Free lectures featuring some of today's most prominent archaeologists are held throughout the year. The Museum is open before and after the lectures.
THE MESHA STELE AND THE BIBLICAL WORLD IN THE 9th CENTURY BCE
Emeritus Directeur d’Études at the History and Philology section of the École Pratique des Hautes Études
The Sorbonne, Paris
Sept. 26, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
The Mesha Stele, commissioned by King Mesha of Moab around 840 BCE, tells the story of the Moabite kingdom’s subjugation to the Israelite kings Omri and Ahab and Mesha’s claim to have thrown off the foreign yoke to restore the kingdom under the protection of the Moabite god Chemosh. When an Anglican medical missionary became the first Westerner to see the inscribed monument at the site of ancient Dibon in 1868, immediate attempts to control it erupted in bellicose encounters between local Bedouin and Arab emissaries, competition between governments and professional societies in Britain, France, and Germany, and growing tensions between Arab cultures and the ruling Ottoman powers in Constantinople. The dramatic circumstances of the inscription’s discovery and restoration read like a true novel . . . and with good reason. The stone bears the longest inscription from the biblical period ever found in the region. It contains a treasure trove of information relating to the Moabite language and the intertwined histories of Moab, Israel, and Judah in the ninth century BCE.
Today, 150 years later, the Mesha Stele remains one of the jewels of West Semitic epigraphy and probably the inscription that throws the greatest light on the Hebrew Bible and the history of the southern Levant in this period. Recent examinations, with the help of new photographs taken with “Highlight RTI” by West Semitic Research Project at the University of Southern California, now make it possible to solve some of the interpretive problems inherent in this damaged text. Thanks to these improved readings and a few other epigraphic discoveries, we can understand better the historical context of this inscription as well as its connection with the biblical books of Kings. Today, the Mesha Stele has its home in the Louvre in Paris. But come see a life-sized cast of this monument from our own Kelso Museum and hear Professor Lemaire, the world’s leading authority on the Mesha Stele, share his new insights into this incredible inscription.
The Museum will be open from 6:30-7:15 p.m. and after the lecture. The lecture and reception to follow are free and open to the public.
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In March 2019, Curator Emerta Nancy Lapp recounted stories from her life and career to illustrate the changes in Near Eastern archaeology during the course of her work and study from the late 1950s to the present day. Her personal story provides valuable insights into the emerging history of a modern-day discipline.
From 1955, when Nancy became the first female student of William F. Albright (the “father of American Near Eastern archaeology”) to her overnight stay in a sandy wadi of the Iraqi desert in 1958 . . . from her unexpected journey on a Russian ship to Beirut in 1960 to local revolutions and a regional war . . . from her becoming curator of the Kelso Bible Lands Museum in 1970 to her travels and numerous publications of today, Nancy’s archaeological journey has spanned more than half a century and included a treasure trove of adventures and discoveries—sometimes unexpected ones, as explorations of ancient remains inevitably mixed with contemporary events.
When space is available, archaeology courses at PTS may be audited through the Registrar's Office. Because PTS courses are graduate level, a bachelor's degree is normally a prerequisite. Check the list of upcoming available courses.