Archive for February, 2012

Hasan Awad Probably Found It

February 27, 2012

Last week’s riddle was admittedly difficult. The easy one this week will boost everyone’s Biblical archeology confidence. In fact, it’s so easy, I’m going to disqualify Todd Bolen since he knows Bible places so well, & his participation simply wouldn’t be fair to my other 3 readers.

This photo shows (presumably) a recreation of one of the most important Biblical archeology discoveries ever.

My main purpose in violating the publisher’s copyright herewith is to give some prominence to the man who (again presumably) made the discovery, Hasan Awad (Hanajreh Bedawy). I keep repeating “presumably” only because if someone other than Hasan had made the discovery, surely he, she, or they would’ve been shown in the photograph. Makes sense, right? If I had made one of the most important & exciting finds like this, I couldn’t imagine letting someone else be in the main publication photo … the only possible exception would be if there were a beautiful young lady on the site, then I could imagine the director wanting to use her to promote the discovery, but Hasan was obviously not a beautiful young lady, so there goes that theory!

Oddly enough, I was not able to find any mention of him apart from this photo in the excavation report. (Granted, I did not spend an exorbitant amount of time researching it, so I’ll invite knowledgeable readers to correct me.) And I only found a handful of substantive references about Hasan on the Internet, but none pertaining to this important discovery. I’ll share just a couple for your convenience.

In BASOR 144 (Dec. 1956, p. 9) G. Ernest Wright wrote, “Mr. Hasan ‘Awad of the Jordan Department of Antiquities served ably as foreman…” during the first excavation campaign at the site of ancient Shechem (Tell Balatah). The photo above & discovery I’m posing as a riddle is completely unrelated to this occasion.

The longest reference appears in “The Antiquities of Jordan” by G. Lankester Harding published in 1959. (Note: Now there’s a cool coincidence for you, three guys with “G.” for their first initial have now written about Hasan!) In the book’s Introduction, he recalls 2 decades of work in Jordan from 1936-1956:

My equally faithful and indeed indispensable companion on all these trips was Hasan Awad, whom I had first known as a small boy aged about thirteen or fourteen in 1926, and who had grown up in archaeology. He has a remarkable flak for it and a very sharp eye for ancient remains; many a prehistoric site was first discovered by him. He is also one of the finest excavators I know, with a delicacy of touch and a patience that must be seen to be believed, and great ingenuity in overcoming difficulties of all kinds.

So Hasan would’ve celebrated his 100th birthday this year or next (assuming he isn’t still alive, & if you know he is, please tell him somebody still cares about his work). Happy birthday Hasan, wherever you are, & thanks for your excellent work over the years!

I’ll give readers a week to post guesses about what Hasan found, & will elaborate on the artifact’s details (which is well known to most people anyway) in my next post. Here’s another clue: This discovery was not considered worthy of inclusion in the Biblical Archaeology Society’s 2011 publication, “Ten Top Biblical Archaeology Discoveries”, which were:

  • The Nag Hammadi Library
  • The ‘Ain Dara Temple
  • The Tel Dan (“David”) Stela
  • Mona Lisa of the Galilee
  • “Yahweh and His Asherah”: The Kuntillet ‘Ajrud Ostraca
  • St. Peter’s House
  • The Siloam Pool
  • Ashkelon’s Arched Gate
  • Jersualem’s Stepped-Stone Structure
  • Jerusalem’s Babylonian Siege Tower

I would argue that to even be considered for a list of the most important such discoveries, the artifact would need to be something mentioned in the Bible, or something contemporary with & directly related to something mentioned in the Bible, or be an early text of the Bible. I understand why BAS chose their 10 things, but several of them don’t meet my criteria. Hasan’s discovery does.

Taking a break from Heritage Singers this week to play three other G-men, providing you with a dead-giveaway clue to the riddle in the chorus.

G.M. Grena

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