In a recent podcast, Prof. David Ben-Shlomo summarizes the recent scientific study (from July 2020) of four pottery vessels taken from the caves below the Tomb of the Patriarchs in a clandestine incursion in 1981. The high-tech study found that the vessels dated to the Iron Age (late ninth and eighth centuries BC) and were typical of Judahite pottery forms. In addition to a petrographic analysis, the study’s authors also conducted a neutron activation analysis (NAA) of the vessels. This demonstrated that the bowl and jug were likely made in the region of Jerusalem, the chalice was likely constructed in Hebron, and the jar came from somewhere in Judea. The study suggests that the Tomb of the Patriarchs, which is the site traditionally identified as the burial location of the Hebrew patriarchs and matriarchs, was visited by pilgrims during the First Temple Period.
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