Thousands suggest explanations for ancient J'lem carvings

By MELANIE LIDMAN
December 9, 2011 02:00

Archeologists at City of David site post mysterious stone carving on Facebook, ask world for explanation.

2 minute read.



V's in Silwan

V's in Silwan 311. (photo credit:Vladimir Neyhin/City of David Foundation)

When archeologists are baffled by discoveries, they’re expected to debate complicated theories among other argyle-vest-wearing experts at stuffy conferences held high in ivory towers.

But when recent carvings at a Jerusalem site puzzled experts, the archeologists at the City of David site near the Old City took a new approach: Post a mysterious stone carving on Facebook, and ask the world what it thought.

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Since local and international media coverage of the strange markings went viral, more than 20,000 people across the globe have weighed in on the mysterious “V” carvings found in a room that was last used around 800 BCE.

Last week, Ir David Foundation head archeologist Eli Shukron told reporters he was so puzzled by the shapes – three V’s about 50 cm. long and 5 cm. deep – that he couldn’t begin to guess their function. The figures were found in a room near a spring, an important ritual area for the ancient city.

But Shukron’s bewilderment hasn’t stopped people around the world from offering their conjectures. Among the most interesting ideas: a torture device, drainage for ancient urinals, the original McDonald’s sign, an abbreviation for “veni vidi vici” (Latin for “I came, I saw, I conquered”), a footprint from King Solomon’s pet dinosaur, molds for smelting iron to make tools, the Trinity, a representation of mountains or the symbol for water, signs to the exit, an alien cryptogram, or support for a wooden structure.

Or perhaps, as one reader commented, “3,000 years ago, a worker said to his buddy, ‘I know how to drive archeologists crazy...’” “People have been calling me all day,” Udi Ragones, the Ir David Foundation spokesman, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. “Someone just called from Thailand and said that they represented the sign the kohanim make with their hands during the priestly blessing, so it was a meditation room for kohanim.”

Experts at the site, which showcases the remains of what archeologists believe could have been a town ruled by King David 3,000 years ago, were shocked by the enthusiastic response from readers around the world.

“People love solving mysteries, especially from 3,000 years ago, and they love thinking about this,” Ragones said.

Thousands have reposted the articles on social networking sites.

The organization is already starting to think of ways to upload the other archeological mysteries that have baffled experts in the area.

“This is cooperation throughout the world; it’s like Wikipedia,” the foundation spokesman said. “Once, only archeologists could study these things. Now everyone can join in.”

If you know the answer to the riddle, you can post it at http://www.cityofdavid.co.il/ ArticleDetails_eng.asp?id=32 7.


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