Far-reaching Clarifications

When I awoke this morning, it dawned on me that this sentence I wrote in last night’s blog post is wrong/misleading:

I find it amazing that [the northern (Israelite) LMLKs] have not even been noted in this TA series of articles.

Actually they were noted by Lipschits et al.; however, what I sub-consciously meant was that they were not taken into consideration for the primary subject, which is the chronology of the LMLK stamp impressions as a tool for studying the history of late monarchic Judah. To be thorough, here are the exact quotations:

Tel Aviv 37 #1 p. 15: “Stamp impressions of [type M2D] were also found at … Tel Jezreel and Khirbet Sharta (Qiryat Ata / Kefar Ata), all of them located outside the boundaries of the Kingdom of Judah. (See the data gathered by Garena [sic] (http://www.lmlk.com/research/lmlk_m2d.htm), with further literature.)

Tel Aviv 38 #1 p. 10 (Table 1) & redundantly on p. 30 (Table 2) with respective footnotes 39 & 40 on p. 35: “Outside Judahite Territory: En Tut (http://www.hadashot-esi.org.il/report_detail.asp?id=1412&mag_id=117), Mt. Meiron (For this impression see Meyers and Meyers (1990: 126, Pl. D: 1). The drawing of the stamp impression is blurred and not detailed, making it impossible to identify its exact type or even to know if it is indeed an lmlk stamp impression.)

To his credit, David Ussishkin hinted at the issue in his rejoinder:

Tel Aviv 38 #2 p. 222: “How is it that similar systems were not introduced in northern Israel or the kingdoms of Syria that fell under the Assyrian orbit about the same time as Judah?

Turning to my BibleInterp response, here’s what the TAU scholars need to take into consideration, especially when discussing methodology as Dr. Finkelstein recently did:

If anything, the jars argue against an outsider/Assyrian connection, unless you believe there were numerous Assyrians stationed at, or frequently visiting, small farming sites as well as large towns during Hezekiah’s reign. If so, where is the evidence, and more importantly, why are there so few in the northern territory, which was thoroughly conquered by Assyria? Did the Assyrians not care about the economy in those regions they conquered? … 2Kings/Isaiah and 2Chronicles present Hezekiah as both a religious and political rebel, a bold leader who attempted to unify the northern kingdom of Israel with his southern kingdom of Judah, rebelling against Assyria (albeit with a brief burst of infidelity when he made a tribute payment to Sennacherib at Lachish). This interpretation of history stands in complete contrast to that presented by Lipschits et al., where Hezekiah inherits the Assyrian vassal kingdom from his father, Ahaz, and remains mostly subservient, like a bird in a cage.

Also, I should have linked to Dr. van der Veen’s Academia site, wherein he provides this abstract to a paper published in Journal of the Ancient Chronology Forum vol. 10 (2005):

In this paper a summary is given of seal evidence presented in my thesis, but also deals with other evidence that appears to suggest that a moderate lowering of Iron Age dates is in order: e.g. lammelek jar handles (especially those with the 2-winged symbol) continued to be produced after 701 BC (i.e. after the destruction of Lachish in 701 B.C. by Sennacherib). This is especially clear from sites that continued to flourish after Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah (e.g. Jerusalem, one period sites such as Horvat Shilha, as well as sites that were probably not founded before 650 BC such as Tel Goren (Str. V). This case has been argued previously by E. Stern (2001) and G. Grena (2004 and in subsequent articles), and only recently by Oded Lipschits et al (2010, 2011).

Here is his published quotation from p. 51 (w/ bibliographical footnote #22 from p. 56):

Contrary to G. Barkay and A. Vaughn’s suggestion that all royal stamps originated before the end of ‘Lachish III’ (conventionally late 8th century), evidence now increases that the two-winged type continues into the late 7th century BC (e.g., at Tel Goren V, Khirbet es Samra, H. Shilha; esp. P.G. van der Veen, “The Final Phase of Iron Age IIC and the Babylonian Conquest [PhD thesis, Bristol 2005, scheduled for publication through Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, USA], pp. 128ff.; G. Grena, “LMLK–A Mystery Belonging to the King [Redondo Beach 2004], pp. 333ff.).

On a related note, in case anyone claims that the TAU writers were not obligated to cite van der Veen’s unpublished thesis, they’re correct; however, notice these other “forthcoming” publication citations used by the TAU writers:

TA 37 #1, p. 9: “Of these, 132 were incised on the same handle and next to
the lmlk stamp impressions (Lipschits, Sergi and Koch forthcoming).

TA 37 #1, p. 11, f/n 15: “Five were found at Ramat Raḥel (Aharoni 1962: 19, Fig. 15: 8; 1964: 34, Pl. 39: 4–5; Sergi forthcoming a, forthcoming b).

TA 37 #1, p. 14, f/n 17: “At Ramat Raḥel 35 were discovered (Aharoni 1962: 19–20, 47, Fig. 15: 5; 1964: 34, 62–63, Pls. 38: 10–12, 39: 1–2; Sergi forthcoming a, forthcoming b).

TA 37 #1, p. 14, f/n 19: “Eighteen were found at Ramat Raḥel (Aharoni 1962: 47, Fig. 15: 6, Pl. 7: 5; 1964: 62– 63, Pl. 38: 7– 9; Sergi forthcoming a, forthcoming b).

TA 37 #1, p. 15, f/n 22: “At Ramat Raḥel 20 stamp impressions of this type were retrieved (Aharoni 1962: 47; 1964: 62–63, Pl. 39: 8–11; Sergi forthcoming a, forthcoming b).

TA 37 #1, p. 16, f/n 28: “See Sergi forthcoming a, forthcoming b; Pritchard 1959: 25, Nos. 75, 412, 414, 453; Sinclair 1960: 32, Pl. 166: 3; Avigad and Barkay 2000: Nos. 24–26 pp. 252, 261; Shoham 2000: 76, Nos. 29–30, Pl. 2: 29–30.

TA 37 #1, p. 19: “Only 40 stamp impressions are dated to the 8th century (28% of the total recognizable finds) as against 102 dated to the 7th century (72%) (Sergi forthcoming a, forthcoming b).

TA 37 #1, p. 27, Table 4, index #43: “1, Ramat Rahel, Lipschits forthcoming.

TA 38 #1, p. 5: “Furthermore, the same administrative system continued after the 586 BCE destruction for an additional 450 years, during the Babylonian period (the mwsh and lion stamped handles; see Lipschits 2010), during the Persian and the Early Hellenistic periods (the yhwd stamped handles; see Vanderhooft and Lipschits 2007; Lipschits and Vanderhooft forthcoming) and until the Late Hellenistic period (the late yhwd and the yrslm stamped handles; see Ariel and Shoham 2000: 159–163, with further literature; Vanderhooft and Lipschits 2007).

TA 38 #1, p. 6: “We assume that in addition to Jerusalem, the few sites that yielded large quantities of stamped handles (mainly Lachish and Ramat Raḥel) served as major collection centres, while sites that yielded up to a few dozen stamped handles served as secondary administrative centres (Lipschits and Vanderhooft forthcoming).

Also unpublished personal communication:

TA 38 #1, p. 14: “The settlement pattern in the Beersheba–Arad Valleys included four fortified towns: Tel >Ira VII (Beit Arieh 1999: 170–173), >Aroer III (Thareani 2010: 55–271), Tel Malúata IV (Kochavi 1993: 935–936; I. Beit-Arieh, personal communication) and probably biblical Beersheba (Bir es-Seba) (Panitz-Cohen 2005).

TA 38 #1, p. 19, f/n 10: “The excavators of the site accepted this suggestion as well (L. Freud, personal communication).

TA 38 #1, p. 20: “The region did not thrive during this period, but there are some clues for the existence of a town at Tel Malúata (I. Beit-Arieh, personal communication) and the caravanserai at >Aroer (Thareani-Sussely 2007b; Thareani 2010).

Oh, & I also forgot to reiterate that my 2004 book & van der Veen’s 2005 thesis had already been cited by another scholar (Peter James) in another prestigious academic journal, Palestine Exploration Quarterly vol. 139 #3, p. 215:

Yet, as Mazar and others have frequently pointed out, lmlk jars are found at many sites (such as Tel Batash) in strata deemed to be 7th century (see e.g. Mazar, Amit and Ilan 1996, 208-209; Grena 2004, 333-338; van der Veen forthcoming, Excursus 1), including a number of one-period settlements.

If my 2004 book & Dr. van der Veen’s 2005 thesis were not known at Tel Aviv University until this year, they definitely are now, & for that I’m grateful. The secret’s out…

G.M. Grena

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7 Responses to “Far-reaching Clarifications”

  1. pithom Says:

    Actually they were noted by Lipschits et al.; however, what I sub-consciously meant was that they were not taken into consideration for the primary subject, which is the chronology of the LMLK stamp impressions as a tool for studying the history of late monarchic Judah.

    Finds at sites in the North are often far harder to date than finds at sites in Judah due to a lack of destruction layers, detailed historical accounts, and/or significant social or economic changes in the North between c. 708 BC and the 6th (or even 5th or 3rd) C(s) BC. Imported pottery is the best means I know of to assign specific date ranges to remains of human occupation at northern sites. I cannot see any way to make the northern lmlk impressions be a part of the debate on the chronology of the lmlk stamps.

    • G.M. Grena Says:

      Are you aware that the east-of-Jerusalem sites at the center of this TAU debate lack Assyrian destruction layers & detailed historical accounts? … Oh, that’s right; I almost forgot that I’m talking to Mr. “I do not see how that is Special Pleading.” Never mind.

      • pithom Says:

        But the E. of Jerusalem sites you mention are certainly the result of “significant social or economic changes”. I now see what you mean-from Finkelstein’s “Comments on the Date of Late-Monarchic Judahite Seal Impressions”-“All this culminates in the case of Horvat Shilhah, where a Type IIb lmlk impression was found with a Lachish II pottery assemblage.”-a scenario such as this may be possible in the North (if a lmlk impression is found in a context with datable foreign pottery).

    • G.M. Grena Says:

      1) How do you know the Israelite sites were not the result of the same or similar “significant social or economic changes“?

      2) Why do the northern LMLKs need to be be found w/ foreign pottery for you but not the ones at the east-of-Jerusalem sites?

      • pithom Says:

        1) The provinces of Samaria and Megiddo under Assyrian rule were fairly stable-the most significant social changes which occurred there that I know of were the settlement of various ethnic groups (e.g., Babylonians, Elamites) throughout the Assyrian period. Also, the northern sites were not ruled by either Hezekiah, Ahaz, or Manasseh.

        2) The northern lmlks do not need to be found w/foreign pottery (though if they are, all for the better). A cuneiform tablet such as those found at Gezer or some other datable artifact will do just as well. The east-of Jerusalem sites have the Lachish II assemblage, roughly datable to the mid-7th to mid-6th Cs BC.

    • G.M. Grena Says:

      1) Are you serious? You’re completely ignoring the change from Israelite rule to Assyrian rule, & you’re completely ignoring the Biblical record of King Hezekiah’s interaction with the north, both issues being directly relevant to the presence of northern LMLKs.

      In any event, the TAU scholars were obligated to at least comment on the presence of LMLKs at Israelite sites, even if to dismiss them as irrelevant. In short, they were academically negligent.

      • pithom Says:

        I agree with your last two sentences. I ignored the transition between Israelite and Assyrian rule as all the northern handles that have been published (to my knowledge) are two-winged (http://lmlk.blogspot.com/2006/04/like-bird-in-cage-more-or-less.html), and, thus, very likely date to after the establishment of Assyrian rule in the North (although the four-winged Beitin impression may possibly be relevant here). The tradition regarding Hezekiah’s interaction with the North may or may not be relevant to the matter of the northern lmlk impressions-the tradition may be a Post-Exilic one.

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