High Tech Archaeology & a New Free e-Book from the Biblical Archaeology Society
by James Tabor
Last week I posted a preliminary report on our recent use of electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) or electrical resistivity imaging (ERI) in the area of the Talpiot tombs estate. This is a geophysical technique for imaging sub-surface structures from electrical measurements made at the surface, or by electrodes in one or more boreholes.
I was just reading this morning the fascinating results of attempts to extract fossil pollen from ancient plaster at Ramat Rahel–a royal garden estate dating back to the Persian period just 4000 feet away from the three Talpiot tombs:
The ancient tell (mound) of Ramat Rahel sits on the outskirts of Jerusalem. It features an impressive residency and palatial garden that flourished during the seventh to fourth centuries BCE, when biblical Judah was under the hegemony of the Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian empires. Until recently, the garden’s flora has been a mystery, as standard archaeological procedures were unable to retrieve secure archaeobotanical remains. A unique method of extracting fossil pollen from ancient plaster has now enabled researchers to reconstruct the exact vegetation components of this royal Persian garden and for the first time to shed light on the cultural world of the inhabitants of the residence. The plaster layers and garden are dated archaeologically and by Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) methods to the Persian period (fifth to fourth centuries BCE), and produced evidence of importation by the ruling Persian authorities of special and highly valued trees to the garden from remote parts of the empire.
You can read more here.
And just last week the Biblical Archaeology Society has made available a new e-book that can be downloaded free: Cyber-Archaeology in the Holy Land: The Future of the Past, by Thomas E. Levy and associates. This fascinating book highlights some of the 21st century recording techniques, analytical methods, visualization tools and data-sharing structures that can provide a new pragmatic approach to our examination of the past that will allow the kind of impartial objectivity that is the goal of all scientific endeavors. In this free eBook, archaeologists and researchers from the University of California, San Diego’s Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology, reveal the future of archaeology through their groundbreaking Cyber-Archaeology research at the site of Faynan, Jordan (Biblical Punon). This book shows how Cyber-Archaeology provides objective insights into some of the most heavily debated subjects in Biblical archaeology, including the historicity of Biblical kings David and Solomon. You can download it free and without obligation here.