Biblical Archaeology Review 36:3, May/June 2010

Strata: What Is It?

A. Persian magnet

B. Philistine plow point

C. Roman key

D. Assyrian shackle

E. Urartian horseshoe

Answer: B) Philistine plow point

This two-pronged iron plow point was found among a cache of agricultural tools buried at the Philistine city of Ekron in the late seventh century B.C. Such points, which would have been attached to wooden handles, were the business ends of the simple scratch plows that were used to break up and loosen the hard, rocky soils that are found throughout the hilly regions of Palestine. Their narrow prongs were not intended to turn over the soil, but rather to create shallow furrows in which the seeds of wheat, barley, olives and other Mediterranean crops could then be spread and planted. In the Bible, plow points and other everyday agricultural tools are regularly associated with peace and prosperity, as when Isaiah speaks of the day in which all battling nations will “beat their swords into plow points, and their spears into pruning hooks” (Isaiah 2:4).

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