Organisationen Emek Shaveh publicerade i början av veckan en rapport om arkeologi och politik i Silwan –Archaeology in the Shadow of the Conflict. Om de israeliska arkeologerna i Emek Shaveh har jag skrivit bl a i Fredstidningen Pax.
Rapporten – eller broschyren, vet inte riktigt vad man ska kalla den – är extremt läsvärd och intressant (och det säger jag inte bara för att jag jobbar frivilligt för dem som fundraiser). Vi har fått en del skäll från de mer radikala israeliska vänstergrupperna för att den inte är ”tillräckligt politisk” utan mest pratar arkeologi och vad arkeologin har att säga om mänskliga kulturer, men det tycker jag snarast är en komplimang. Läs själva – jag är faktiskt väldigt nyfiken på era åsikter, speciellt från dem som är mer välbevandrade i judisk historia generellt och i Jerusalems historia specifikt.
Läs t ex om inskriptionen i Shiloah-tunneln:
”From the day the inscription was discovered, there still remain many unanswered questions. For example, when was it written? Why was it found in the depths of the tunnel and not at the entrance? Why did it not mention the name of the ruler who may have commissioned the tunnel? Based on the script, some researchers have dated the inscription to the Hellenistic period, but the majority of scholars think it dates to the 8th century BCE, to the time of the Kings of Judea. The Bible mentions King Hezekiah as the one who dug the tunnel (Kings II, 20, 20), so, although the inscription does not mention a year or a king, it is assumed by many that the inscription was commissioned by Hezekiah or under his instructions.
If we put the Biblical story aside for a moment, however, we are privy to a unique story about a group of engineers and workers who documented their success away from the eyes of the ruler. One would assume that an inscription ordered by a ruler or king to glorify his name would have been placed at the entrance to his enterprise. The fact that the inscription is located inside the tunnel, and the absence of names, strengthens the assumption that this was an effort undertaken by a collective. The location of the inscription suggests that the workers purposefully decided not to place it at the entrance to the royal enterprise.
Studying this inscription independently of the biblical story affords a rare opportunity to learn about the ordinary people living in Jerusalem during the time of the Kingdom of Judea, a perspective that is absent from the biblical portrayal of the city, because the latter was written by a representative of the political and religious elite.
That the inscription was prepared by workers, or commissioned by them, attests to the widespread knowledge of script at the time. The Canaanite writing which gave rise to Hebrew writing was a lot easier to execute than Egyptian hieroglyphs or Mesopotamian cuneiform script. The first people who used the Alef, Bet (Hebrew letters) were Canaanite miners working for the Egyptians in the turquoise mines of the Sinai, hundreds of years before the Shiloah inscription. It is possible that this script was kept alive amongst the working class, and that the person who carved the inscription was either a worker or a professional scribe who carved the inscription on behalf of those who dug the tunnel. A responsible and faithful presentation of the facts surrounding the find can give rise to discussions of universal relevance, such as: the relationship between technology and political power, between subjects and rulers, between work and ownership. In such way, the past of Jerusalem becomes a valuable asset to our global cultural heritage.”