Dothan and Gitin’s “Ekron,” Scheuer’s “Phoenicians” Named Best BAR Articles
Trude Dothan and Seymour Gitin’s pair of articles on “Ekron of the Philistines” (“Part I: Where They Came From, How They Settled Down and the Place They Worshipped In,” BAR 16:01, and “Part II: Olive-Oil Suppliers to the World,” BAR 16:02) will share the Fellner Award for the best BAR article of 1990. The award, the fourth in a continuing series, carries a $500 prize. A second prize of $250 will go to Joan Scheuer for “Searching for the Phoenicians in Sardinia,” BAR 16:01.
The judges were John Laughlin, professor of religion and department chair at Averett College, and Norma Kershaw, a member of BAR’s Editorial Advisory Board and honorary trustee of the American Schools of Oriental Research.
The judges praised Dothan and Gitin’s articles as “BAR at its best—clear, concise presentations and interpretations of archaeological data that contribute significantly to the understanding of the history and culture of the ancient Near East.” They also appreciated the authors’ “graceful acknowledgment” of “modern scholarship’s debt to previous researchers” and noted that the “joint Israeli and American effort” at Tel Miqne-Ekron “has succeeded in placing the Philistines in a new light.”
Commenting on the articles individually, Laughlin said, “Dothan skillfully describes one of the most important cultural transitions in ancient Canaan: the beginning of the Iron Age and the arrival of the Sea Peoples. Her discussion underlines the eclectic nature of Philistine culture as well as its richness.” Of Gitin’s article, Laughlin said, “Gitin’s discussion of the Iron Age II period at Ekron is especially helpful for showing how archaeological data can be used to recover the economic and social history of an ancient site. His analysis of the connection between the cult and the olive-oil industry is particularly useful in attempting to assess the religion of the period.”
Dothan is the E. L. Sukenik Professor of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and co-director, with Gitin, of the excavation at Tel Miqne-Ekron. Gitin is director and professor of archaeology at the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem.
Laughlin expressed the hope that the award to Scheuer—the first to a non-professional, archaeological volunteer—would “inspire others to make contributions to the journal.” Laughlin cited Scheuer’s article as “a clear and informative discussion of the westward advance of the Phoenicians” and “a fresh view from a nonspecialist who has taken pains to be accurate in sketching background.” Kershaw noted that Scheuer’s article conveyed “the excitement and adventure of fieldwork in a realistic and responsible manner.” Readers “will surely be tempted to follow the Scheuers out into the field.”
Scheuer holds a doctorate in public administration and worked for ten years for the New York City Board of Education. Today she is a school finance consultant for New York City. She and her husband Richard, both certified divers, have assisted archaeologist Elisha Lindner in his explorations of ancient harbors and coastal installations throughout the Mediterranean.
Kershaw observed that “the high level of quality [in the 1990 issues of BAR] made our choice difficult, and we especially commend Tom Levy for “How Ancient Man First Utilized Rivers in the Desert,” BAR 16:06, a clear exposition of the role and techniques of field survey and an excellent analysis of the beginning of craft specialization, herding, agriculture, etc., during the pivotal Chalcolithic period.”
The Leopold and Clara M. Fellner Charitable Foundation, of which Frederick L. Simmons is trustee, underwrites the awards. Corresponding awards for the best articles in our sister publication, Bible Review, will be announced in its August issue.
Gulf War Aftermath: Some Digs Dig, Others Postpone
Biblical archaeology was, at least temporarily, one of the casualties of the Persian Gulf War. To learn the status of some of the digs featured in this year’s “Excavation Opportunities” article (see “1990 Excavation Opportunities,” BAR 16:01), BAR conducted an informal survey of dig directors. Most excavation directors, during the course of the war, continued planning for the coming season. Hence, their digs have proceeded as planned, with some extensions of application deadlines. Special circumstances, however, have forced the postponement of some digs.
The excavation at Ashkelon, featured in this issue (see “Eroticism and Infanticide at Ashkelon”) and in the two preceding issues, is proceeding right on schedule. Dig director Lawrence Stager reports that he received a flood of phone inquiries regarding the dig the day the war ended.
Digs at the village of Nahal Yattir will continue “full speed ahead” according to director Steven Derfler, though he admits the number of volunteers is down. The dates of the dig, July 10 through August 8, will remain the same.
Kenneth Holum’s land excavations at Caesarea Maritima are running as scheduled, as are the New Jersey Archaeological Consortium/Tel Aviv University excavations at Tel Hadar and James Strange’s University of South Florida dig at Sepphoris.
Several digs have postponed their work until next year: Tel Miqne-Ekron, Banias (Caesarea Philippi) and the Jordanian sites of Petra, Tell Safut and Tell el-‘Umeiri.
This straw poll is by no means exhaustive. For a more complete update of dig activity, contact the excavation directors listed in “1991 Excavation Opportunities,” BAR 17:01.
Exhibits Feature Biblical Plants, Greek Terra-cottas
The Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, presents “Herbs and Healing from the Bible to the Twentieth Century” through September 15. Displaying several dozen plants used in ancient pharmaceuticals, this exhibition traces the extensive use of plants in ancient medicinal practices and their applications in modern science.
The Garden, at 4905 5th Avenue, contains more than 100 temperate and tropical plants indigenous to Biblical lands and displays them in a setting that approximates the varied topography of the region. Call (412) 621–6566 for more information.
“Greek Terracottas of the Hellenistic World: The Coroplast’s Art,” an exhibition of more than fifty terra-cottas from the late fourth to the first centuries B.C., will be on view at the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard University through July 28. The museum is at 485 Broadway, in Cambridge, Massachusetts; telephone (617) 495–2397.
Terra-cotta, or baked clay, has been used by artists in architectural decoration and in figurines and sculpture since the Stone Age. The Greek “coroplasts” (modelers of small figures) worked with it extensively because the material was both inexpensive and easily mass-produced.
Distribution Fund Succeeds
In our Queries & Comments, BAR 17:01, we asked readers to help us send selected back issues of BAR and Bible Review to institutions unable to pay for them, by making donations to cover the cost of shipping. Your generous response has enabled us to give back issues and free subscriptions not only to the institutions that you have chosen, but also to fill some of the numerous requests that we receive weekly from around the world.
We have delivered shipments to needy churches in Zaire, Nigeria, London and Tennessee, as well as to prisons in Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia. A hospital in New York and several charitable institutions across the U.S. have received complimentary subscriptions thanks to a generous benefactor who simply wrote a check and enclosed a blank multiple subscription form.
We will continue this worthwhile endeavor with your help. Keep sending us the names and addresses, and, if you are able, a check to cover mailing expenses.
Archaeological Photography Workshop
Anyone interested in obtaining hands-on experience in excavation photography will get the opportunity at the summer workshop “Photography in Archaeology,” to be held in Annapolis, Maryland, from July 7 through 12. Sponsored by the Eastman Kodak Company and Johns Hopkins University, the program will combine classroom lectures, studio lighting demonstrations, darkroom sessions and field work in the historical district of Annapolis. Aaron Levin, former chief photographer at Tel Anafa, in Israel, will conduct-the course-with University of Maryland archaeologist Mark Leone, who is beginning his tenth year of excavation in Annapolis.
Designed to improve existing photographic documentation of archaeological finds and to increase the number of archaeological photographers, the workshop is open to anyone with a strong interest in archaeology and a willingness to learn. The cost of the workshop is $400. Students are responsible for their own accommodations. For more information, call (301) 338–7428, or write: The School of Continuing Studies, Johns Hopkins University, 204 Shaffer Hall, Baltimore, Maryland 21218.