The Tel Dan Inscription

Well, this morning I finally made it to the object of my journey today: the Tel Dan Inscription. It was quite a bit different than I had expected, but it was a great experience. Some of the details:

My appointment with the curator was at 8am, which meant that I needed to get up earlier than I have been. Plus I needed to shave. After breakfast, I was off to the Israel Museum via taxi. The driver was Israeli, which meant he didn’t ask me if I wanted to go to Bethlehem (I have since found out that Israelis are not allowed in Bethlehem) and that he used the meter at my request. The fare was about the same as it had been when I just paid the 50 Shekels (I saved about 5 Shekels). Because of my tardiness in getting out of the hotel in time and the bad traffic, I was running a little bit late. I called the curator and he told me that his assistant would meet me at the security gate. She was already there waiting and took me to the inscription right away.

It looked a bit different than I had thought it would look. It was almost impossible to read it in the lighting that they had there. So, I asked for a flashlight, and she quickly brought me one. In the meantime I climbed over the security gate, after getting permission to do so. This permission presumably hadn’t been universally approved however, as shortly afterwards, someone came to ask me what the hell I thought I was doing going over the security barrier. Just in time the right people came back and prevented me from getting arrested or something. I didn’t think that it would be a problem at all actually, since the museum is closed on Tuesday morning. No matter, I was there doing my work, checking out the problems that I had researched in the past few days. I was able to verify some of the readings that I had, but also able to disprove some of the readings of others. So that was a big success in my book. The research element became a bit problematic when a whole boatload of school children showed up in the museum to eat breakfast. That meant that I was setting a bad example for them, having climbed over the security barrier. Oh well…hopefully the corruption won’t be permanent.

After finishing up my work on the inscription, I was invited to come back into the storage rooms where the artifacts are being kept while the museum is under construction. I also assume that many of the things there will not be put out on display. I really wanted to take pictures, but this isn’t allowed by the Israeli Antiquities Authority, as not all of the objects there have been published yet. It was pretty cool to look at all of this ancient stuff. They showed me some of the Samaria Ivories and some other great stuff from eighth century Israel. They also hooked he up with some other scholars I should visit while I’m here. That’s why I made my way over to the Hebrew Union college, where I got an appointment to see the material from Tel Dan. It was also pretty cool. They also had a copy of the Tel Dan Inscription, which was incredibly consistent with my reading. On the way back to the hotel, I walked past the YMCA:

The YMCA in Jerusalem

So that was pretty much my day today. Now I’m back at the Hotel trying to get some work done, typing the inscription while I still have the information fresh in my memory. This afternoon, I may make my way down to the sauna here in the hotel, especially since the weather isn’t that good again today. They are saying that it may rain again, like it did yesterday. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get some work done efficiently…

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1 Comment

  1. Michael

     /  16/03/2010

    Great stuff man!


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