Monday, July 16, 2018

Copper and Iron

© Daniel Frese/

The image shows piles of copper slag, a waste material in ancient Edom, indicating large-scale royal mining operations there.

Alice C. Linsley

Copper and iron were the first metals to be used in the fabrication of artifacts. Copper beads found in 8,500-year-old graves at Catalhöyük were made by hammering native metal found in nature. Similarly, hammered iron beads have been found at el Gerzah in northern Egypt where 300 graves were discovered in 1911-1912. Tombs 67 and 133 contained a total of nine iron beads. Analysis of the beads indicates that they were formed from surface iron deposited by meteorites. Both tombs are securely dated to Naqada IIC–IIIA, c 3400–3100 BC (Adams, 1990: 25; Stevenson, 2009: 11–31), so the beads predate the emergence of iron smelting by nearly 2000 years, and other known meteoritic iron artifacts by 500 years or more (Yalçın 1999).

Çatalhöyük was a large Neolithic and Chalcolithic (Copper Age) settlement in southern Anatolia (Turkey). Photo Credit: Omar Huftun

Copper is not mentioned in the earliest of the Vedas (Rig-Veda), but it is mentioned in the White Yajurveda and in the last of the Vedas, the Atharva-Veda (composed c. 1000).

The oldest proven smelting remains are in Belovode, Serbia, from around 7,000 years ago. There scientists have identified intentionally-produced copper slag, which has been analytically confirmed as the source for at least 16 heavy copper implements found across the Balkans.

Copper mines were worked at Rudna Glava (Serbia), Aibunar (Bulgaria), and Ross Island (Ireland, 2400 BC).

A copper awl was unearthed in Tel Tsaf, near the Jordan River at Israel's border with Jordan. The area was a village from c. 5100 BC to 4600 BC. The awl was found in the grave of a woman of high rank. She wore a belt made of 1,668 ostrich-egg shell beads and her grave was covered by several large stones. Analysis of the copper indicates that it came from the Caucasus.

The Copper-Cyprus Connection

The term "copper" comes from the Latin word cuprum, referring to the island of Cyprus. Early references to Cypriot copper exports were found in cuneiform tablets from the ancient kingdom of Mari (modern-day Syria) and are dated to the 18th century BC.

Tablets excavated at El Amarna, Egypt provide another significant source of information and describe in great detail the export of copper to Egypt by the kings of Cyprus during the 14th century BC.

The abundance of copper votive figures and statuettes found in mines and temples at the archaeological sites of Kition and Engomi on Cyrpus reflects the significance of copper to the Cypriot economy and religious culture.

Copper Work on the Nile

Copper and gold artifacts appeared in the region between the First and Second Cataracts in graves of the Middle A Group. These are dated from ca. 3600–3300 BC (Killick 2014). 

Around 3,200 B.C. copper balances and weights were used at Nile shrines to determine cargo taxes and for trade.

Copper Work Among the Akkadians

The copper statue show above is from the Akkadian period (2350–2100 BC). This was found in the 1960's near the village of Bassetki in northern Iraq. The Bassetki Statue shows a seated, nude human figure on a round pedestal and was cast of pure copper. The pedestal contains an Akkadian inscription indicating that the statue once stood in the doorway of a palace of the Akkadian ruler Naram-Sin.

Sites of Copper Mining

Copper (Cu) was mined in Cappadocia, Mesopotamia, Media, and Persia.

Copper was called "red" metal versus iron which was called "black" metal.

Archaeologists have found evidence of mining and annealing of copper in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Isle Royale) dating to around 5,000 B.C.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Hittites of Anatolia

The German archaeologist Hugo Winckler was the first to conduct excavations at Hattusa, the capital of the Hittite empire. Thousands of clay tablets from Hattusa’s palace and temple were found, representing eight languages. All the tablets were inscribed in the cuneiform script developed in Mesopotamia around 3000 B.C. Many were written in Akkadian, a Semitic language of international affairs during the Late Bronze Age. Many of the tablets are diplomatic in nature, containing correspondence between Hittite kings and their vassal states.

More than 232 letters of state correspondence have been found at Hattusa. One is a letter from the ruler of Išuwa to the "Chief of the Charioteers." The administrative center of Hattusa had many scribes who were schooled in Akkadian (the script of Nimrod's kingdom).

Recent research connects the Luwian hieroglyphs and the Hittite hieroglyphs. The Luwian writing system is known from quotations in Hittite documents and from ancient scripts found in Crete and Cyprus. Luwian scripts took two forms: (1) Akkadian cuneiform, as with the Hittite scripts found at Hattusa, and (2) Egyptian hieroglyphic.

The Luwian inscriptions from the Yazilikaya site in Turkey are connected to the Hittite religion. Common symbolism involving the Sun, bull horns, stone altars, and fortified temples with pillars, suggest that the religion was related to that of the Hurrians or Horite Hebrew.

This green stone found at Hattusa is believed to be a gift from the Egyptian king with whom the Hatti signed a treaty in BC 1258, was at the center of a Horite shrine. Among the ancient Nilotes green malachite symbolised the hope of resurrection. The land of the blessed dead was described as the "field of malachite." Green stones were associated with Horus, whose animal totem was the falcon. The Book of the Dead speaks of how the deceased will become a falcon "whose wings are of green stone" (chapter 77). The Eye of Horus amulet was made of green stone.

Solar images abound in Hittite culture an the king was referred to as "My Sun". Solar images are found in the royal tombs or on the standards of rulers. One example is the long horns of bulls and deer, such as appear on this bronze standard found at Horoztepe.

The March/April 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review shows a statue found at the principal temple in Hattusa. The mother of the king wears the Sun as a sign of divine appointment. This is a Hittite version of the Nilotic images of Hathor holding Horus on her lap.

An deep history

In southern Anatolia royal stone masons built Catalhoyuk beginning in 7500 BC. (The Turkish words catal means fork and hoyuk means mound.) This was a settlement built on two mounds (east and west) and a channel of the Çarşamba River once flowed between them. The houses excavated in Catalhoyuk date between 6800-5700 B.C. Recent excavations have identified a shrine or small temple on the eastern side. At Horoztepe, in northern Anatolia, they built royal tombs dating from 2400–2200 BC. These are richly furnished with finely crafted artifacts in bronze, gold, and silver.

The kingdom of Hatti was the most powerful Near Eastern kingdom in the late 14th and 13th centuries B.C. The kings of Egypt, Babylon, and Assyria were received in Hattusa's reception hall located in the royal citadel, known as Büyükkale, or “Big Castle”. Vassal rulers came to Hattusa to reaffirm their loyalty and pay tribute to the Hittite king.

In the early second millennium B.C. Hattusa (modern Boğazkale in Turkey) was the seat of a central Anatolian kingdom. In the 18th century B.C., a king named Anitta destroyed the settlement. One of the first Hittite kings, Hattusili I (c. 1650–1620 B.C.), rebuilt the city and the royal complex on a rock outcrop overlooking the lower city.  Excavations reveal the features typical of ancient high places.

1.5-inch-high, 15th-century B.C. gold pendant found at Hattusa

The Hittites were known for high quality metal work, especially silver work. The Ugaritic word for silver - ḥtt - appears in the name of the people and Hittite place names. Ḥatti and Ḥattuša are examples. Hittites scribes often used the word sign for silver in their names.


The Hittite rulers and priests appear to be kin to the Horite Hebrew ruler-priests. These peoples have some common ancestors. That is why Abraham was recognized as a "great prince among us" by the Hittites in Machpelah (Gen. 23:6). The Hittites are designated the "sons" of Heth/Het (Gen. 23:2-11) and one of the clans of Canaan (Gen. 10:15).

The Hittite rulers appear to have been in Y-DNA Haplogroup R1b1a (P297) which predominates in biblical populations associated with the Caucasus, Anatolia, and northern Mesopotamia. R1b1b (M335) has been found primarily in Anatolia and may be the genetic marker of the Saka (Sacae/Saxon). The Hindu text Matsya Purana claims that the Saka (called “Scythians” by the Greeks) ruled the ancient world for 7000 years. Another text, Mahabharata, designates “Sakadvipa” as the “land of the Sakas” in northern India. Assyrian documents speak of the Saka presence between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the time of Sargon (722-705 B.C.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Was the Pattern of the Ark Original?

"The Ark Passes Over the Jordan" by James Tissot

The Ark of the Covenant was a gilded wooden chest with a lid cover. Approximately one year after the Israelites left Egypt, the Ark was fabricated according to the pattern God gave to Moses at the foot of Mount Sinai. The Ark of the Covenant is also called the Ark of Testimony.

Moses, Bezalel (Betzalel) and Oholiab are the names associated with the Ark's construction. Bezalel appears to have been the head craftsmen. His name means "overshadowed by God." He was a Horite Hebrew craftsmen (son of Uri, son of Hur, according to Exodus 31:1).

In reality, the pattern was not entirely original. Arks have been found in East Africa and in the tombs of Egyptian kings. The ark found in King Tut's tomb has a pylon shape whereas the Ark of the Covenant is described as rectangular, like the shape of the Yeha altar found in Tigray, Ethiopia (shown above).

Ark found in the tomb of King Tut. 1922 photograph by Harry Burton (1879-1940).
It has Anubis, one of the four manifestations of Horus, the son of the High God Ra.

The Ark was plated with gold. Four gold rings were attached to its four feet, two on each side. Gold plated wood rods were placed through these rings to carry the Ark. A golden cover, called kapporet, was placed above the Ark. This is often described as the "mercy seat" thought kapporet is likely derived from kaphar, which means to mean cover, or to wipe out, as in cleansing.

The Lemba people of South Africa and Zimbabwe claim that their ancestors carried an ark that they called ngoma lungundu or "voice of God." In 2008, Tudor Parfitt described his research into this claim. He says that the object described by the Lemba has attributes similar to the Ark. It was of similar size, was carried on poles by priests, was not allowed to touch the ground, was revered as a voice of their God, and was used as a weapon of great power, sweeping enemies aside.

In the Book of Exodus the Ark is said to contain the tablets of the Ten Commandments. The author of the Book of Hebrews states that the Ark also contained Aaron’s rod, a jar of manna, and the first Torah scroll as written by Moses. These additional items appear to be from a later Talmudic source. I Kings 8:9 states, "There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone that Moses put there at Horeb, where Yahweh made a covenant with the people of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt."

The Ark of the Covenant moved from place to place, always resting in the place of the divine appointment. It rested in Shiloh. Jeremiah 7:12 makes reference to this first resting place. “Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel.”

The place of divine appointment came to be where the king resided. The Ark rested in Gibeah, Saul's hometown. After David became king, he brought the ark "from the house of Abinadab, that was in Gibeah” to Jerusalem (II Sam. 6:1-12). However, for three months the ark rested in David’s hometown of Bethlehem in the house of Obed-Edom.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Flat Earth and the Biblical Evidence

Image: logoAncient Hebrew Research CenterImage: logo

The Flat Earth Theory: Fact or Fiction?
Jeff and Denise Benner

In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people who have come to the conclusion that the earth is flat and not a globe. When I first began getting emails from people who were promoting the Flat Earth Theory, I initially ignored the subject believing it to be another fringe theory held by a few people. But then as I got more and more emails from people asking about the Globe Earth vs. the Flat Earth, I felt that it was time to dig into the subject and examine the Flat Earth Theory for myself. From my reading on this subject I believe that there are three reasons people have been embracing the Flat Earth Theory; biblical evidence, observable evidence and distrust of the government.

Biblical Evidence
It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; (RSV, Isaiah 40:22)
When interpreting scripture it is very important to interpret it from an Ancient Hebrew perspective and not from our own modern Western perspective. As an example, let’s look at the last part of this verse which states “and spreads [the heavens] like a tent to dwell in.” The Ancient Hebrews lived a nomadic lifestyledwelling in goat hair tents. The fibers of the goat hair allowed pinholes of light to pass through the tent and from inside the tent the roof looked similar to the night sky. So when the Ancient Hebrews looked at the night sky, they didn’t perceive the stars as giant balls of gas billions of miles away as we do, they saw the night sky as God’s tent over them.

When we read a passage like “the circle of the earth” we need to interpret this from their cultural perspective. The Hebrew word עולם (olam, Strong’s #5769) is frequently translated as forever, everlasting and world (Hebrew words related to time are also used for space). These translations imply vast spans of space and time, far beyond any perceptions the Hebrews would have of space and time. However, the literal meaning of this Hebrew word is “beyond the horizon.” This could be a time in the far distant past or future or a place beyond ones perception. The Hebrews did not attempt to define or speculate on what was “beyond the horizon,” it was just “hidden,” another meaning of this Hebrew word, from their viewpoint.

Because the Ancient Hebrews only concerned themselves with what they could perceive around them, to them the whole world was what was within sight. If you stand in the middle of a plain and look all around you, you will see a 360 degree view of the horizon and this horizon will be in the shape of a circle.

The Hebrew word for “circle” in Isaiah 40:22 is the word חוג (hhug, Strong’s #2329), which means a “circle,” such as is drawn with a compass, and refers to the perceivable “world” around the individual.
And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. (RSV, Joshua 10:13)

According to modern science the earth revolves around the sun, and therefore the sun cannot “stand still.” So this verse is used to support the Flat Earth Theory, because in this theory the earth is stationary and the sun moves around the earth.

But again, it is important to understand this passage from the perspective of the Ancient Hebrews, who simply saw the sun pass from one horizon to the other each day. I would also like to point out that if this verse was written from a Flat Earth Theory perspective, the sun would not “go down” as the text states. However, to the Ancient Hebrews the sun does “go down” from their perspective supporting the idea that this verse was written from the perspective of the Ancient Hebrews.

And God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, (RSV, Genesis 1:14 )
This verse, along with many other verses in the Bible, has been used to create the following Flat Earth model of the heavens and earth.

As I have demonstrated, the Ancient Hebrews do not perceive the world in the same way that we do and we can also see that their style of writing is very different from our own as well.

Our modern form of writing history is with prose and step logic, but the Ancient Hebrews used poetry and block logic. These two styles of writing are very different and if we attempt to interpret the Bible as if it was written with prose and step logic, then misinterpretations and mistranslations will abound.

Our misunderstanding of the poetry of Genesis Chapter 1 can easily be demonstrated by comparing the verse above with Genesis 1:4. In Genesis 1:14 it states that God created the lights (the sun and moon) to “separate the day from the night.” How is this possible if God already separated the light from the darkness in Genesis 1:4? The answer lies in the style of writing. This chapter is not written as an historical account. It is a poem with a chiastic structure and days one and four are speaking about the same event, not different events on different days.

If we compare the first three days of creation with the last three days of creation, we discover that the author has divided the six days into two separate blocks. The first block of three days describes the act of separating the heavens and the earth while the second block of three days describes the act of filling the heavens and the earth.

Day 1 - Separating light and darkness
Day 2 - Separating water and sky
Day 3 - Separating the land from water
Day 4 - Filling the light with the sun and the darkness with the moon.
Day 5 - Filling water with fish and the skies with birds
Day 6 - Filling the land with plants and animals

Day 1 is about the separating of the light and darkness and day 4, its parallel, is about the filling of the light and darkness with the sun, moon and stars. Day 2 is about the separating of the water and the sky and day 5 is about the filling of the water with fish and the sky with birds. Day 3 is about the separating of the land from the water and day 6 is about the filling of the land with plants and animals. The first chapter of Genesis, and the rest of the Bible for that matter, must be interpreted according to the Ancient Hebrews style of writing (poetry and block logic) and not from our own modern style of writing (prose and step logic).

To summarize, the Ancient Hebrews did not believe in a Flat Earth or a Globe Earth. From their perspective, the earth was what they could see from horizon to horizon and their philosophy of the Cosmos was interpreted from this perspective.

Please support Ancient Hebrew Research Center. The Benners are doing important work!

Alice C. Linsley

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Gebel el Silsila

Gebel el Silsila is located on the Nile between Luxor and Aswan. Here archaeologists from Sweden's Lund University, working with Egyptian archaeologists, found a dozen new burial sites dating back 3,500 years. In 2015, they also discovered the remains of an ancient temple there. Gebel el Silsila means "Chain of Mountains" in Arabic. The ancient name of the Nile settlement was Kheny.

The team found 12 new tombs from the period of the Eighteenth Dynasty. The burial sites contained, painted pottery, scarabs, jewelry, and animal remains buried separately from human remains. The remains of a crocodile were found in one grave.  The crocodile was called "olom" by the ancient Nubians. and some Nilotic rulers took this creature as their totem.

The tombs at Gebel el Silsila range from large family crypts to smaller tombs that, in some cases are shallow graves covered with rubble from the nearby quarry.

In the tomb of a child wrapped in linen (ST63) the expedition found 3 scarabs, one with the royal name of Thutmosis II (Aa-Kheper-n-Ra).

This expedition found a seal ring bearing the cartouche of Pharaoh Thutmosis III (Men-Kheper-Ra) and a scarab with his name. Thutmosis III was the sixth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty. He and reigned for 22 years with Hatshepsut, his stepmother and aunt. He reigned for almost 54 years (BC 1479-1425) and extended the Egyptian empire empire Egypt from the Fourth Cataract in Nubia to Niya in North Syria.

Additionally, six statues and relief scenes were found in shrines 30-31 from the reigns of Hatshepsut and Thutmosis III.

Related reading: Gebel el Silsila Project; Ancient Graveyard Unearthed at Gebel el Silsila

Friday, April 13, 2018

Nilotes in the Sinai

Image found at Kuntillet Ajrud with a distincitve Nilotic style

Around 3000 years ago Kuntillet Ajrud was a typical high place. The biblical term "high place" refers to a shrine city at an elevated site, near a permanent water source. Other high places include Jerusalem, Jericho, Gobekli Tepe, and Catal Hoyuk.

Kuntillet was built on a hill with wells at the foot of the hill. Discoveries made at Kuntillet Ajrud in the northern Sinai point to a Nilotic point of origin for the Hebrew religion and worldview.

Another image found at Kuntillet Ajrud shows a seated female figure playing a harp in the background. In the forefront is a male figure wearing a leopard-skin tunic (shown below).

The men of the oldest known priest caste wore leopard skins. Similar images have been found at Catal Hoyuk in southern Anatolia dating to 7500 BC (See below). 

The Turkish word "catal" means fork and "hoyuk" means mound. This settlement was built on two mounds (east-west axis) and a channel of the Çarşamba River once flowed between them. The houses excavated in Catal Hoyuk date between 6800-5700 B.C. Recent excavations have identified a shrine or small temple on the eastern side.

The Nubians wore leopard skin tunics. Petrie's study of ancient images suggested to him that Egypt was the product of different racial types. He found images of red and black Nubians. This confirmed what had been discovered by the 1828 Franco-Italian expedition to Egypt led by Jean-Francois Champollion and Ippolito Rosellini. Below is a detail from one of Rosellini's drawings showing both black and red Nubian captives taken by the Egyptians under Rameses II (BC 1279-1213).

Friday, March 9, 2018

Royal Treaties

Alice C. Linsley

The kings of the Ancient Near East often formed treaties. Scholars have learned much about the treaties by studying the Mari Tablets (Mesopotamia), the Amarna Texts (Egyptian), and the Egyptian-Hittite Peace Treaty. These agreements between equals were to the mutual benefit of both parties.

Here is a partial list of the matters addressed in these ancient treaties:
  1. to honor territorial boundaries
  2. to maintain open trade routes
  3. to establish beneficial trade relations
  4. to guarantee safe travel for royal messengers
  5. to protect throne rights by denying marriage to royal women
  6. to arrange for a royal heir to marry a princess to solidify a political alliance
  7. to form an alliance to join armies when either kingdom is attacked
  8. to guarantee the return of escaped slaves
  9. to establish royal provisions for shrines and temples
  10. to establish penalties (curses) for violating the terms of the treaty
  11. to establish rewards (blessings) for fulfilling the terms of the treaty

The most common treaties were between a high king and a lesser ruler. The high king is called the suzerain and the lesser king is called "prince," "vassal," or "vizier." In Genesis 23:5, the Hittites of Canaan refer to Abraham as a "great prince among us." (The Hebrew: ádoniy n'siy élohiym probably refers to a mighty ruler-priest).

If the treaty is between a royal father and his male heir, the royal heir is called "son." This is probably what is referred to in Genesis as the "birthright." Issac was the royal heir to Abraham's holdings. Before Abraham died, he had his servant swear an oath that Issac would marry Rebecca, a patrilineal cousin. To secure Isaac in his position as ruler, Abraham gave gifts to his other sons and sent them away from Isaac (Genesis 25:6).

The lesser ruler had obligations to serve the greater king. He had the responsibility to enforce the high king's laws and he was the representative of the people before the suzerain. On ancient murals the lesser ruler is often shown bowing before the high king, as in the Babylonian image below. Sometimes the suzerain and the vassal are shown holding clay tablets upon which the treaty was inscribed.

In this image the high king is lifting a bowl to the Creator who is symbolized by the Sun. The bowl would have contained oil or wine and is called an "oblation." A vassal bows before him. Facing the suzerain, and standing, is a royal priest. He is offering sheaves of wheat to the Creator. Only one person in the Old Testament stood in the role of both Suzerain and Priest, and that person points to Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7:1-21).

In many ancient images the high king was shown with the Sun symbol on his head or directly above his head. This signified that he had been divinely appointed to rule. This terracotta figurine from the Nok civilization is an example. It dates to around 2000 BC, the time of Abraham.

Suzerain-vassal treaties open with a "Preamble" of two sections. 1) The identification of the Suzerain by his name and titles; 2) The historical summary of the Suzerain's protection and provisions for the vassal, illustrating how much the vassal was indebted to his "lord" and owed him obedience. The suzerain would keep one copy of the treaty and the vassal would keep another copy of the treaty.

The treaty clarified the duties and obligations of the vassal. One stipulation was that the vassal place his copy of the treaty in his shrine and he was to read it on certain occasions to remember his duties.

The Treaty of Kadesh was between two equally powerful suzerains: Ramesses II and Hattusili III. In this case, the treaties were placed in their royal temples. Above is the Hittite version of the treaty and below is the Egyptian version of the treaty.

 Treaty of Kadesh carved into the monumental wall at the Precinct of Amun-Re in Karnak

After the Treaty of Kadesh took effect, greetings were exchanged between the two courts, particularly between the two queens, Nefertari of Egypt and the Hittite queen Budu-Khebi ("Veiled High Queen"). Nefertari wrote:
"I hear, my sister, that you have written to ask after my peace and the relations of good peace and fraternity that exist between the Great King of Egypt and the Great King of Hatti, his brother. Ra and Teshub will deal with this so you can raise your look, may Ra assure the peace and strengthen the good fraternity between the Great King of Egypt and the Great King of Hatti, his brother, for ever."

Typically, the treaty ratification rite involved cutting the bodies of animals in halves and placing them in two rows with enough space between for the two parties to walk side by side between the sacrificed animals. As they walked between the pieces, they vowed to each other, "May what has happened to these animals, happen to me if I break this covenant with you."

In Genesis 15, we read about this rite, only it is the LORD himself who passes between the animal halves while Abraham beholds this miraculous vision. The LORD reminds Abraham of all his faithfulness to him: I brought you here from Ur. I am your Shield. I am your Reward.

In the case of treaties made to honor territorial boundaries, there was an ancient custom of raising a heap of stones. This was done by Laban and Jacob as a 'witness' to the oath they swore (Gen. 31:45).