The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

January 25, 2005

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 18:59:12 +0100 (CET)
Subject: CPProt Digest, Vol 4, Issue 19

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Today's Topics:

    1. Archeologist unearths biblical controversy
    2. Azerbaijan to return swords to Iranian museum
    3. Beijing donne la priorit? ? la protection des reliques


Message: 1
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 18:37:00 +0100
From: "MusSecNetworkCulPropProtNet"
Subject: [] Archeologist unearths biblical controversy
To: <>
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/plain;	charset="us-ascii"

Archeologist unearths biblical controversy
Artifacts from Iron Age fortress confirm Old Testament dates of Edomite


UPDATED AT 12:34 PM EST 	Tuesday, Jan 25, 2005

Canadian archeologist Russell Adams's interest is in Bronze Age and Iron Age
copper production. He never intended to walk into archeology's vicious
debate over the historical accuracy of the Old Testament -- a conflict
likened by one historian to a pack of feral canines at each other's throats.

Yet by coincidence, Prof. Adams of Hamilton's McMaster University says, he
and an international team of colleagues fit into place a significant piece
of the puzzle of human history in the Middle East -- unearthing information
that points to the existence of the Bible's vilified Kingdom of Edom at
precisely the time the Bible says it existed, and contradicting widespread
academic belief that it did not come into being until 200 years later.

Their findings mean that those scholars convinced that the Hebrew Old
Testament is at best a compendium of revisionist, fragmented history, mixed
with folklore and theology, and at worst a piece of outright propaganda,
likely will have to apply the brakes to their thinking.

Because, if the little bit of the Old Testament's narrative that Prof. Adams
and his colleagues have looked at is true, other bits could be true as well.

References to the Kingdom of Edom -- almost none of them complimentary --
are woven through the Old Testament. It existed in what is today southern
Jordan, next door to Israel, and the relationship between the biblical
Edomites and Israelites was one of unrelenting hostility and warfare.

The team led by Prof. Adams, Thomas Levy of the University of California at
San Diego and Mohammad Najjar of the Jordanian Department of Antiquities was
investigating copper mining and smelting at a site called Khirbat en-Nahas,
by far the largest copper-production site in the region.

They applied high-precision radiocarbon-dating methods to some of their
finds, and as they say in the British journal Antiquities, "The results were

They firmly established that occupation of the site began in the 11th
century BC and a monumental fortress was built in the 10th century BC,
supporting the argument for existence of an Edomite state at least 200 years
earlier than had been assumed.

What is particularly exciting about their find is that it implies the
existence of an Edomite state at the time the Bible says King David and his
son Solomon ruled over a powerful united kingdom of Israel and Judah.

It is the historical accuracy -- the very existence of this united kingdom
and the might and splendour of David and Solomon, as well as the existence
of surrounding kingdoms -- that lies at the heart of the archeological

Those scholars known as minimalists argue that what is known as "state
formation" -- the emergence of regional governments and kings -- did not
take place in the area until the imperialistic expansion of the Assyrian
empire in the 8th century BC, so David and Solomon, rather than being mighty
monarchs, were mere petty chieftains.

And because everything that takes place in the Middle East inevitably is
political, the minimalist argument is seen as weakening modern Israel's
claim to Palestine.

In the biblical narrative, the Edomites are the descendents of Esau, whose
blessing from his father, Isaac, was stolen by his younger brother, Jacob,
ancestor of the Israelites. (Fans of the British satirical-comedy group
Beyond the Fringe will recall how Jacob pulled off the theft by presenting
himself as the hirsute Esau to their blind father, saying in an aside: "My
brother Esau is an hairy man, but I am a smooth man.")

The Edomites are lambasted in the Bible for refusing to let the Israelites
rest on their land as they flee Egypt. God declares obscurely: "Over Edom
will I cast out my shoe." The Israelites grumble enviously that there were
kings of Edom before there were kings of Israel -- a highly significant
passage because it implies that state formation occurred in Edom before it
happened in Israel.

Finally, there is the biblical account of David's war against the Edomites,
in which David and his general, Joab, kill 18,000 Edomites and establish
military control over them by "putting garrisons throughout all Edom."

Irish scholar John Bartlett, one of the world's great experts on the
Edomites, dates the battle at 990 to 980 BC, precisely when Prof. Adams and
his colleagues date the fortress.

Says Prof. Adams: "This battle between the Israelites and the Edomites,
although not possible to document, is typical of the sort of border
conflicts between Iron Age states. And the evidence of our new dates at
least proves that it may, in fact, be possible to place the Edomites in the
10th century [BC] or earlier, which now supports the chronology of the
biblical accounts.

"It is intriguing that at Khirbat en-Nahas, our large Iron Age fort is dated
to just this period, suggesting conflict as a central concern even at a
remote copper-production site."

He concludes: "We're not out to prove the Bible right or wrong. We're not
trying to be controversial. We're just trying to be good anthropologists and
scientists, and tell the story of our archeological site."


Message: 2
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 18:37:00 +0100
From: "MusSecNetworkCulPropProtNet"
Subject: [] Azerbaijan to return swords to Iranian museum
To: <>
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/plain;	charset="us-ascii"

Azerbaijan to return swords to Iranian museum

TEHRAN, Jan. 25 (MNA) -- A high-ranking delegation from the Azerbaijan
Republic will be returning two swords stolen from Iran's National Museum
tomorrow in Tehran, museum curator Mohammad Abdolalipur announced on

The swords, which are from the collection of Tajolmoluk, Mohammadreza
Pahlavi's mother, were stolen in 1997 and were discovered by Interpol in the
Azerbaijan Republic.
"Legal procedures were implemented in the case and the ownership of the
swords was determined by several documents delivered to Azeri officials,"
Abdolalipur added.
One of the swords dates back to the Qajar era (1794-1925) and another
belonged to South American revolutionary Simon Bolivar (1783-1830).
Azerbaijan is returning the swords in line with the 1970 UNESCO Convention.

The UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit
Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970) has
been accepted worldwide. It seeks to protect cultural property against
theft, illicit export, and wrongful alienation.
Iran and Azerbaijan also intend to sign an additional memorandum of
understanding to prevent the smuggling of cultural items from one country to
the other.
Iran has signed a similar MOU with Turkey, and Turkish officials plan to
return Iranian Seljuk era artifacts smuggled into Turkey in the near future.
"We aim to prevent the transfer of historical and cultural items to European
markets through signing such agreements," said Taha Hashemi, the deputy
director of Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization.
"Regional cooperation can facilitate the exchange of stolen artifacts," he
Last December, customs officials at London's Heathrow Airport handed over 30
ancient artifacts to the Iranian Embassy in London. The artifacts were being
smuggled into Britain but were confiscated by customs agents.


Message: 3
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 18:42:01 +0100
From: "MusSecNetworkCulPropProtNet"
Subject: [] Beijing donne la priorit? ? la protection des
To: <>
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/plain;	charset="iso-8859-1"

  Beijing donne la priorit� � la protection des reliques

Les gardiens du patrimoine de Beijing (P�kin) donneront la priorit� � la
protection des reliques culturelles dans leur programme de travail cette
ann�e, a d�clar� vendredi 21 janvier le maire-adjoint de la ville Zhang Mao.

Une enqu�te r�cente men�e par l'administration municipale de Beijing (P�kin)
du patrimoine culturel montre que pratiquement 600 anciens b�timents en
bois, utilis�s en tant que logement ou lieu de travail du gouvernement
municipal, encourent un certain risque d'incendie.

Parall�lement, plus de 100 reliques culturelles �parpill�es dans les
banlieues autour de la ville, telles que les anciennes tombes et temples,
sont vuln�rables aux vols puisqu'il n'y a pas de gardes pr�sents sur les
sites en question.

� La s�curit� est un aspect vital de la protection de notre patrimoine. Le
feu et les vols sont les d�fis les plus importants auxquels nous avons �
faire face, � a d�clar� Zhang lors d'une conf�rence � Beijing (P�kin).

Zhang qui est responsable de la protection du patrimoine de la ville, se
rappelle un incendie en juin l'ann�e derni�re qui a br�l� quelques b�timents
du temple Huguo datant d'il y a 720 ans, situ� dans le district Xicheng de
la ville.

� Le feu a sonn� l'alarme pour la s�curit� du patrimoine culturel, � a
avertit Zhang.

Il a soulign� que � �liminer les risques d'incendie et de vol des anciens
sites devrait �tre la principale priorit� pour les dirigeants et officiels
impliqu�s dans ce projet. �

D'apr�s l'administration du patrimoine municipal, plus de la moiti� des 3
500 sites de patrimoine culturel sont actuellement utilis�s en tant que
logement ou lieu de travail.

La cuisine, le chauffage et les installations �lectriques constituent un
grand danger pour les structures en bois.

Mei Ninghua, chef de l'administration, a d�clar� lors de la conf�rence que
le gouvernement local du district de Chongwen a fait d�m�nager les gens
vivant dans les sites de patrimoine culturel plac� sous la protection de la
ville et de l'Etat.

� L'�vacuation est une m�thode importante pour la garantie de la s�curit� de
notre patrimoine culturel, � a d�clar� Mei, ajoutant que l'administration
pr�voie de relocaliser les gens vivant dans plusieurs sites de patrimoine
clefs tels que les immeubles situ�s � la partie est du temple Wanshou, qui
fut construit en 1577 et servit de logement temporaire aux empereurs de la
dynastie des Qing (1644-1911).

Au cours de son rapport lors de la r�union de vendredi, Mei a �galement
mentionn� qu'un total de 32 sites de patrimoine culturel, comprenant le
pavillon de l'encensoir bouddhiste au palais d'�t� et certaine parties de la
grande muraille, seraient r�nov�es cette ann�e.

Le gouvernement municipal s'est engag� � investir 120 millions de yuans
(14,5 millions USD) dans la r�novation du patrimoine chaque ann�e entre 2003
et 2007. Environ 100 reliques culturelles sont �galement cens�es �tre
r�nov�es pendant cette p�riode.

Faisant la revue du travail de l'ann�e derni�re, Mei a d�clar� que
l'�v�nement le plus important �tait le d�veloppement � explosif � du march�
aux ench�res des reliques.

Un total de 72 834 anciennes pi�ces d'art, ont �t� vendues aux ench�res
l'ann�e derni�re, rapportant pr�s de 4 milliards de yuans (484 millions
USD), une augmentation annuelle de 240% a-t-il d�clar�.

� Une simple ench�re l'ann�e derni�re avait permis de remporter 650 millions
de yuans (78,6 millions USD). Ce chiffre est plus important que le montant
total accumul� lors de toutes les ench�res des derni�res ann�es auparavant,
� a d�clar� Mei.

peopledaily     2005/01/25


Cultural Property Protection Net
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End of CPProt Digest, Vol 4, Issue 19

This might be of interest here as well, possibly not. Apologies for out of 
context - Alan

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 16:51:06 -0500 (EST)
From: Alan Sondheim <>
Subject: poetics list

I want to thank everyone - here - for their toleration in 
general. I just got off the Poetics list, after 10 years; 
I found what I read as continuous anti-semitism, was 
tearing me in two. "Jews" came up as a topic at least once 
every 10 days, and the results were predictable and 

There's no hope, none at all, if we can't talk among each 
other, extend our lives with grace, and learn to listen. 
None of this was happening on Poetics, which was 
increasingly shrill on one hand, and a series of 
announcements on the other...

I've been trying to deal with things the past few weeks, 
talking to people on the phone, etc. I haven't been 
myself, for which apologies.

- Alan

WVU 2004 projects:
Trace projects

winter not much going on


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