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Discussion Summary

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Discussion 9

In the article “Ancient Inscription From King Solomon’s Time Unearthed,” Tia Ghose tells about the recent archaeological find near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, namely a neck-less ceramic jar’s fragment with an inscription. There is no possibility to translate the inscription, but some researchers provide different interpretations of the letters on the fragment. It is important that the fragment dates back to the 10th century. Thus, it belongs to the times when Jerusalem was under the reign of King David or Solomon. Therefore, the fragment may help to learn about the specifics of the Hebrew culture and the society that existed in those times. The inscription is not in ancient Jewish but in the Canaanine language, and the researchers think that the inscription was made by a Jebusite from a tribe that did not belong to the ancient Hebrews’ sphere of influence. In addition, scientists assume that the inscription contains its author’s name.

The mentioned find is important because of its relation to the sphere of linguistics and culture. It is clear that the inscription from King David’s and Solomon’s times may help to study the specifics of the language used in the ancient Hebrew society. In addition, it is possible that the described fragment of a jar may serve in the advancement of the today’s Biblical studies because it partly demonstrates the language of ancient Jerusalem and the tribes that lived around the city. Along with the importance of the inscription, the discovered fragment of a neck-less ceramic jar is also quite interesting because the style of the Hebrews’ ceramics illustrates the cultural relationships between the Hebrews and their neighbors. In addition, it is possible to see  the economic preferences of Jerusalem through the jar clay’s consistence, which demonstrates the sources of clay and other materials the Hebrews used in their ceramics.

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Discussion 11

Mark Strauss’s article “Archaeologists Begin Excavation of Honduran ‘Lost City’” tells about the intentions of the Honduran President and the people of Honduras to discover the lost pyramids in the eastern Honduran Mosquitia region. The researchers in Honduras have already found a pyramid containing different artifacts that have certain historical value. Mark Strauss draws a parallel between the discovered pyramid and the legends about the lost and hidden city where the local people used to hide from the Spaniards during the Conquest of the American continent. Thus, after the successful unearthing of the pyramid, the head of the expedition claims that the next intention of the Honduran archaeologists is to find other pyramids that would confirm the legends about the mythical city where the locals hided themselves from the military aggression. In addition, it is important that the discovered artifacts are quite precious in terms of both the history of art and history in general.

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In my opinion, the main importance of the mentioned find is that it may prove the Honduran local belief in a legend according to which the Indians escaped to a certain hidden place in order to protect themselves from the European colonizers’ aggression. The eastern Mosquitia region and its connection with the idea of the ‘lost city’ may lead to a reconsideration of the American Indians’ role in the world culture. The proving of legend of the Lost City in the context of the global cultural atmosphere demonstrates that the relation between legends and reality may be quite strong in terms of the transformation of history through the centuries. The mentioned case also provides an example of the successful use of legends as a source for the scientific research.

Discussion 12

In the article “’Witchcraft’ Island Reveals Evidence of Stone Age Rituals,” Owen Jaras tells about the connection between the traditional belief in witchcraft and the Mesolithic Stone age rituals interpreted through the perspective of folklore and tradition. The article discusses the small Sweden island Bla Tungfrun, which is strongly associated with witchcraft in the local people’s beliefs. According to those beliefs, every Easter witches hailed Satan on that island. As the recent archaeological researches demonstrated, the island has a strong connection with some Mesolithic rituals. As a result, it turns out that the legends may have a real basis. The researchers discovered two caves that might have served for the performance rituals. The first cave contained an altar, and the second one might have served as a theatre. Thus, according to the findings of the researches, the common beliefs may have a real historical basis, but they provide the real historical facts in a changed form.

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In my opinion, the main importance of the discovery mentioned in the article is the justification of common beliefs that may be considered as simply superstitious tales. Certainly, those people who believe that Bla Tungfrun is really occupied by witches every Easter interpret the reality through the superstitious point of view, but still they operate with the correct information concerning the rituals conducted on the island. Along with the importance of the findings in the context of the history of the Stone Age’s forms of religion, the correlation between the legends and the findings has a methodological meaning and allows to reconsider the interrelation between a historical fact and its common interpretations and perceptions. The people who believe in the witches’ Sabbaths on Bla Tungfrun are separated from the Mesolithic people who practiced there their rituals by thousands of years; yet, they still keep the knowledge concerning the issue.

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