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Curse tablet is a fishing weight

9 December 2023

At https://www.livescience.com/archaeology/curse-tablet-with-oldest-hebrew-name-of-god-is-actually-a-fishing-weight-experts-argue … this goes back to an archaeological find last year – in Israel. A very small piece of lead that had been folded over. It was claimed it had an inscription on it = the name of God. Critics are saying that was due to weathering and had nothing to do with writing. It was also claimed it dated as far back as 3000 years ago – in the dark age following the Late Bronze collapse. It is the size of a postage stamp. One source claimed it was a fishing weight. Presumably because modern fishing weights are made of lead. However, similar weights were used on nets and used to sink them in watery places – rivers, lakes, and seas. The research is published in the Israel Exploration Journal. Interestingly, even the date of the altar where it was found is in dispute. Was it in the dark age – or somewhat later.  If it does contain an inscription, the three letters for God, does it date back to the Deuteronomist era [the 7th century BC]. The authors of the original study intend to fight back. They are preparing a new article to counter the doubters.

Over at https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/12/231207161343.htm … ancient DNA in the Balkans, from the first millennium AD. They found no sign of a Roman signature – not even a Mediterranean link. They did find DNA of people from western Anatolia, and of various interlopers from the steppe. Mostly Slavic. The newcomers mostly arrived after the Romans had left – or arrived in the 3rd century AD during a period of upheaval in the Roman world. Is this more evidence that genetic research is limited? They don’t seem to be as simple as hyped. The results seem to show that Roman genes had disappeared at an early stage.

Some 136 skeletons from various archaeological sites in the Balkans were used in the study. They include Roman period sites, military fortresses, and small  rural locations. Do any of the skeletons date back to the first couple of centuries AD? The answer seems to be no. They are said to date from AD250-550, as well as following the collapse of the empire, AD550 – AD1000. From that we may take it that  actual Romans did not man the fortresses or had retreated from the Balkans during the upheavals around AD230. After that date we may assume they recruited military personnel from the other side of the Danube, or from the eastern empire.

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