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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Jerusalem, Jerusalem District, Israel — The Middle East
 

Ketef Hinnom

 
 
Ketef Hinnom Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, March 13, 2013
1. Ketef Hinnom Marker
Inscription. The Burial Caves date from the First Temple Period. Throughout many generations, they served affluent Jerusalem families as a location to bury their dead. The deceased was placed on a stone slab with a special indentation for the head. At the end of the twelve-month mourning period, the skeletal remains were transferred to a repository located beneath the stone slabs. This evokes the image of the Biblical phrase "he was gathered unto his forefathers."

The most important and most ancient of Biblical finds was discovered at this site - the Priestly Blessing (the text of which is found in Numbers 6:24-26). Altogether, this location contained some 1,000 artifacts, including bones, silver coins, jewelry, glassware, ceramics, oil lamps and more. The archeological dig was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Gabi Barkay.

The nearby caves were found to contain graves of soldiers from the 10th Roman Legion who laid siege to Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple Period, in addition to a quarry, a Byzantine church with a mosaic floor, and leftover items from the Turkish Army who used the caves as storerooms during World War I.
 
Location. 31° 46.141′ N, 35° 13.537′ E. Marker is in Jerusalem, Jerusalem District. Marker can be reached from
Ketef Hinnom Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, March 13, 2013
2. Ketef Hinnom Marker
View of the historical marker in the left foreground and of some of the rock cut burial tombs, referred to in the text of the historical marker, seen in the right background.
S.U. Nahon Street just east of David HaMelech, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Both this historical marker, and the rock cut burial tombs that are featured on this historical marker, are located on a narrow strip of fenced off land that is located between the Menahem Begin Center to the east and the St. Andrews Church of Scotland to the west. In order to actually get to this historical marker legally you must go through the Menahem Begin Center. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6 S.U. Nahon Street, Jerusalem, Jerusalem District 94110, Israel.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Jaffa Gate (approx. 0.9 kilometers away); The Pool of Shiloah (Siloam) (approx. 0.9 kilometers away); The Water System (approx. 1.1 kilometers away); The Large Stone Structure (approx. 1.1 kilometers away); The House of Ahiel (approx. 1.1 kilometers away); The Burnt Room and the House of the Bullae (approx. 1.1 kilometers away); The Royal Quarter (Area G) (approx. 1.1 kilometers away); Beit Hatzofeh Lookout (approx. 1.1 kilometers away). Click for a list of all markers in Jerusalem.
 
More about this marker. With regards to what this marker refers to as, "The most important and most ancient of Biblical finds was discovered at this site - the Priestly Blessing." I have the good fortune of knowing the archaeologist who made this
Ketef Hinnom Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, March 13, 2013
3. Ketef Hinnom Marker
A distant view of the historical marker, attached to the chain link fence at the end of the walkway, with the Menachem Begin Heritage Center on the left side of the picture, the base of St. Andrews Church of Scotland on the right side of the picture, and the featured, First Temple Period, rock cut tombs, in the space in between.
discovery, back in 1979, Dr. Judith Hadley of Villanova University. As I was preparing to come to Israel, I contacted Dr. Hadley and asked her a number of questions about some of the sites that were to be found in Israel, but in particular I wanted her insights on how to reach the site at Ketef Hinnom, where she had made her important discovery as part of Dr. Gabi Barkay's excavation team. Her insights on how to get to this historical marker, and on what I would find at this marker's location, were indispensable to the success of my locating and photographing both this historical marker and the rock cut tombs that the marker's text refers to. Here is what she has to say:

"Now, as to the site of the tombs themselves, you are right that they are right there at St. Andrew's Church of Scotland. The church was built on the limestone escarpment where the tombs are located, so the tombs are all there right below the (outside of the) church - as we were digging we would have been able to walk over to where the apse of the church was built and touch its foundations. As of 2 years ago, the last time I was there, it was still possible to see the tombs there along the escarpment. But it is now a lot trickier. The Israelis have built the "Menahem Begin Center" right on top of the ridge there below the church, and that now totally blocks access to the tombs. This is both good and
Ketef Hinnom Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, March 13, 2013
4. Ketef Hinnom Marker
A more distant view of the historical marker, attached to the chain link fence at the end of the walkway, with the Menachem Begin Heritage Center on the left side of the picture, the base of St. Andrews Church of Scotland (I used the tower of the church, with the Scottish flag as a landmark) on the right side of the picture, and the featured, First Temple Period, rock cut tombs, in the space in between.
bad. It is good in that the tombs are a bit more protected, but bad in that you can not get to the tombs without going through the building. Admission is free, but the building is only open during certain hours, and probably closed on Shabbat. So what you do is you go into the building (the entrance is on the side), past a guard at the door and some displays, gravitate left and go out onto the terrace, which itself has some nice views of the Hinnom Valley. Turn right and go along the building until you get to the back corner, where there is a flight of stairs going up. Go up the stairs, and at the top of the stairs is the limestone escarpment where the tombs are. There is a little walkway along the back of the building so you can see all the tombs in the escarpment, but you can also step off the walkway onto the excavations themselves. The tomb where I found the amulet is the one with six headrests carved out of the bench on the right hand side. The stairs bring you up just a little to the left of the tomb, if my memory serves correctly. Anyway, underneath the right hand bench with all the headrests is a chamber hollowed out of the rock. It was in this chamber that I found the amulet."

 
Regarding Ketef Hinnom. It should be noted that the artifacts recovered at this site, in particular the silver scroll amulets with the priestly blessing,
Ketef Hinnom Rock Cut Tomb image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, March 13, 2013
5. Ketef Hinnom Rock Cut Tomb
An overhead view of the featured, First Temple Period, rock cut burial tomb, where the grave goods where discovered. According to the text of the historical marker, "The most important and most ancient of Biblical finds was discovered at this site - the Priestly Blessing."
were considered as being so significant that they were put on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. These scrolls are so significant because they are, in essence, "...the sole scientific proof of the use of verses from the first five books of the Torah during the First Temple Period." (Menachem Begin Heritage Center website).

So because of this, when I visited the Israel Museum, I made a point of finding the display that showcased the silver scroll amulets, and put my youngest daughter beside the display, and took a picture.

In addition to having a display for the silver scroll amulets, right beside this display, the Israel Museum has a second display that is a reproduction of the First Temple Period, rock cut tomb, where the silver scroll amulets were found.
 
Also see . . .
1. Top Ten Biblical Discoveries in Archaeology – #4 Ketef Hinnom Silver Amulet Scroll. This is a link to information provided by Credo House Ministries. (Submitted on March 24, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 

2. The Blessing of the Silver Scrolls. This is a link to information provided by the Associates for Biblical Research (Submitted on March 24, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 

3. The Lookout and The Reich Archaeological Garden. This is a link to information provided by the Menachem Begin Heritage Center (Submitted on March 24, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 

4. Menachem Begin Heritage Center. This
Ketef Hinnom Rock Cut Tomb image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, March 13, 2013
6. Ketef Hinnom Rock Cut Tomb
Another view of the featured, First Temple Period, rock cut tomb, showing that underneath the bench with all the headrests is a chamber hollowed out of the rock. It was in this chamber that the silver amulet, with the priestly blessing, was found.
is a link to information provided by Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (Submitted on March 24, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 

5. The Ketef Hinnom Archaeological Site in Jerusalem. This is a link to a link to a You Tube posting provided by AllAboutJerusalem. (Submitted on March 25, 2013, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesMan-Made Features
 
Ketef Hinnom Silver Scroll Amulets Display image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, March 14, 2013
7. Ketef Hinnom Silver Scroll Amulets Display
View of the silver scroll amulet display, at the Israel Museum, with my youngest daughter standing beside the display.
Ketef Hinnom Silver Scroll Amulets Display image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, March 14, 2013
8. Ketef Hinnom Silver Scroll Amulets Display
A close-up view of the silver scroll amulet display, at the Israel Museum, with my youngest daughter standing beside the display.
Ketef Hinnom Rock Cut Tomb Display image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, March 14, 2013
9. Ketef Hinnom Rock Cut Tomb Display
View of the reproduction, Ketef Hinnom, First Temple Period, rock cut tomb display, at the Israel Museum, with my youngest daughter standing beside the display.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. This page has been viewed 736 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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