Central southern Turkey earthquake, preliminary magnitude 7.7, with a 8.0 on the DYFI and a 8.0 on the Shakemap!!!
114 km NNW of Aleppo, Syria
depth 10km (approx 6 miles)
Awaiting reports of damage and injuries. At such a large M these could be substantial if population centres have been hit.
ISTANBUL — Few archaeological sites seem as entwined with conflict, ancient and modern, as the city of Karkemish.
The scene of a battle mentioned in the Bible, it lies smack on the border between Turkey and Syria, where civil war rages today. Twenty-first century Turkish sentries occupy an acropolis dating back more than 5,000 years, and the ruins were recently demined. Visible from crumbling, earthen ramparts, a Syrian rebel flag flies in a town that regime forces fled just months ago.
A Turkish-Italian team is conducting the most extensive excavations there in nearly a century, building on the work of British Museum teams that included T.E. Lawrence, the adventurer known as Lawrence of Arabia. The plan is to open the site along the Euphrates river to tourists in late 2014.
The strategic city, its importance long known to scholars because of references in ancient texts, was under the sway of Hittites and other imperial rulers and independent kings. However, archaeological investigation there was halted by World War I, and then by hostilities between Turkish nationalists and French colonizers from Syria who built machine gun nests in its ramparts. Part of the frontier was mined in the 1950s, and in later years, creating deadly obstacles to archaeological inquiry at a site symbolic of modern strife and intrigue.
“All this is very powerfully represented by Karkemish,” said Nicolo Marchetti, a professor of archaeology and art history of the Ancient Near East at the University of Bologna. He is the project director at Karkemish, where the Turkish military let archaeologists resumed work last year for the first time since its troops occupied the site about 90 years ago.
At around the same time, the Syrian uprising against President Bashar Assad was escalating. More than 100,000 Syrian refugees are sheltering in Turkish camps, and cross-border shelling last month sharpened tension between Syria and Turkey, which backs the rebellion along with its Western and Arab allies. Nuh Kocaslan, mayor of the nearby Turkish town of Karkamis, said he hoped the Syrian war would end “as soon as possible so that our region can find calm,” and that the area urgently needs revenue from tourists, barred for now from Karkemish because it is designated a military zone.
Archaeologists say they felt secure during a 10-week season of excavation on the Turkish side of Karkemish that ended in late October. One big eruption of gunfire from the Syrian side turned out to be part of a wedding celebration. The team arrived in August, one month after Syrian insurgents ousted troops from the Syrian border town of Jarablous. A Syrian government airstrike near Jarablous killed at least eight people that same month.
About one-third of the 222-acre archaeological site lies inside Syria and is therefore off-limits; construction and farming in Jarablous have encroached on what was the outer edge of the ancient city. Most discoveries have been made on what is now Turkish territory.
When a British team began work in 1911, the undivided area was part of the weakening Ottoman Empire. Germans nearby were constructing the Berlin-Baghdad railway, which traverses the ancient site along the border. Archaeologist C.L. Woolley and his assistant, Lawrence, found basalt and limestone slabs carved with soldiers, chariots, animals and kings; many are displayed today in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, the Turkish capital. The remains of palaces and temples were also uncovered.
A 1913 photograph shows Woolley and Lawrence at Karkemish. They appear to squint in harsh sunlight. Lawrence’s hands rest, partly clenched, over his bare knees. He wears Western dress.
Lawrence wrote letters about making casts of Hittite inscriptions, mending pottery, photographing items, settling “blood feuds” among workers on the dig, a foray into gun-running in Beirut, and a sense of wonder on a visit to Aleppo, today the scene of fierce battles in Syria’s civil war.
The Bible’s Jeremiah refers to Karkemish for a battle there in which the Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar II, defeated the Assyrians and their Egyptian allies. Invading forces sacked the city on several other occasions. Irene Winter, an archaeologist who visited Karkemish in 1974 and recently retired from Harvard University, said the place was significant as a “hub of all east-west traffic” and “a powerful, crucial juncture in the topography of movement and trade and military activity.”
In the ruins of the excavation house of its British predecessors, the Turkish-Italian team discovered old archaeological tools, statue fragments and a Roman mosaic. Elsewhere, they found a bronze cylinder seal inscribed with hieroglyphs that belonged to a town official and a bronze statuette of a god with a double-horned tiara and a skirt, along with a silver dagger set into the left hand.
“You do feel a connection with what has been written, with what has been found and, of course, with the people who were here,” said Marchetti, whose team used a laser scanner to create digital models of artifacts. It got a more complete picture with satellite imagery as well as aerial photos taken from a kite.
A demining agency from Azerbaijan helped Turkey to remove anti-tank and anti-personnel mines around Karkemish under a program to rid the nation’s borders of minefields, mostly near Syria. There remains a statistical risk of mine blasts, however remote. The new team, which includes university students, sticks to approved paths. Plans for tourist facilities include paths with rails on both sides to ensure the safety of visitors.
The mound of Karkemish on the Euphrates is seen in Gaziantep province, Turkey. Few archaeological sites seem as entwined with modern conflict as the ancient city of Karkemish, itself the scene of a battle mentioned in the Bible. Smack on the border between Turkey and Syria, where civil war rages, Turkish sentries have long occupied the acropolis and the ruins were recently demined.
A Turkish-Italian archaeological team uncovered these glazed jars, stone weights, bronze fibulae and granulated gold earring from two cremation burials in a pithos in the Outer Town of Karkemish, Turkey.
New King James Version (NKJV)
Judgment on Egypt
46 The word of the Lord which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the nations. 2 Against Egypt.
Concerning the army of Pharaoh Necho, king of Egypt, which was by the River Euphrates in Carchemish, and which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon defeated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah:
3 “Order[a] the [b]buckler and shield,
And draw near to battle!
4 Harness the horses,
And mount up, you horsemen!
Stand forth with your helmets,
Polish the spears,
Put on the armor!
5 Why have I seen them dismayed and turned back?
Their mighty ones are beaten down;
They have speedily fled,
And did not look back,
For fear was all around,” says the Lord.
6 “Do not let the swift flee away,
Nor the mighty man escape;
They will stumble and fall
Toward the north, by the River Euphrates.
7 “Who is this coming up like a flood,
Whose waters move like the rivers?
8 Egypt rises up like a flood,
And its waters move like the rivers;
And he says, ‘I will go up and cover the earth,
I will destroy the city and its inhabitants.’
9 Come up, O horses, and rage, O chariots!
And let the mighty men come forth:
[c]The Ethiopians and [d]the Libyans who handle the shield,
And the Lydians who handle and bend the bow.
10 For this is the day of the Lord God of hosts,
A day of vengeance,
That He may avenge Himself on His adversaries.
The sword shall devour;
It shall be [e]satiated and made drunk with their blood;
For the Lord God of hosts has a sacrifice
In the north country by the River Euphrates.
11 “Go up to Gilead and take balm,
O virgin, the daughter of Egypt;
In vain you will use many medicines;
You shall not be cured.
12 The nations have heard of your shame,
And your cry has filled the land;
For the mighty man has stumbled against the mighty;
They both have fallen together.”
Babylonia Will Strike Egypt
13 The word that the Lord spoke to Jeremiah the prophet, how Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon would come and strike the land of Egypt.
14 “Declare in Egypt, and proclaim in Migdol;
Proclaim in [f]Noph and in Tahpanhes;
Say, ‘Stand fast and prepare yourselves,
For the sword devours all around you.’
15 Why are your valiant men swept away?
They did not stand
Because the Lord drove them away.
16 He made many fall;
Yes, one fell upon another.
And they said, ‘Arise!
Let us go back to our own people
And to the land of our nativity
From the oppressing sword.’
17 They cried there,
‘Pharaoh, king of Egypt, is but a noise.
He has passed by the appointed time!’
18 “As I live,” says the King,
Whose name is the Lord of hosts,
“Surely as Tabor is among the mountains
And as Carmel by the sea, so he shall come.
19 O you daughter dwelling in Egypt,
Prepare yourself to go into captivity!
For [g]Noph shall be waste and desolate, without inhabitant.
20 “Egypt is a very pretty heifer,
But destruction comes, it comes from the north.
21 Also her mercenaries are in her midst like [h]fat bulls,
For they also are turned back,
They have fled away together.
They did not stand,
For the day of their calamity had come upon them,
The time of their punishment.
22 Her noise shall go like a serpent,
For they shall march with an army
And come against her with axes,
Like those who chop wood.
23 “They shall cut down her forest,” says the Lord,
“Though it cannot be searched,
Because they are innumerable,
And more numerous than grasshoppers.
24 The daughter of Egypt shall be ashamed;
She shall be delivered into the hand
Of the people of the north.”
25 The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, says: “Behold, I will bring punishment on [i]Amon of No,[j] and Pharaoh and Egypt, with their gods and their kings—Pharaoh and those who trust in him. 26 And I will deliver them into the hand of those who seek their lives, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the hand of his servants. Afterward it shall be inhabited as in the days of old,” says the Lord.
God Will Preserve Israel
27 “But do not fear, O My servant Jacob,
And do not be dismayed, O Israel!
For behold, I will save you from afar,
And your offspring from the land of their captivity;
Jacob shall return, have rest and be at ease;
No one shall make him afraid.
28 Do not fear, O Jacob My servant,” says the Lord,
“For I am with you;
For I will make a complete end of all the nations
To which I have driven you,
But I will not make a complete end of you.
I will rightly correct you,
For I will not leave you wholly unpunished.”
The Tribulation is commencing..
Please repent, carry your cross daily and accept the free gift of Jesus Christ’s Death on the Cross for payment for your sins.
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