Antiquities Unearthed by Petrie at Gerar, Near Gaza, Shown in London
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Antiquities Unearthed by Petrie at Gerar, Near Gaza, Shown in London

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(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

An exhibition of antiquities reclaimed from the city mound of Gerar, nine miles south of Gaza, by the recent expedition led by Sir Flinders Petrie, the famous Egyptologist, was opened at University College, in connection with the centenary celebration of the College.

At Gerar, the city associated in the Bible with Isaac and Rebecca, Sir Flinders was on previously unexplored ground. His party of eight, including three women, worked at an acre of the site for five months this year, digging down through thirty feet of ruins left by successive towns of 1500 to 400 B. C. A part was further cleared twenty feet deeper, through the camp remains of the Hyksos Age.

“We knew the A. B. C. of Egyptian antiquities and considered that if we could find close to the Egyptian border, Egyptian associated with Palestinian remains, we could fix exactdates,” said J. L. Starkey, a member of the expedition. In this respect the finds ware illumineting.

They include cornelian beads with ivory figures of the goddess Hathor, side by side with Egyptian amulets bearing the sacred eye of the horse; Palestine seals, together with Egyptian scarabs and the North Syrian cylinder seal of Hematite; a jar handle stamped with the cartouche of Rameses II., showing that representatives of the King must have stayed at Gerar, probably during campaigns; and some of the earliest iron tools of the Ramesside period, 19th Dynasty, with hoes and other implements purely Palestinian in character, the product of the city in its own furnaces which were unearthed in the excavations.

The excavations, Sir Flinders Petrie said, had shown them that Gerar was a city of great economic importance in an excellent corn country, judging by the immense granaries of the Persian age, capable of holding corn for an army of 100,000 for three months, the abundance of iron and flint sickles, and the record of “reaping an hundredfold” by Isaac. A Philistine resident for the corn exports was undoubtedly settled there, and from his window saw into the Bedawi tent of Isaac and Rebecca. The need of export corn explained why the Philistines objected to Isaac settling there with flocks, herds and servants. The place was also a great source of weapons, clothing and metal work for the Edomites and Amalekites of northwest Arabia, and a point of strategic value, commanding the roads between Egypt and Palestine.

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