Thursday, January 05, 2017

Tel Shimron near Sepphoris to be excavated

ARCHAEOLOGY: Pitt lecturer on team to excavate site in Galilee (Toby Tabachnick, Jewish Chronicle).
[Ben] Gordon, the Perlow lecturer in Classical Judaism and the Ancient Near East in the department of Religious Studies within the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, will be heading to Israel’s Galilee region this summer to commence a multiyear project excavating Tel Shimron, an archaeological site near the town of Sepphoris. Gordon will be part of the core research team, which includes Mario Martin of Tel Aviv University and Daniel Master of Wheaton University as co-directors of the project.

Gordon, a Virginia native, is no stranger to the historical treasures of Sepphoris, having done field work there as well as examined the findings of its excavation through affiliations with Hebrew University and Duke University.

Sepphoris, he explained, became a center of Jewish life after the destruction of the Second Temple. Following the Jews’ expulsion from Jerusalem, many migrated north and settled there, where Jewish intellectual life flourished.

“Judah HaNasi lived there when he edited the Mishnah,” Gordon noted.

Duke University began excavating a residential area of Sepphoris in the late 1980s, Gordon said, and found concrete evidence of Jewish life, including private ritual baths known as mikvahs in the homes, as well as dining vessels carved from stone that were referenced in the Talmud as being insusceptible to ritual impurity.