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Second Sinai Expedition in November 1999
The second expedition took place in the third week of November 1999 during the full moon. It included the same two Egyptians, Douglas Vogt and Vic Ardelean. In addition we brought three more geologists, Richard, Larry and Frank. Frank is a PhD. in sedimentology and Richard was my college geology professor. Larry was a graduate from Colorado school of mines. So all of us knew what we were doing and what to look for. We were there for about a week and had a lot to do to survey everything found the previous expedition. We also did sample diggings in the are to determine dating of the study area. I split up the group into two and sometimes three teams for some of the excavations. When you see some of these altar pictures, remember that God told Moses to use unhoned stone and also you are looking at altars that are 3320+ years old. The Bedouins took many of the stones on top of the hill for their own burials so the altars are missing many of their stones.
The Sacrificial Altar and the Ark platform.
Vic and I did the measuring on the Ark altar (see pictures)
Caption below: The Ark altar or platform which was inside the Tabernacle (a tilt-up building).
Caption: The Author standing in front of the sacrificial altar in 1997. The altar is 3323 years old so that is why it appears as it does today. God instructed Moses to use only unhoned stone. I think that was done so there would be something left after 3310 years or else it would have been destroyed a long time ago.
Caption below: This drawing is the result of measurements taken after finding the edges of the altar. The altar was one sacred cubit high which converts to 24.136 inches.
Caption: Richard is seen in the background doing the measurements on the sacrificial altar. Vic is in the foreground where we are trying to determine the height of the Ark altar.
Caption below: This drawing shows what the sacrificial altar looks like today and what the original design was at the time of Moses. The altar was round with one step built in. The square sacrificial brass table fit over the round altar and its legs rested on the step.
The Location of the 12 standards.
Larry and Frank did the survey of the 12 standards on the south side of the hill. There was a two foot grid laid out using strings stretched out over the altar. These 12 piles are not going to look nice and neat. You are looking at something that is 3305 years old.
Caption below: Larry is the man on the right and Frank is on the left. I wanted them to do the survey here so I did not influence their results and to see if they also came up with 12 piles of rocks as I did in 1997. They did and marked each pile.
Caption: Here Larry and Frank are seeing if the piles are in rows and is there any organized pattern to the layout. There was and that being three rows of four each. If you look closely you can see the two foot grid that was laid out.
Caption below: Displayed are some of the piles. Numbers 6, 7, 10, 11 and 12 are marked. They used a wide magic marker on one of the bigger rocks. When they were done with their survey they turned over those rocks.
Aaron's Altar and the Golden Calf
Aaron’s altar was surveyed and excavated by Larry and Richard. I setup the grid and photographed the altar before they did their excavation. They found ostrich shells and bone fragments in the altar. This part of the Sinai was a savanna over 3,300 years ago where ostriches did exist. Due west of Aaron’s altar I found the remains of the platform where the golden calf was placed. It was only about four feet from the edge of the wadi. Moses mentions that a brook flowed from the hill past Aaron’s altar and in fact as you can see in the photo there is a dry stream bed there.
Caption below: Aaron's altar as seen from the top of the cliff. Richard is on the left and Mr. Vogt is the other. This was taken just before the two foot grid was laid down.
Caption: Aaron's altar looking east. From left to right: Douglas Vogt, Vic and Larry.
Caption below: Another view of Aaron's altar after the two foot grid was laid down.
Caption: At Aaron's altar with Richard taking pictures. In the background is the location of the altar where the golden calf was located just a few feet from the edge of the wadi.
Caption below: Here Larry is sampling the contents of the altar to find organic material that could be dated. Bone and an ostrich shell was found. 3,300 years ago this part of the Sinai was a savanna and ostriches did inhabit the area as well as other animals no longer present.
Caption: Some of the objects found inside Aaron's sacrificial altar. The three items on the left are bone fragments. The other is part of an ostrich shell.
In Exodus it tells us that the Ark was made from Acacia wood. We did find acacia trees along the wadi. Here is one that Larry found some shade under for one of those few times we could take a break.
The First Altar Moses had Built.
The first altar Moses had constructed was located at the south-western end of Mount Sinai. That was one of the first altars I found in the 1997 expedition. During the 1999 expedition Vic and I did the excavation on that altar to see how it was built. The following are just a few of the pictures taken of that altar. The book has many more as well as a detailed description. The same can be said for all the altars found at Mount Sinai. There was a two foot grid laid out using strings stretched out over the altar before digging began
Caption: Vic is the one sitting down as we sift the contents of the slit trench. What we discovered was that the altar was made from two-three different types of river clay. The top of the altar was covered with flat limestone rocks used like a pavement. Remember you are looking at an altar that is over 3320 years old.
A contribution to the Diehold Foundation will permit the continuation of this kind of research and fund another expedition to the real Mount Sinai.
Days to the Next Polar Reversal.
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