A Travellerspoint blog

April 2018

Timna Park - Great Geology and History

After a great morning of diving in the Red Sea, we drove 25 kilometres north of Eilat in the afternoon to visit Timna Park. This area in the Negev Desert has stark land formations of stratified rock, with sandstone, dolomite of every colour. It also has an abundance of copper with seams of the metal still visible. The area reminds us of sections of Nevada, Arizona and Utah.

Some of the rock formations include Solomon’s Pillars, the Sphinx, the mushroom and arches.

Mining of copper srarted sime 8,000 years ago in the stone age and shifting to the bronze age. King Solomon was famous for his mining operation, more recently some 321000 years ago. There is an area where mine shafts are very evident and you can literally experience what it feels climbing into some of the shafts.

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Posted by PassionRetirees 16:27 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

Masada - An Archaeologist’s Dream

Today we left Jerusalem and were able to go to Masada which was blocked the other day because of sinkholes in the highway. No traveller coming to Israel should leave without coming to this Ancient mountain fortress. It has special meaning in Jewish history.

Masada was a fortress built by Roman King Herod in 37 B.C.E. as a retreat from perceived threats in the land of Judea. How they managed to build this complex on a rocky outcrop 400 metres above the Dead Sea is mind boggling.

The Romans had conquered the Jewish empire of Judea and upon Herod’s death, the Jews revolted and ultimately fled to Masada. They resisted the Roman legions for three years before they ultimately realized what their demise would be. Rather than be assaulted by the Romans, 972 of these Jewish zealots committed suicide.

The large archaeological site has palaces, storage rooms, baths, cisterns, churches and synagogues, and also present are mosaic floors and walls. There is quite a line at the site while waiting to enter the cable car, but if you feel fit, you can take a path which takes about 40 minutes. Whichever way you go, the views from the top of the surrounding countryside are dramatic.

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Posted by PassionRetirees 12:47 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

The Special Israel Museum

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On a hill near the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) sits the large Israel Museum with the associated Book of the Shrine, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The first remnant of scrolls was discovered by a couple of Bedouin in 1947 in a cave near Qumran by the Dead Sea. Subsequent searches found more scrolls in more caves, dating from 8th century B.C.E to 3rd century C.E. The scrolls cover most of the books of the Old Testament, though they are all not complete. They do confirm the content of later biblical writings. To minimize deterioration only a small portion of the scrolls are displayed at any one time.

The main part of the museum houses displays from the stone age, metal age and more recent periods where agriculture and societies in the land of Israel emerged. Another wing displays costumes of Jewish culture in the 19th century. There is also a colection of coins from the Roman era in this area,

Most impressive are the archaeological artifacts on display:

There is a mosaic floor segment of a 5th century Byzantine building from the Galilee.

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A 1.4 million year old animal bone from the Jordan Valley.

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Elephant tusk from the stone age over 250,000 years ago.

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Bones of a woman and her dog from the stone age

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Wheat and barley seeds from the Jordan Valley, 10,000 years ago.

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Some 19th century Jewish garments were also on dispay.

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Posted by PassionRetirees 11:03 Archived in Israel Comments (3)

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