Biblical Exodus story “may be true” as archaeologists uncover “ancient” ruins near Jordan – World News

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Experts analyze if ruins are proof that a nomadic Israelite people entered the ancient land from outside

Archaeologists analyze whether the ruins, named Khirbet el Mastarah, correspond to a newly arrived nomadic people

Archaeologists have found “ancient” ruins near the Jordan River in what may be the first evidence of the biblical story of the Exodus, it is claimed.

In the Bible, it is said that Moses freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and led them through the desert of Sinai, before they crossed the Jordan into the promised land of Canaan.

However, no historical basis for the account exists and archaeologists generally agree that the Israelites were, in fact, from Canaan – an ancient region spanning modern-day Israel.

But now, experts are analyzing whether the ruins near the river are evidence that a nomadic Israelite people entered the ancient land from outside.

Some argue that this could be the very first evidence of the biblical account.








Some claim the ruins may be the first evidence in the biblical story of the Exodus
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Picture:

Pen News)











This depiction by James Tissot shows the Israelites crossing the Jordan
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Picture:

Pen News)






“We have not proven that these camps date from the period of the early Israelites, but it is possible,” said David Ben-Shlomo, archaeologist at Ariel University.

“If they are, it might fit the biblical story of the Israelites coming from east of the Jordan, then crossing the Jordan and later entering the mountainous region of Israel.”

Archaeologists analyze whether the ruins, named Khirbet el Mastarah, correspond to a newly arrived nomadic people.

The pottery shards at the site have been dated to the early Iron Age, around the time traditionally associated with the arrival of the Israelites.

Meanwhile, the ruins themselves, a number of low walls, are said to be rudimentary stone fences for animals – in keeping with known nomadic practices.








The pottery shards at the site have been dated to the early Iron Age, a time traditionally associated with the arrival of the Israelites.
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Picture:

Pen News)











This map shows the supposed route of the Exodus and the two archaeological sites
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Picture:

Pen News)






According to Dr Ben-Shlomo and his American excavation partner, Ralph Hawkins of Averett University, this could explain why pottery shards at the site were found outside – and not inside – of the stone walls.

“The floors of the structures were practically empty of finds, so we could not date them by conventional archaeological methods,” they said.

“In Bedouin settlements, people live in tents made from perishable goods that are moved every season, so the artifacts would not be associated with the stone architecture.

“So the structures could have housed animals, rather than people, who lived in tents around them.”

The site, five miles north of Jericho, would also make more sense as a nomadic settlement than as a permanent one. Temperatures can easily reach 45 ° C, while annual precipitation does not exceed 1 cm.








The ruins themselves, a number of low walls, are said to be rudimentary stone fences for animals
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Picture:

Pen News)











Archaeologists are working to confirm whether the site is as old as they suspect
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Picture:

Pen News)






“The landscape is arid most of the time and even in modern times most of the population here is Bedouin,” said Dr Ben-Shlomo.

In addition, the site is isolated and protected from view by the surrounding hills, possibly involving a new population fearing a hostile reception.

Now archaeologists are working to confirm if the site is as old as they suspect it is.

Dr Ben-Shlomo said: “Sites like Khirbet el Mastarah and the like in the Jordan Valley seem – at least according to investigative material – to appear suddenly during the Iron Age.

“As this area is not densely populated in many periods, this could indicate a new phenomenon like nomads suddenly creating settlements, or a new population.”








David Ben-Shlomo, right, an archaeologist at Ariel University, is pictured with Ralph Hawkins
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Picture:

Pen News)




Soil samples from Khirbet el Mastarah have now been sent for analysis.

Samples taken from under the walls will be tested for an accumulation of electrons, which are trapped over the years and are only released by light radiation.

They could reveal the age of the structure, it is claimed.

Meanwhile, samples taken from between the walls will be tested for high levels of phosphorus, which would be consistent with the animal droppings that accumulate there.

The results are expected in a few months.

Archaeologists also plan to excavate the nearby town of Uja el-Foqa to determine if it could be linked to the Israelite settlement of the area.

However, the work is not without its challenges – archaeologists must look for cultural clues indicating that the site was indeed Israelite.

“This is difficult because many aspects of the material culture of different groups (say those in the east or west of the Jordan) may be too similar or not indicative enough,” said Dr Ben-Shlomo.








This depiction by Edward Poynter shows the Israelites enslaved in Egypt
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Picture:

Pen News)






The story of the Exodus is spread over the biblical books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

It begins with the enslaved Israelites in Egypt, before Pharaoh – forced by 10 terrible plagues – agrees to set them free and Moses leads them across the miraculously separated Red Sea.

Once they reached the Sinai Peninsula, the scriptures say they traveled to Mount Sinai, where Moses received the 10 Commandments.

They then headed for the southern border of Canaan, but being too scared to enter, were sentenced to 38 years in the wilderness by God.

After spending years at the oasis of Kadesh Barnea, the Israelites then traveled to the eastern border of Canaan, where Moses died and was buried on Mount Nebo, according to the story.

In the following book of Joshua, Joshua takes over the leadership of the Israelites, leading them into the Promised Land across the Jordan River and conquering Jericho.


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