Tag Archives: artifacts

Temple on 17 Tammuz

Today is the fast day of 17 Tammuz where we remember the breach of the walls of Jerusalem. Less than a month later on the 9 Av the Temple was destroyed.

Photo from City of David website

A silver half shekel coin was discovered at the Emek Tzurim National Park during the sifting of rubble from the Temple Mount dumped by the Waqf in the Kidron Valley. The coin, weighing 7 grams, is from the Great Revolt against the Romans (66-70CE). A branch with three pomegranates and the words “Holy Jerusalem” appear on one side of the coin, while the words “Half Shekel” appear on the other, in proto-Hebrew script. The use of Hebrew (and not Jewish Aramaic that came into wide use during the Second Temple) and proto-Hebrew script is popular on Jewish coins from that period. During the period of the Great Revolt, they replaced the Tyrian shekels for the annual half shekel tax that every Jewish male adult gave to the Temple treasury and Jerusalem.

Photo from City of David website

A Babylonian arrowhead was also discovered in the sifting of archaeological rubble from the Temple Mount. Only a small number of arrowheads from the 6th century BCE, the period of the destruction of the First Temple, was found as it was Babylonian army practice to gather up the used arrows. Arrowheads were found close to the top of the City of David hill, in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and in Ketef Hinnom evidence of the heavy fighting.

Today is very appropriate to see the multi-media presentation about this period at the Burnt House in the Jewish quarter in the ruins of a house destroyed during the Great Revolt.

Technology at Israel Museums

The Google Art Project spent months mapping the Israel Museum with cameras mounted atop bicycles and photographing 520 objects, artifacts and artwork from the Museum’s collection. The outcome is an online compilation of high-resolution images accessible over the Internet and a virtual tour of the museum using Google’s Street technology. The Israel Museum was among 151 museums in 40 countries taking part in the second phase of the project. Currently more than 30,000 high-resolution objects from museums around the world are available for viewing and items can be found by various keywords, location, artist, collections, etc.

Archaeological items included are the only dedicatory inscription mentioning Pontius Pilate, the procurator of Judea in the time of Jesus found at Caesarea, the oldest Biblical text, Priestly Blessing from Numbers 6:23 on silver amulet found in tomb at Ketef Hinnom in Jerusalem (you can read my blog post at https://israeltours.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/ketef-hinnom-silver-amulet/ ) and Theodotus synagogue inscription in Greek found near the Temple Mount. There is also artwork, for example, the triptych Gates of Jerusalem by Mordecai Ardon (you can read my blog post on the Ardon Windows at https://israeltours.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/ardon-windows-isaiah-vision-peace/).

The Google Art Project creates images larger than 1 billion pixels in size, the zoom-in feature allows viewers to get inside cracks in the parchment and other details that are not visible to the naked eye – a really fascinating collection of treasures worth exploring. Kudos to the Israel Museum for making these images available.

The project follows last year’s collaboration with Google to make the famed Dead Sea Scrolls accessible in high resolution on the Internet. When announced the site drew a million viewers within the first few days. Five of the Scrolls, including the Great Isaiah Scroll 1QIsaone of the original seven Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in Qumran in 1947 are viewable at http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/isaiah.

Google has also partnered with Israel’s Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, to make its photographs and documents searchable on the Internet.

“Mendel takes out his camera. No more flowers, clouds, natures, stills or landscapes. Amid the horror all around him he has found his destiny: to photograph and leave behind a testimony for all generations about the great tragedy unfolding before his eyes.”

Mendel Grossman’s photos constitute a small portion of the historical photos in Yad Vashem’s collection. The project will facilitate preservation of and access to the world’s largest historical collection on the Holocaust. Google implemented experimental optical character recognition (OCR) technology to carry out this project, making previously difficult to locate documents now searchable and discoverable online. As of today, 130,000 photos from Yad Vashem’s archive, the largest of its kind in the world, are viewable in full resolution online. The collections are visible at http://collections.yadvashem.org/photosarchive/en-us/photos.html. This is a first step towards bringing the vast Yad Vashem archive online over time.

Yad Vashem has also launched a YouTube channel to showcase a series of videos of Holocaust survivor testimonials. The YouTube channel is available at www.youtube.com/yadvashem. There is also a YouTube channel with more than 400 hours of original video footage from the landmark 1961 Jerusalem trial of Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichmann at http://www.youtube.com/user/EichmannTrialEN.

If you know of other technology projects that are being developed in Israel please share by leaving a comment about them. If you peruse the images leave a comment here of your impression.