Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A shomera in the valley

Let's continue our discussion from the previous post and look at a different example of a shomera.
Thanks to Vogon Poet who found photos of similar structures in Italy, where they call it caciara.
But VP's is beautifully built and preserved!
He has seen them in the Italian countryside.

Two friends from Arkansas.
The spring down in the valley next to our hill, the shomerot, and the canyon-like wadi are must-sees for visitors.

Dr. M commented yesterday that "watchtower" is as good a translation as any for shomera.
He says, "Some of those are leftovers from the Iron I original settlement of the Hill Country....a great legacy."
And Dr. M knows. He teaches Biblical things like this in a Texas college.
Iron Age I was over 3,000 years ago!
Looking up at the dome-like ceiling.
I think this can be called a corbeled vault, defined as "a masonry roof constructed from opposite walls, or from a circular base, by shifting courses slightly and regularly inward until they meet."
The ancient agricultural system here in the hills surrounding Jerusalem was to build terraces.
That meant gathering the stones from the rocky ground and using them to build terrace walls and shomerot.
The patches of cleared flat land that were created became the farm fields.
In the days of the First and Second Temples thousands of pilgrims came up to Jerusalem at least three times a year, and they had to be fed!
The last sojourners in this shomera surely never dreamed that someday the view from their window would be of the chicken coops and houses of my village.


ascu75 aka Don said...

Hi Dina havent been by for ages I lost you somehow but rest assured I have found you so you are lost no longer. XXX Don

Dick said...

Beautiful how they fixed the ceiling

Sara said...

This was fascinating, Dina. I love to think about things like what you say in your last sentence...the way time and history intersect because of what the ancient peoples left behind that we still see. I wonder how long it took them to figure out how to build a domed roof without it falling down...and I've always tried to imagine what it would be like in Jerusalem during festival time when all those thousands of people converged there...I have never hear anyone else talk about that.

VP said...

They are respectable Iron Age ruins, but I think that probably some of the early builders of those 'vaults' got an involuntary lapidation!

Dina said...

Hi Don of far-off Thanet! Glad to see you again!

Dick, really, it always amazes me how those rocks stay up there.
But I'm also always a bit scared to stand in those shomerot for very long.

Sara, I'm so glad you appreciate it. It's true. You can't walk around in the hills without feeling the presence of those who were before.
I'll try to post something about the pilgrimage times for you.

VP, haha!
I can laugh now that I have looked up your word lapidation.
Thanks for teaching me so much English.

Anonymous said...

Interesting reading. A good use for all those stones too. And they have stood the test of time.

I am home but not nearly back to normal. Have to see two doctors tomorrow. Hope I can get these bones to stop aching.

spacedlaw said...

This structure reminds me of rustic shepherds shelters.

Leif Hagen said...

Hey, who turned off the lights in here? Does someone have a flashlight?
Fun to catch up on your blog today

Petrea said...

This must be a very old one. It's good to know friends with the ancient skills to fix something so precious!