Antiquities on display in Oklahoma, while lead archaeologist simulcasts keynote address from Israel.
Since the 1980s excavations of the Ophel, the elevated landscape between the City of David and the Temple Mount’s southern wall, have turned up some fascinating artifacts. Over the years archaeologists have found treasures including a collection of 36 gold coins and a large gold medallion believed to date back to the year 614, as well as an impression of the royal seal of King Hezekiah from the First Temple period.
Earlier this year, archaeologists uncovered what may be the biggest find from this treasure trove: a clay seal that is believed to have belonged to the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah is known to have advised King Hezekiah, who was second only to King David. According to lead archaeologist, Dr. Eilat Mazar, the seal of Isaiah was found one meter away from the seal of King Hezekiah, in the same layer of earth.
Now, the antiquities found during the decades of Ophel excavations are going on display in a joint Israel/US exhibition. The items will be exhibited at the Armstrong Auditorium in Edmond, Oklahoma, while Dr. Mazar will deliver a keynote address, which will be simulcast to Oklahoma from Israel. The event is called, “Seals of Isaiah and King Hezekiah, Discovered” and it will run between June 10 and August 19.
JPost has a list of some of the items that will be on display in Oklahoma:
In addition to the seals, the Oklahoma-based exhibit will feature royal Judean clay vessels, weapons used during the siege of Lachish, a replica of the famous Annals of Sennacherib Prism, and various Assyrian inscriptions and replicas of the famous Assyrian wall reliefs. Visitors will also be able to walk through a 10-foot-long exact replica of Hezekiah’s underground water tunnel in Jerusalem.
The exhibit’s curator, Brad MacDonald, explained that the show will feature interactive elements and storyboards that will show the connections among the pieces. He commented:
“This is truly a historic exhibition. Artifacts from the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem have been exhibited previously, but these exhibits have never included the seals of King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah. Visitors would have to travel to London, Jerusalem, Istanbul and Chicago to see everything on display. Here we’ve brought them all together in one place.”
MacDonald went on to talk about the joint effort between Oklahoma and Jerusalem, saying, “Our hope is that this international event will set the stage for the next 50 years of friendship, collaboration and thrilling archeological finds.”
When the exhibit ends all the pieces will be returned to the Antiquities Authority. Currently there is no date set for their display in Israel.