic Farmers in Germany had Near Eastern links:
A pair of ancient statues stolen in Italy in the 1980s were spotted by an
guy on vacation in New York:
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