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Foundation Stone

Foundation Stone

Foundation Stone from the Fortification Wall of Jerusalem

Jerusalem (Israel), 41-70 C.E.
  • Limestone: carved
  • 21 5/8 x 24 1/2 x 41 1/2 in. (54.9 x 62.2 x 105.4 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of Evi Bossanyi Loeb in honor of Howard S. Levy through the National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia, 1993-30
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Foundation Stone

Foundation Stone from the Fortification Wall of Jerusalem

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Foundation Stone from the Fortification Wall of Jerusalem

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CLOSE LOOKING / VISUAL ANALYSIS:

  • What does this object look like to you?

  • How do you think the ancient Israelites used a huge block of stone like this?

  • In general, what kinds of objects are made from stone? What are the characteristics of stone that make it a good material for such objects? What characteristics make it unsuited to other purposes? Why do you think it is that some of the earliest human tools were made of stone? Why don’t we continue to use stone for most of our tools today? What do we use stone for today?



FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION:

After giving students ample opportunity to examine this object, lead them in a discussion of related topics and themes:

  • This is a stone from a wall built around the city of Jerusalem. Why do you think people felt the need to build walls around their cities in ancient times? Are there any drawbacks to living in a walled city? Why are modern cities generally not walled? Do we have anything equivalent?

  • How do you think archaeologists know that this block was once part of a city wall?

  • Why do you think cities developed in ancient times? What benefits did they provide? Why do people live in cities today?

  • Walled cities frequently mark the rise of governments in ancient times. Why would that be? Why don’t we generally see walled cities in the archaeological record before the development of complex governments?

  • Why do we have governments? What do governments provide for people?

  • What is a monarchy? What are some of the positive and negative aspects of a monarchy? Why do you think some of the earliest governments were monarchies? What other types of government exist? Compare their benefits and drawbacks.



RESEARCH TOPICS / CONTENT CONNECTIONS:

  • Israel in the Roman Period
  • Ancient Cities
  • The Rise of Governments