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Rotary Club Turns to Own Member for Biblical Archaeology Program Thursday

The Carmi Rotary club had a quick presentation from one of their own on Thursday.

Pastor Randy Douglass spoke to the club about one of his interests; archeology. Pastor Randy explained that he became interested in that subject several years ago, and more specifically in Biblical archeology.

On a trip to the holy land a few years ago, he was part of a group that got to tour several archeological sites, some around the “city of David”. While there actually go to watch a historic dig in process. In this dig, several clay seals were discovered that dated back centuries. He explained that in 586BC the city of Jerusalem burned, and because of this fire, the clay seals actually became ceramic and survived the heat. These seals were used to preserve scrolls, and many of the names on the seals can be found in the Bible!

The pastor went on to tell about a situation during the Clinton presidency. At that time, President Clinton was trying to get Israel and the Palestinians together, and one of his initiatives was to give the Temple Mount site to the Palestinians, but to give Israel everything below the temple. This caused a major panic in the Palestinians, so before the turnover date they removed 400 dump truck loads of property from the temple. While this was a major issue at the time, eventually historians were able to work through the 400 truckloads of property and found many, many historic artifacts.

Pastor Douglass then showed a short video by archeologist Dr. James Fleming. Dr. Fleming spent thirty years in Jerusalem, and told the story of how he accidentally discovered part of the original Eastern gate of the holy city. The Dr. explained that one night in 1969, as a student in Israel, he was out for a walk, taking pictures of various parts of the city. He came to the Eastern gate, and while standing in the Muslim cemetery in front of the gate, the earth gave way and he fell eight feet in to a grave.

He explained that the city had been experiencing heavy rains, and the rain had loosened the soil enough to cause the cave-in. He also said that when his eyes became accustomed to the darkness, he realized he was standing in a mass grave, with approximately 46 skeletons in one spot. He took out his camera and took a few pictures, and while taking these photos he realized the back wall of the grave was the original Eastern Gate that people had been searching for.

He managed to use stones that had fallen in with him to build steps out of the tomb, and waited until the next day to tell his professor of his discovery. Unfortunately, by the time they arrived back later that day, the tomb had already been resealed. Luckily his photos survived, and they became the basis of a dig that proved the existing of the original gate.

In club business, Kent Armstrong hit the triple crown, winning the 50/50 drawing, pulling the winning ball to claim the cash jackpot, and being named as the day’s phantom.

The club briefly discussed the upcoming Rotary Fish Fry, which will be held on Friday, May 17th at the American Legion on Oak Street in Carmi. Fried catfish and all the sides will be served from 5:00 until 7:00 that evening. The cost per ticket is only ten dollars and no one will be leaving hungry.

The Carmi Rotary club meets every Thursday at noon at the First United Methodist Church on Main Street in Carmi. Anyone wishing to learn more about this civic organization is welcome to attend a meeting or speak with any Carmi Rotari