The expedition to Cave27 is now complete. Have a look at the Intermediate report to see the pictures and report from the excavation.
We will be digging again in 2013 so if you want to volunteer contact us now. If you are in a position to donate - please do!
In either case - just think how amazing it would be to find the archive of the 2nd Temple. it would be like finding the British Library that had been lost for 2,000 years. This find could change the world so please consider adding your energy, effort and light to see it happen in 2012.
This picture shows the Mikveh in the Q27 or the Pool Cave where an excavation is planned for the end of October this year. During the Second Temple period (and at other times) a man could not touch anything sacred without first undergoing the ritual cleansing process prescribed by the priests. It was a very strict rule, and the presence of Sacred items and the need to handle them, can be the only reason for this Mikveh being built up in a cave, in the cliffs 400 meters above the Dead Sea. A man (or woman) must climb up one side of the steps, be completely immersed in water, and then exit from another set of steps without ever touching the dirty steps.
Not only was the cleansing process strictly proscribed, but also the building process had very specific rules too: no metal could be used in its construction because metal may have been used to kill someone. No pottery could be used to make the plaster because that pottery may have ben used in a sacrifice to another God.The water must be part rainwater and part spring water. And there were many more rules, all of which make the presence of the Mikveh, in this very inaccessible place, even more remarkable. It must have taken a lot of resources and time to build; the temperatures in the desert seldom drop below 40c, the climb is extremely dangerous,water is scarce, carrying building materials is difficult and so on.
Why then is it there?
This is the question we are hoping to answer when we excavate the cave in the 2012 season. Academia have now accepted that what was previously thought to be a cistern or a pool is, in fact, a Mikveh, and we must build from there.
We want to know what was in this cave that meant a Mikveh was necessary? Scrolls? Temple artefacts?
Come and join us to find out.
After a five year break in field research, during which time I completed my doctorate and helped my boys, Nimrod and Daniel, I am returning to archaeological excavations and surveys again.
Recently I received an excavation license from the Israeli Antiquities authorities and a permit to conduct an archaeological dig in a nature park, closed to the public, in the Judea wilderness.
The excavations will start at October 28th - November 16th. And will not include Fridays and Saturdays.
The target for the 2012 Season dig are:
A. To fully investigate a "mysterious corridor" that we discovered in the 2006 season.
B. To explore a sealed cave located in the middle of a steep ravine discovered by me in the 2007 survey.
C. We hope to discover the lost second temple archive (evidence of its existence can be found in Jeremiah 32).
In order to accomplish this very important mission I need donations and volunteers.
This is the only Archaeological project to take place in the last 5 years in the Judean wilderness, under extreme physical and heat conditions.
Please help the project as much as you can, every amount counts, and will help me to achieve the expedition targets.
You will be given credits in my final report.
For more specific information on the project please visit the expedition web site
or write me on any questions that come to your mind.
You can send your donation through the nonprofit foundations shown below: all are authorized by the US Revenue and are tax deductible.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR TRANSFER OF FUNDS VIA P.E.F.
To: P.E.F. Israel Endowment Funds, Inc.
317 Madison Avenue, Suite 607
New York, NY 10017
Attention: Mr. Geoffrey Stern, President
Enclosed is my contribution of _________$__with a recommendation to your Trustees that these funds be utilized for
The Archaeological projects of archaeologist Haim Cohen of Haifa University
Israel Exploration Society
Donations are tax deductible only if made payable to P.E.F. Israel Endowment Funds, Inc.
An official receipt for tax deductible contributions will be sent to the contributor by the P.E.F.
After so many real and metaphorical mountains to climb - we are now committed to a dig starting on the 28th of October and ending on the 16th of November this year. Licences have been granted by both the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Park Authority, allowing an expedition to excavate one cave, and survey another. There is always a concern about some rare vultures that nest nearby and the timing of the expedition has to be exact so as not to disturb them at critical times in their breeding cycle.
Once again, we are going to search for the Archive of the Second Jewish Temple in the Ein Gedi region. The volunteers will stay in a nearby Kibbutz, and rise every morning before dawn, while the air is still cool, to climb the 400 metres to the cave. It's a fairly tough walk but young Orthodox girls do it in their long dresses and sandals - so it's not mountaineering.
In past seasons we proved that the Mikveh (ritual cleansing pool) at the entrance to the cave, is in fact a Mikveh and not a cistern, as was previously thought. We found evidence of priestly activity - a leather scroll cover and coins dating back to the Bar Kochba rebellion. All these tantalising clues will fade into insignificance if we find the Archive, which Haim Cohen, the expedition leader, believes to be in this place. He has recently completed his Phd at Haifa University.
There is another mysteriously sealed cave which we are going to survey on this expedition.
If you have any Indiana Jones leanings you should volunteer for this exciting dig. Please follow this blog for more news as it unfolds in the days leading up to the new Season. This writer is planning to be there, and I will be posting blogs, pictures and videos live from the site, so please click on the RSS feed if you want to keep up to date.
Jennifer Munro - publicity In partnership with Haim Cohen MA Haifa University