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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Excavation to Start at Carchemish!

Carchemish [Karkamış] was an ancient city of the Mittani, Hittite and Neo-Assyrian Empires.  Occupation dates back to the Neolithic period, with pottery finds from ca. 3000 BC and tombs from ca. 2300 BC.  The site is on the border of modern Turkey & Syria. The tell is currently located on the Turkish side, just west of Ancient Haran, where Abraham first settled after leaving Ur of the Chaldees (Gen.11-12). [Also the site where his father died (Gen.11:32) and the city where Jacob's mother Rebekah & her brother Laban resided (Gen.27:43).]  SW of Carchemish is the ancient city of Alalakh, which our Women's Bible study may remember. [Click on the map for a closer look.]

Carchemish was a large and significant city throughout ancient history,  originally controlling the main ford across the Euphrates.  Mention of the city has been found in ancient Egyptian, Assyrian & Babylonian texts, as well as in several Old Testament passages.
  • Isaiah made a reference to Carchemish (Isaiah 10:9). The city had been sacked by Sargon II of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 717 BC.
  • Pharaoh Necho of Egypt went up to Carchemish to help defend the  Assyrians against the encroachment of the  Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar II, in 609 B.C. (2 Chronicles 35:20; Jeremiah 46:2). King Josiah of Judah (the "boy King" grown up) tried to stop him, but was killed.  The subsequent Battle of Carchemish between the Egyptian/Assyrian coalition & Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian forces is well documented.  Babylon defeated the Egyptians & the Assyrians, absorbing the Neo-Assyrian Empire into the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Nebuchadnezzar then went on to conquer Judah and Jerusalem in 605 BC.
The site of ancient Carchemish was identified by George Smith in 1876 and excavated by British archaeologists Leonard Woolley & T.E. Lawrence.  In recent times it has been a military zone and off limits to archaeologists, but the area was just cleared of 1200 land mines and a new excavation is scheduled to begin this year!

[Read news story here. From: Ferrell Jenkins blog.]

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