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American Expedition Makes Important Archaeological Discovery in Palestine

September 8, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

A cuneiform clay tablet of the Tel-el-Amarna period was unearthed by the archaeological expedition conducting excavations at Shechem, Palestine. The discovery was announced by Professor Ernst Sellin, director of the expedition, in a cablegram to Bishop H. M. Du Bose, the American sponsor of the expedition.

The date falls during the reign of Amen-Hotep IV of Egypt, near the end of the fifteenth century before the Christian era, or a century before the birth of Moses.

No tablet of the Tel-el-Amarna class has hitherto been found in Palestine, except the small cabinet of inscriptions discovered by Professor Sellin at Taanach in 1909. These represented a local Palestine correspondence, but it is believed by Bishop Du Bose that the reading of the Shechem tablet will show it to be of Egyptian-Syrian significance. If so, it will add to the already established pre-eminence of Shechem among ancient Palestine cities, in showing a fifteenth century entente between Egypt and the Amurru influence in Northern Syria, of which Shechem was the centre.

The Pharaohs of this period held much Palestine territory, but the Shechem uncovering shows no sign of foreign domination over it during the Canaanitish age. Also this tablet, Bishop Du Bose says, pushes back to within two centuries of the residence of Jacob at Shechem.

In addition to the tablet above referred to, Professor Sellin has informed Bishop Du Bose of the uncovering, in the lowest Canaanitish fundament, of a temple of El-Berith, of a date of 1800 to 2000 before the Christian era. It represents a modified monotheism, a twilight zone between polytheism and the worship of one God.

Bishop Du Bose accepts the discovery as a further substantiation of the theory of the prevalence of monotheism throughout the Amurru influence in the West Land, from the beginning of the third millennium before the Christian era backward. The effect of the establishment of this theory would be to upset the whole critical view of the Babylonian origin of the Genesis stories of creation, the Garden of Eden, the fall of man and the deluge.

Undeniable proof of the Biblical history of the ancient city of Schechem, the falling of the walls of Jericho, the existence of the well of Jacob and other Biblical facts are established by explorations in Palestine in which Bishop H. M. Du Bose, President of the three Tennessee annual conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, participated, the Bishop said upon his return from Palestine, according to an Associated Press despatch from Nashville, Tenn.

Bishop Du Bose and a party of German College professors led an archaeological trip in recent excavations in Palestine and Egypt which were begun about the time of the outbreak of the World War and soon will be completed.

The ancient city of Shechem, said Bishop Du Bose, was definitely located with not a contradiction of the account of the forgotten city as it appears in the Bible. The archaeologists, he declared, identified the Well of Jacob, less than a half mile outside the gates of Shechem. Science established, he said, that the well was on the same geological level as the gates of the Tower of Shechem.

This indicates, said Bishop Du Bose, that the gates of the city were built and the well dug within the space of two or three hundred years of each other.

Proof was established, the Bishop claimed, of the historic City of Jacob. It was discovered, he declared, that the foundations of Shechem were 4,000 years old.

The rounded curb of the well where Jesus of Nazareth is recorded in the New Testament as having sat and talked with the woman of Samaria, is still intact.

The excavations were made to a depth of 38 feet. Traces of four ancient civilizations were unearthed–those of the Canaanites, the Israelites, the Greeks and the Samaritans.

The walls of the city of Shechem measured something like three miles in line.

The Bishop showed photographs of the unearthed ruins of the foundations of a colonnade palace within the walls of the city.

“This bears out the Bible,” he asserted. “Not a relic of any sort was discovered in the palace by the excavators. The Bible says that the sons of Jacob destroyed Shechem in the seventeenth century before the Christian era–that the palace was stripped bare–and the ruins were found as such.

The ancient walls of Jericho, which the Bible records fell upon the sounding of the ram’s horn by a priest in the time of Joshua, in the fourteenth century before the Christian era, actually fell, Bishop Du Bose declared. This he claimed was determined by the examination of pottery which fixed the age and the examination of fragments. Tablets fruitful of “wonderful results” were unearthed in Shechem.

The walls of the City of Shechem, which the archaeologists uncovered, contain larger stones than those in the pyramids of Egypt, he said, by actual measurements. All the streets of the ancient city were paved. There was a system of drainage, pictures of which he exhibited, which the Bishop declared were perfect and reflected a civilization equal to modern ideas.

There is no occasion for increasing the price of poultry for the Jewish holidays, according to Dr. Louis I. Harris, Health Commissioner. He said that normal shipments of healthy poultry were arriving. The department examined 510,000 live chickens arriving last week for the High Holidays and only sixty-four had to be condemned.

Commissioner Harris stated that as a result of telegraphic messages sent to dealers throughout the country the city was receiving healthy fowls and enough shipments to care for the holiday demand.

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