Our friends over at the Jerusalem Perspective have made available (free) a wonderful 50 minute illustrated video of a 2006 lecture by Dr. Gabriel Barkay entitled “Was Jesus Buried in the Garden Tomb? First–Century Burial In Jerusalem.”
Spoiler alert: In the video, Gabi compares the Garden Tomb to other First Temple Tombs and contrasts the Garden Tomb with First Century Tombs. It is classic “Gabi.” Thorough, informative, and captivating—by THE authority on the archaeology and history of Jeruslem.
The entrance to the Garden Tomb.
Gabriel Barkay peering into the burial chamber of one of the Ketef Hinnom Tombs — from the First Temple Period.
One of the burial benches and repository in one of the chambers in the First Temple (Iron Age) Tombs on the grounds of the Ecole Biblique.
One of the least visited places in Jerusalem is the portion of the village of Silwan that is located on the lower western slope of the Mount of Olives—opposite the “City of David.”
The village itself is built over 50 tombs from the 8th and 7th centuries B.C. This necropolis – “city of the dead” – was investigated by David Ussishkin and Gabriel Barkay between 1968 and 1971. Travel to this area is very difficult (= impossible) for the inhabitants of Silwan are normally very hostile to outsiders.
The two most famous tombs from this necropolis are “the Tomb of Pharaoh’s Daughter” and the “Tomb of the Royal Steward.”
Tomb of the “Royal Steward” located in the Village of Silwan
The two inscriptions have been carved out and taken to the British Museum
Note the door on the left — this important tomb was used as a storage room at the time that this picture was taken
Unfortunately the second most important tomb from the First Temple Period is located in this village. This tomb was discovered by Clermont-Ganneau in 1870. It had two Hebrew inscriptions – one above the door and the other to the right of it. Both were carved out and sent to the British Museum where they are still housed. The largest inscription was over the door (note the large “gash” there).
Nahman Avigad translated the larger inscription as “This is [the sepulcher of . . . ] yahu who is over the house. There is no silver and no gold here but [his bones] and the bones of his amah with him. Cursed be the man who will open this!”
In the text the phrase “who is over the house” refers to a very important personage in the Judean government (about second to the king). His name, according to the inscription, was “. . . yahu.” Unfortunately the first part of his name is missing but many believe that the person who was buried here was none other than Shebna [yahu], the Royal Steward, whom Isaiah condemned for ‘hewing a tomb for himself on high’ – SEE Isaiah 22:15-17!
The amah (a female) mentioned in the inscription may also have been a very high functionary in the Judean government.
For a popular description of this necropolis see: Shanks, Hershel. “The Tombs of Silwan.” Biblical Archaeology Review, vol. 20, no. 3 (May/June, 1994):38-51
You also may be interested in viewing the First Temple Tombs found on the grounds of the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem – Click Here.
Posted in Archaeology, Daily Life, Inscriptions, Jerusalem, Museums, Places in Israel, Tomb, Tombs
Tagged Gabriel Barkay, hebrew inscriptions, Isaiah, necropolis city, Royal Steward
The Times of Israel has an article entitled “Tiny stone seal from King David era found in Temple Mount fill.”
A cone-shaped seal found in the rubble excavated from the Temple Mount believed to date to around the 10th century BCE (Zachi Dvira, Temple Mount Sifting Project.”
Much of the information in the article in the Times of Israel comes from a telephone conversation with Gabi Barkay, a founder of the Temple Mount Sifting Project.
Barkay said the seal’s discovery attests to ‘the administrative activity which took place upon the Temple Mound during those times.’
It is amazing to think that something such as this was found on The Temple Mount itself. Although there are bound to be disputes about the dating of this object, it was not found in situ, Barkay’s judgments on such matters are typically widely accepted and sound.
Click on the link above for the full article with additional pictures.
Gabriel Barkay peering into the repository of one of the “Ketef Hinnom” tombs.