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Discovery of 4000-Year Old Tomb Beneath 50-ton Slab Raises Questions about Levant History

Around 4,000 years ago, a man, a woman and a child were laid to rest in a barrow beneath a massive 50-ton slab of basalt on a hillside in the Hula Valley. Offerings in ceramic pots were laid by their sides, and above their heads mysterious symbols were etched into the stone.

This enigmatic discovery, detailed in an academic article published in PLOS ONE on Thursday, upends our understanding of a little-understood dark age in the Levant following the collapse of Early Bronze Age cities.

Their grave of boulders stacked to form a crude table, known by archaeologists as a dolmen, was one of a vast field of tombs recently excavated by archaeologists in what is now northern Israel. The multi-chambered barrow the three skeletons were found in, however, stood out from the rest.

The excavation of the dolmens, near Kibbutz Shamir in the Hula Valley (a stone’s throw from a Roman manor described in a recent Times of Israel article), commenced after Gonen Sharon, a professor at Tel Hai College and lead author of the study, discovered the rock drawings in 2012. The field was first surveyed in the 1950s.


  • GrumpyGuyGrumpyGuy Member
    edited March 2017
    I always enjoy reading about the discovery of things that supposedly shouldn't exist.  How a 50-ton slab of rock was placed over a tomb in a supposed "dark age" period of the bronze age is a perplexing question.

    Even more curious is the identity of the people buried there.  Who could have warranted such a burial during a time when civilization was apparently in a decline in the area?

    Some scholars date 4000 years ago to around the time of Hammurabi.  Some religious scholars suggest Abraham might have lived around that same time. 

    Who can say if the buried people weren't some important historical royal figures?  That would be interesting to learn.  Perhaps there was some city-state or small empire that existed in the past, yet has escaped our notice?

    What if those buried people and the place they were from are somehow connected to the religion of Abraham?  Numerous individuals, families and communities are mentioned throughout the Bible and Quran, yet do we know exactly where any of those people were laid to rest?  The fact that we have no tangible "proof" any of those people existed is one of the more powerful weapons in the atheist arsenal, or so they believe.

    Hiding something under a 50-ton slab of basalt is a good way to ensure that it isn't discovered again until a much later time when people would have the capacity to excavate it.  Perhaps its discovery is in some way tied to the troubles facing the world today?  Speculation on my part only, of course. 

    Perhaps the academic article has more answers?  I'll try to read it when I can, and here's the link in case anyone else wants to:

  • Matt_ADMIN_Matt_ADMIN_ Administrator
    Very interesting indeed. When we get down to it, "history" is basically an agreed upon set of narratives, mostly because there is actually very little tangible material to base history upon. And then something crazy like this shows up and we have to rewrite the narratives again. I suppose that's what makes history of endless interest.
    "...Say, 'GOD is sufficient for me.' In Him the trusters shall trust." (Quran 39:38)
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