PRIVATE TOUR GUIDE IN ISRAEL
Tour Guide Israel – Beit Miriam archeological museum – Kibbutz Palmachim
Beit Miriam museum
The archaeological museum Beit Miriam is situated on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea about 20 minutes south of Tel Aviv. The unique artifacts on display in the museum tell the story of ancient cultures which settled in the area, and artifacts which were fished from the sea reveal the relationship between man and sea and help our understanding of naval routes and commerce in the Mediterranean Sea in ancient times. The archaeological display includes artifacts from prehistoric times up to the Early Arabic Period. They include giant clay vessels (pithoi) and a mosaic floor from the Byzantine Period, vessels and coins from various periods, and inscriptions in Hebrew, Greek and Arabic. The wing named “The Yielding Sea” reveals combined exhibits of marine archaeology and ecology. The archaeological finds include artifacts used by seafarers during their voyages and while weighing anchor in the adjacent port of Yavneh-Yam (Jamnia on Sea). The collection of ancient anchors reflects the development of naval vessels and commerce over a period of 5000 years. The ecological presentation emphasizes the involvement of humanity in its marine environment.
Of its many findings, the most important one is a 6th/7th Century BC ostracon containing a written appeal by a field worker to the fortress’s governor regarding the confiscation of his cloak which the writer considers to be unjust. The worker makes his appeal to the governor on the basis of both the garment’s undeserved confiscation and by implication of the biblical law regarding holding a person’s cloak as collateral for a debt past sundown.
Although the petition does not specifically cite the law, it would have been commonly known by rulers and peasants alike. The original artifact is in the Israel Museum and here they show a copy.
Exodus 22:25 “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest. 26 If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, return it by sunset, 27 because that cloak is the only covering your neighbor has. What else can they sleep in? When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.
Deutronomy 24:10 When you make a loan of any kind to your neighbor, do not go into their house to get what is offered to you as a pledge. 11 Stay outside and let the neighbor to whom you are making the loan bring the pledge out to you. 12 If the neighbor is poor, do not go to sleep with their pledge in your possession. 13 Return their cloak by sunset so that your neighbor may sleep in it. Then they will thank you, and it will be regarded as a righteous act in the sight of the Lord your God.
The site of Yavneh-Yam (Jamnia on Sea) has a long history lasting from the 2nd millennium BC up to the Middle Ages. This is evident from archaeological finds rather than historical sources. The Bible does not mention this specific place and there are no historical evidence of its early times.
One of the main issues of historical geography and archaeology is the identification of existing sites with their ancient namesakes, usually by analyzing their names by reference of their medieval denominations. Thus, in the case of Yavneh-Yam, in recent times the site was called Minet Rubin (in Arabic: the harbor of Rubin) preserving the Arabic tradition of Biblical Ruben’s Tomb in this area (Nabi Rubin). Also of interest is the name of the site during the Early Islamic period (9th – 10th – centuries CE), Mahuz a-Tani (in Arabic: the second harbor) using the ancient Aramaic word mahuz for harbor. It seems that this name was used in ancient Semitic languages with the meaning harbor as evident from Ancient Egyptian sources mentioning a city called ‘mhz’ along the Mediterranean, which has been identified with Yavneh-Yam.
Sadly the site is unaccessible today as it is within the perimeter of the Palmachim AFB.
Here is a slideshow of my choice of the pieces shown in the museum