In 2005 a two-armed anchor was discovered on the shore of the Dead Sea, north of En Gedi. The materials associated with this anchor includes jujube wood, palm fiber, lead, iron, and bronze.
Two-armed anchor from the Dead Sea. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
The sign associated with this exhibit in the Israel Museum reads as follows:
In ancient times, the Dead Sea was an active sea route, used for the transportation of passengers as well as the agricultural products and natural resources for which the area was famous. This rare anchor, found on the Dead Sea shore, was made with the best of Hellenistic-Roman technology. Its size and style suggest that it belonged to a luxurious ship, one that may have been part of the royal fleets of King Alexander Jannaeus or Herod the Great, each of whom built palaces and fortresses near this Shore.
The anchor was found north of En Gedi and belongs to the period between the 2nd century B.C. and the 1st century A.D. The materials included in the anchor include jujube wood, palm fiber, lead, iron, and bronze.
I understand that this anchor, and another one about 500 years older, was located because of the receding of the waters of the Dead Sea. Our photo shows a view of the western shore of the Dead Sea north of En Gedi. In the recent past the water covered the land we see here.
Western shore of the Dead Sea north of En Gedi. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
The Dead Sea is known as the Salt Sea in Genesis 14:3.
The Dead Sea may be the most fascinating body of water on earth. It lies along the Great Rift (Afro-Arabian Rift), and is the lowest body of water on earth. A.D. Riddle and David Parker have created a relief map showing the level of the Dead Sea from 3500 B.C. to the present. The authors explain how they made the map at the site.
Visit the The Dead Sea - a History of Change.
Click here to see the map. It takes a little while to get acquainted with all the information available on the page. Click the buttons on the right middle of the map page to run the animation. The extent of the water in the Dead Sea changes as the program runs through the centuries. Scroll over one of the names on the map and information appears in the blue box. This is a fascinating program.
Sinkholes on the western shore of the Dead Sea
Several news outlets, include our local Fox News station, ran reports on sinkholes that are developing along the western edge of the Dead Sea. Less water is flowing into the Dead Sea than in previous years. The Fox News report says,
As the Dead Sea recedes, fresh water comes to the dried-up areas in the form of rain, runoff and underground streams. The fresh water soaks into the ground, dissolving the salts that had been deposited there since long before there was a Sodom or a Gomorrah.
Once the salt dissolves, that opens up great underground caves — and the earth comes a-tumblin’ down.
Here is a photo showing one of the sinkholes filled with fresh water. The Dead Sea and the distant mountains of Moab are hidden in the summer haze.
Sinkhole along the western shore of Dead Sea. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
HT on the map: Biblical Studies and Technological Tools.
Not exactly current news, but ABC News, Saturday, July 12, 2008, had a report about this. Read the story, and find a link to the video here. In a word, the Dead Sea is drying up because of a lack of water. Water that once flowed into the Dead Sea from the Jordan River is now being diverted primarily by Israel, and Jordan for domestic and agricultural use. The Jordan River no longer experiences the annual flooding that was known even fifty years ago. I have seen a tremendous change in the 41 years that I have been traveling in the area.
The Dead Sea is called the Salt Sea in the Bible (Genesis 14:3; Numbers 34:3, 12). Josephus knew the Dead Sea at Lake Asphaltites in Roman times (Antiquities 1.174; 15:168).
Many old sources have listed the Dead Sea as being 1,292 feet below sea level. According to a study in 2005, the sea was 1,368 feet below sea level. That number would be greater now. The lowest point in the United States is 282 feet below sea level, at Death Valley in California.
This photo shows encrustations of salt that build up on the rocks along the shore of the Dead Sea.
Here is a photo of a sign, a bit defaced, in Jordan at sea level showing a cross-section topography of the Dead Sea.
Here is a photo that I made at sunset on the shores of the Dead Sea in Jordan. The view looks west over the sea and the mountains of Judea between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The Dead Sea is called the Salt Sea in the Bible (Genesis 14:3; Numbers 34:3, 12). The width of the sea at this point is about 11 miles. The level of the Dead Sea is now almost 1400 feet below [Mediterranean] sea level. This northern end of the Dead Sea is about 1300 feet deep.