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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

The Camel Controversy

thWhen it comes to archaeology, there are plenty of scholars out there who want to make a name for themselves.  It leads to increased publicity, which in turn, means further funding.  And sometimes, the archaeologists actually believe what they are propounding, whether based on fuzzy research or not.

Years later, another team tackles the exact same issue or site… and arrives at a totally different conclusion.

As you may have heard over the past month, the claim du jour is that camels did not exist in domesticated form in the southern Levant until the 10th century BC.  And you might rightly ask, “So what?” 

(This particular question is asked a lot, particularly when it comes to Doctoral Dissertations on very obscure thmatters….)

Well, Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef and Dr. Lidar Sapir-Hen of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Archaeology and Near Eastern Cultures have been shouting the answer to that question from the rooftops.  In essence, they claim that the Bible is a bunch of baloney.  The Bible’s repeated mention of camels being used prior to this time is historically inaccurate.

An ancient copper mining site in the Arava is being excavated by the two from Tel Aviv, and there, they found camel bones dating back only as far as the 10th century (900s) BC.  Which in their minds means that no domesticated camels worked as beasts of burden in Israel prior to this time, despite the Bible mentioning them over 20 times during the prior centuries of the Patriarchs, such as Abraham.

image.axdThis presupposes that folks in antiquity had no trade nor interaction with those of other lands.  Abraham could not have brought his camels from Haran, for instance (modern-day Iraq).  It is argued that domesticated camels were indeed utilized in the Near East prior to the 12th century BC.  Just because nobody stumbled across camel bones of that date in one specific archaeological site does not mean that they don’t exist.

Take, for example the Aramaen rider on a camel carving, dating from the 10th century BC, and displayed in the Walters Art Gallery of Baltimore.  Then there’s the Egyptian petroglyph of a man leading a dromedary camel, dating to approximately the 15th century BC, not to mention other cylinder seals, or a image2.axdcamel figurine with a harness at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and dating between the late 3rd and early 2nd milennium BC.

On and on the examples go, emphatically depicting the domesticated camel much before the 10th century BC.  But none were found in the Tel Aviv professors’ particular dig.

Which proves absolutely nothing.

That would be like saying that since I didn’t find any Native American remains in my backyard, they must have never inhabited North America.

This is scholarship?  Slam the Bible when you have nothing else significant to report and suddenly you’re front-page news.



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