A human jawbone found in the Misliya Cave on Mount Carmel near Haifa. (photo by Israel Hershkowitz, Tel Aviv University via Ashernet)
A human jawbone and other fossils found in the Misliya Cave on Mount Carmel near Haifa indicate that human migration from Africa occurred during the Ice Age, approximately 200,000 years ago, which is contrary to the popular theory that the freezing conditions and dryness of the Ice Age periods deterred human migration between continents.
These recent findings were published in the Journal of Human Evolution by Dr. Lior Weissbrod of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Prof. Mina Weinstein-Evron of the Zinman Institute of Archeology at the University of Haifa, and they build on work previously published by Weinstein-Evron and Prof. Israel Hershkowitz of Tel Aviv University in Science.
In addition to the jawbone, Weissbrod said, “The fossils now being investigated were identified as belonging to 13 different species of rodents and small insect eaters, some of which now live in high and cold regions, in the Zagros Mountains of northwestern Iran and in the Caucasus Mountains.”
This means that, “in Israel, cold conditions prevailed that allowed such animals to survive. Finding the human jawbone in the same layer where the rodent lived, suggests that these early humans survived under these conditions,” changing existing perceptions on human evolution.
A mosaic revealed during the excavation of the “Burnt Church” in Hippos. (photos by Michael Eisenberg via Ashernet)
A mosaic was revealed during the excavation of the “Burnt Church” in Hippos, which was built in the second half of the fifth or in the early sixth century CE and was probably burnt down during the Sasanian conquest in the beginning of the seventh century. According to the researchers, the descriptions in the mosaic, along with the location of the church, overlooking the Sea of Galilee, raise the connection to the “Feeding the Multitude,” the miracle performed by Jesus in the area, according to the New Testament. “There can certainly be different explanations to the descriptions of loaves and fish in the mosaic, but you cannot ignore the similarity to the description in the New Testament: for example, from the fact that the New Testament has a description of five loaves in a basket, or the two fish depicted in the apse, as we find in the mosaic,” said Dr. Michael Eisenberg, head of the excavation team in Hippos on behalf of the Institute of Archeology at the University of Haifa, along with colleague Arleta Kowalewska. The excavation of the church specifically was placed in the hands of Jessica Rentz from the United States, who has exposed its entire internal area.
During the preservation process, headed by Yana Vitkalov from the Israel Antiquities Authority, most of the mosaic area was cleaned and preserved, and most of its decorations and two inscriptions in Greek were exposed. The first one tells about the two fathers of the church, Theodoros and Petros, constructing a sanctuary for a martyr, while the second one, which is located inside a medallion at the centre of the mosaic, exposes the name of the martyr, Theodoros. An initial reading of the inscriptions was done by Dr. Gregor Staab from the University of Cologne in Germany, expedition epigraphist.
Eisenberg continues to be cautious about the interpretation of the new mosaic. “Nowadays, we tend to regard the Church of the Multiplication in Tabgha, on the northwest of the Sea of Galilee, as the location of the miracle, but with careful reading of the New Testament, it is evident that it might have taken place north of Hippos within the city’s region.”
(photo from University of Haifa via Ashernet)
This pre-Columbian cultural artifact at the University of Haifa is one of the mysterious art objects from Puerto Rico that were alleged to have been made by members of the Ten Lost Tribes. “This is definitely one of the strangest and most fascinating stories I’ve ever been involved in,” stated the university’s Dr. Iris Groman-Yaroslavsky. “To date, we have not found any similar carved stone art objects from this region of the Americas and, therefore, many researchers assumed that they must be fake. However, the microscopic tests we performed show beyond any doubt that the stones were carved around 600 years ago.”
The story of these art objects, known as the “Library of Agüeybaná,” goes back to the 19th century, when a Puerto Rican monk by the name of José María Nazario presented a collection of some 800 carved stone statuettes, some of which had a clearly human form while others appeared to be artistic or ritual items. No similar statuettes or art objects have ever been found from this region, and it was he who claimed the Lost Tribes connection. In 2001, a research student named Reniel Rodríguez Ramos saw the stones during a study trip and was enchanted. He completed his doctorate in pre-Columbian cultures and returned to investigate the stones. Eventually, he came to Groman-Yaroslavsky’s lab, which specializes in microscopic examinations.