Jug handles with the rosette seal used by the administrative system at the end of the Judean Kingdom. Photo by Eliyahu Yanai, courtesy of the City of David Archive

Archaeologists find more evidence of Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem

 JERUSALEM (RNS) — Israeli archaeologists recently discovered 2,600-year-old artifacts they say offer further concrete evidence of the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem around 586 B.C.

The Israel Antiquities Authority announced the discovery just days before Tisha B’Av, a Jewish fast day commemorating the anniversary of the destruction of both the First Temple by the Babylonians and the Second Temple by the Romans in the year 70.

The fast begins at sundown on July 31.

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The announcement comes at a time of great turmoil in and around the Temple Mount (the Haram al-Sharif in Arabic), the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam after Mecca and Medina.

READ: Clashes erupt at Jerusalem shrine as Muslims return to pray

During the four-month excavation, carried out in the Jerusalem Walls National Park near Jerusalem’s Old City, archaeologists found charred wood, pottery, fish scales and bones, grape seeds and “rare artifacts” covered by burned charcoal and layers of building debris.

Among the most important finds were dozens of storage jars, several of them with handles stamped with the image of a petalled rose, or rosette.

"These seals are characteristic of the end of the First Temple Period and were used for the administrative system that developed towards the end of the Judean dynasty,” according to dig directors Joe Uziel and Ortal Chalaf.

At the time, Jerusalem was the capital of the Kingdom of Judea.

Classifying objects using seals “facilitated controlling, overseeing, collecting, marketing and storing crop yields,” they said.

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The excavation also revealed an artistically rendered small ivory statue of a woman whose hair was cut in an “Egyptian style,” and indicates the wealth of some residents of the ancient city, the authority said.

The excavation also showed that ancient Jerusalem was larger than first thought: It extended beyond the line of the already-excavated city wall before it was destroyed.

“Throughout the Iron Age, Jerusalem underwent constant growth, expressed both in the construction of numerous city walls and the fact that the city later spread beyond them,” Uziel and Chalaf said.

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(Michele Chabin is RNS’ Jerusalem correspondent)


  1. Although those of faith never disputed this event, it is always nice to see archaeological evidence that proves and/or supports it for those who do have doubts.

  2. What does faith have to do with historical events? It either happened or it didn’t; “having faith” does not change that.

    Based on decades of presomnolent research (both oral and written–very well-documented), there existed three anthropomorphic porcine, each living in a dwelling built of different materials, some demonstrably more robust than others against forced lupine expiratory air flow. I have faith in that, so it definitely happened.

  3. And if it didn’t support it, then what?

  4. Faith that scripture is true and accurate as a source of historical information.

  5. So if it supports the Bible, OK, but if it doesn’t ignore it or explain it away.

    This event is chronicled in Babylonian writings and is now bolstered by archaeological evidence. Score one for the Bible.

  6. Indeed, but who is keeping score? Take care!

  7. Sour apples. We are not saved by intellectual assent of the evidence – we are saved by God’s grace. You could have 100% verifiable evidence/proof but still not believe. You do not believe because you choose not to.
    Not only that but God’s Spirit must also “open” the eyes of your heart.
    You should pray that God will open the eyes of your heart so that youau believe.

  8. “You could have 100% verifiable evidence/proof but still not believe. ”

    You are a mind reader? That statement is unsupportable.

    That statement actually describes fundamentalist Christianity regarding science!

  9. It has been my experience, as a general rule, that archaeological evidence usually tends to confirm the biblical narrative rather than the reverse at least as argued by those qualified to know. The Biblical Archaeological Review is an excellent resource in this regard.

  10. No that’s Bible. The people in Jesus’ day had the Son of God in person but still did not believe. He did miracles but they still did not believe. Belief in Christ is by faith in Jesus and what he did on the cross – not merely intellectual assent.
    Intellectual assent is not the same thing as faith. James 2:19… the demons believe and shudder…

  11. Please do not conflate the work of experts in archaeology of the Middle East with the religious apologia/psuedoscience of “Biblical Archaeology”. For the most part Biblical Archaeology is an exercise in confirmation bias.

    The Biblical Archaeology Review has had more than one occasion given credence to clear hoaxes.


    If a discovery confirms your pre-held religious beliefs, then it’s wishful thinking at best and even more likely to be a fraud.

    “Biblical Archaeology” bears little relation to what other archaeologists recognise as archaeology. The spinning of data to push a particular and tendentious interpretation, the outright forgery of artefacts and the naïve belief that certain objects ought to survive to the present day are not characteristics of scientific archaeology but are typical of pseudoscience.

    A great deal of what passes for “Biblical archaeology” consists of a search for sites and artefacts that ‘confirm’ what the Bible says; indeed, this was one of the inspirations behind the development of archaeological excavation. Following the questioning attitudes to religious certainty inculcated by Enlightenment writers, the faithful wanted to demonstrate that their beliefs could not be shaken by rational inquiry but, rather, would be confirmed through it. Unfortunately, the reverse has tended to happen. Archaeology has not confirmed the glories of the Davidic kingdom, has failed to produce evidence for Noah’s flood, has not revealed the location of Jesus’s crucifixion, has not identified a Pharaoh of the Exodus. And it probably never will.

    A great many of its practitioners start out from a particular religious viewpoint (usually orthodox Judaism or a Christian sect) and aim to find evidence that backs up their literalist interpretation of the sacred texts. This seems to have been at least part of the motivation behind the forgery of the ‘James the Just ossuary’ and other dubious artefacts traced back to Oded Golan (the other being financial, of course).

  12. Ok, you got me. I confess that on several occasions I watched on TV evangelists healing people before my very eyes and still didn’t believe. ?

  13. Tisha B’Av First Temple Destruction
    Talmud (Ta’anith 29a) under Johoiarib section priests on the going out of the Sabbath Day, 833 years (17 Jubilees) after they received the land (Arakin 12b) ;Year after Sabbath Year Jeremiah 32,34; 2 Kings 25.8-9 Nineteenth Year Nebuchadnezzar on 7 Ab;Ezekiel 4.1-8 430 years after founding Jerusalem https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+32%2C34%2C2+Kings+25.8-9%2CEzekiel+4.1-8&version=NIV

    Confirmed with Sabbath Year, Sabbath Day & Priestly Cycles “Perhaps no other date in history is more accurately verifiable to synchronize Hebrew history with that of her contemporaries.”

    Date of Exodus confirms. 480 years later Solomon constructs Temple 1 Kings 6.1 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+12%3A38-42%2CPsalm+119%3A129-136%3B+1+Kings+2%3A1-4%3B6.1+&version=NIV

    Today’s Readings http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/daily.php?year=A#id150

    See more Chronology https://twitter.com/lcvalin

  14. This is only a example of limited effect. As the LATimes article rightly points out; nobody’s perfect, but that is not an occasion to dismiss past archaeological discoveries that have in fact confirmed the biblical narrative, your putative examples notwithstanding. There will always be con men and hucksters who will exploit the enthusiasm of those seeking to affirm their convictions, which is why, as the article again noted, scrupulosity in detailing authenticity is of paramount importance in every such case.

  15. You mean the accuracy of the bible is proven once again by the secularists.

  16. Gee Ed this is just one of several times in the last few years that things in the bible were confirmed by archaeologists. So how is this one of many finds dismissed so easily by you?

  17. Only fools believe what they see on TV knowing when those those things are investigated they are easily debunked.

  18. “and if” didn’t happen. Or did you miss that point?

  19. Actually what usually happens is the Biblical archaeologists get all excited and call the press. Then the stories get taken back a bit. The biblical narrative is usually remaining unconfirmed.

    It is not the role of archaeologists to confirm or deny the biblical narrative. Simply to draw conclusions based on evidence presented. Regardless of any assumptions made by religious scripture. Hucksters operate with impunity with such religious groups because they are more concerned with validation than methodology of ascertaining knowledge.

    The people in this article are actual archaeologists. Not the pseudo religious version of them. The Israeli Government takes a harsh view of unqualified amateurs traipsing around ancient sites.

  20. Read the OP, my reply and his next reply where he answered my question. You missed the point.

  21. You had no point other than making unfounded comments. But now that you bought it up the burden of proof is on you to prove what’s in the bible is not accurate.

  22. Yes and I debunked your “what if” never happened. Now what archaeological proof do you have that disagrees with the bible?

  23. This is, of course, your opinion, the expression pseudo-religious is a pejorative term reflecting that opinion, but it is not the final word on the subject of archaeology, the bible, and its ramifications for determining the historicity of past events.

  24. If you read my comments and exchanges with Spuddie more carefully, you would have seen that I was defending the archaeological claims in support of the biblical narrative. I merely conceded that the lack of objectivity can affect any of us when we have a vested psychological interest in a given question.

  25. It’s not so much my opinion but how these,stories always play out. Every time reactionary religious types get all excited about a find being they claims confirms a biblical narrative. Then at second blush, out of the way of publicity, it gets downgraded or disavowed.

    Archaeologists have no duty to consider scripture into their findings one way or another.

    The Bibles authorship, editorial issues and publication history make historical claims dicey at best. Even ancient works which were entirely meant as historical narratives are generally of limited credibility without heavy corroboration.

  26. My comment below: “”concrete evidence of the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem around 586 B.C.” Gene has 588 BC detailed by whole chapter in his book on Hebrew Kings. http://biblechronologybooks… It’s “cornerstone” date for his work.”

    Based on Bible Gene says the year “is” 588 BC, not “around” 586. The generally accepted Bible scholar date relies on secular history. Gene relies soley on Bible.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_(587_BC) See footnote 14. I believe Steinmann relies on secular history and is wrong.

    “Confirmed with Sabbath Year, Sabbath Day & Priestly Cycles “Perhaps no other date in history is more accurately verifiable to synchronize Hebrew history with that of her contemporaries.””

    Gene is saying the Bible has “locked in” 588 as the year of Destruction. Secularists are getting close.

  27. I apologize to you because I blocked spuddie on account of his foul mouthed anti-Christian rhetoric and did not see his anti-Christian comment. I took note he’s the only one that can use foul language and insult people and never gets banned.

  28. I agree the bible is historically accurate but my question was rhetorical ;-). Thank you for verifying more evidence about God’s word being accurate.

  29. I agree Christians have faith in the bibles accuracy and archaeologists have been doing a wonderful job inadvertently confirming that accuracy. And to the dismay of the atheists on here they are angry and disappointed when these kinds of things bring God’s word into the light over there debunked opinions.

  30. Thank you for the link it looks like I have a lot of reading to do 😉

  31. Thank you. He dedicated his life to “proving” the historical accuracy of the Bible. Just knowing it’s there is good starting point.

  32. I’ve seen the same and don’t believe the hucksters. But my point remains: intellectual assent to certain facts about Jesus is not the same thing as faith in Jesus.

  33. It’s okay, apology accepted, but not sought. RNS, in my assessment, has a bias towards the left and the skeptical, I wish they would issue a statement demonstrating that such is not the case and providing evidence to support their objectivity as a News Service. I believe that bias is shown in their relatively new feature where they post comments which link to past articles at the bottom of each page. There seems to be a 3 to 1 correspondence relative to those comments they set as links which are provided by those who lean left or are anti-Christian in their worldview.

  34. I agree with all you stated but I doubt they will admit they lean to left and/or have anti-Christian bias as spuddie proves in the majority of his comments.

  35. The bias of a site comes through in the articles and headlines selected, not so much in the commenters — for atheist trolls routinely swarm religious discussion sites, even the most conservative ones, for some reason.

  36. Yes I agree the atheists come to Christian sites because the Holy Spirit draws them there to hear the truth that way when they come before the judgment seat the atheists can’t say they didn’t know and will be found guilty of blaspheming that same Spirit. God give all His creation a choice, few choose heaven and most choose hell.

  37. No. My point was if it proved the event never happened he would still believe it did.

    The bible likely contains accurate and inaccurate renditions of history. But it doesn’t matter because the fundamentalist believe it all true.

  38. What happened where verifiable is not the problem so much as why it happened. I recommend a dated but still relevant book: Battle for the Bible by Harold Lindsell. Valuable and practical insights into how to read and understand ancient texts.

  39. so, god sets it up that he “draws atheists” to the evidence, but fails to provide a sufficiency of evidence to actually convince someone. Then, on the supposition that they “appear before him” for judgment, he gets to damn them to hell. And they get to choose hell or heaven, says the god who sets it up so that there is a hell, and that “most choose hell.”
    Nice god you have there.

  40. Evidence to support one event is hardly proof of the accuracy of the bible as a whole. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that even a broken clock is perfectly accurate twice a day. It doesn’t really matter, though, because with faith, accuracy is not a requirement. It’s only a problem if you try to dictate public policy on that basis…wait a minute…

  41. Do you read you posts before you hit the reply button? You point is nonsensical and foolish. I think it’s sad you atheists get angry when things in the bible were claimed to have never happened or existed in the past are being proven by archaeologists and you do do is whine about it.

  42. I think it’s funny that things like this upset you angry whiny atheists. Please leave you’re unfounded opinions under the rock where they do no harm. But just the same it’s fools like you that dictated immoral policy’s over the last eight years. But your double standards are ok as long as you agree with them eh? BTW there are more than this one find that proves the accuracy of the bible therefore your argument is foolish and nonsensical on both of your unfounded opinions.

  43. Actually, I have to say you sound a lot more upset and whiny than me, but whatever. You lost the debate when you resorted to name-calling, so it doesn’t matter anyway. Typical mindless Bible-Thumper tactics.

    Incidentally,…*your and *policies

  44. I wasn’t name calling I was stating a fact….big difference. And why do you fools resort to spelling and grammar checks when the truth is you have nothing intelligent to add to the conversation?

  45. Since it generally doesn’t happen, your characterization is false. Generally over eager zealots jump the gun and make declarations of validation. They seldom stick around or try to remember to see the work vetted and the deflating feelings afterwards.

    Archaeologists in the ME aren’t there to prove or disprove scripture. In most cases the Bible, especially the New Testament, makes for a poor historical or geographical source.

  46. Which means belief in the absence of in the presence of contradictory evidence. Nothing to do with historical information.

    A willingness to ignore findings or l!e about history in service of your belief.

    The inherent dishonesty of fundamentalist belief.

  47. It also kind of helps that the adoption of the Hebrew and the beginnings of codification and editing of the Torah as a single work began during the exile period.

    The reference to actual verifiable leaders of the largest Empire of relevance, lack of supernatural elements helps to make at least those sections the most likely to be credible. That period in history has enough surviving corroboration.

    Of course given childish fundamentalist thinking of “all or nothing” in their belief, the idea that some parts of the Bible are more likely to be accurate than others doesn’t factor into discussion at all.

    The dolts work under the false premise that if one part can be accurate, then the most ridiculous ones must be as well. (Sorry Tony, this doesn’t mean Genesis 1 or the Exodus story are any less mythical than they were before)

  48. Plus it’s on all the city tours of Jerusalem. Though most Christian sites are in Palestinian Authority territory making them a little less tkirsit friendly.

    That being said, also old churches tend to be pretty. 🙂

  49. The accuracy of the accounts of the siege of Jerusalem and exile were never in doubt. That section of the Bible has some of the least ridiculously incredible elements to it. Plus a ton of corroboration of events from the other side.

    Silly all or nothing approaches fundamentalists take to the Bible are a hindrance to study of the text and events depicted. Fundies don’t like to be reminded the only book they read is a compilation/anthology.

  50. And why do you call people fools because YOU have nothing intelligent to add to the conversation?

    What’ssauce for the goose is surely sauce for the propaganda.

  51. I think it’s sad that you bible believers get so angry whenever anyone disagrees with you, including other Christians,

  52. Actually I enjoy the discussions and some arguments. They’re instructive. I lean to the Liberal side and I have an intellectual bias against many of the ideas of fundametalist religions.

  53. You need to learn the difference between fundamentalism and legalism and there lies the truth. Most problems are caused by those that take things to far and cause what you think is unacceptable. The is nothing wrong with fundamentalism in itself but when legalism is introduced in any religion it becomes radicalized and therefore a cult.

  54. “Porcine” is an adjective — not a noun — meaning “pork-like.”

  55. Not crucial, just helpful. It’s always helpful to the reader to say exactly what you mean, instead of settling for an approximation, and leaving the reader to get from there to what you wanted to mean.

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