Each year thousands of tourists visit the sprawling site of Caesarea on its beautiful strip of Mediterranean shore. Everyone observes the Crusader fortifications and the Byzantine streets and statues at Caesarea, but few can picture in detail the earliest city and harbor built by Herod the Great and described so vividly by Josephus Flavius. In this issue two articles focus on Herod’s Caesarea Maritima. The first article, “Caesarea Maritima—The Search for Herod’s City,” by Robert J. Bull, outlines the archaeological clues which have revealed the elaborate Herodian city plan with its network of streets, its vast storage vaults, its sea-flushed sewers, its monumental buildings. The second article, “Caesarea Beneath the Sea,” by Robert L. Hohlfelder, tells how archaeologists in scuba gear are studying the submerged remains of the impressive Herodian port, once a thriving center of east-west trade.
Robert Bull is Professor of Church History at Drew University, and for the last ten years, has served as director of the Joint Expedition to Caesarea. Prior to embarking on the dig at Caesarea, Bull excavated at Shechem, Balatah, Ai, Pella, Tell-er-Ras and Khirbet Shema. For Bull, the Joint Expedition to Caesarea is a family affair. Vivian Bull, Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts of Drew University, is Registrar of the dig. Their son Carlson, age 10, was born in Israel. Dr. Bull claims that Carlson has been digging at Caesarea since he was two days old, along with his older brother, Robert Camper. During the academic year, Bull serves as director of Drew University’s Institute for Archaeological Research, and he is a volunteer for the Madison, New Jersey, rescue squad.
Robert Hohlfelder, Professor of History at the University of Colorado and proficient scuba diver, is also a specialist in numismatics, underwater archaeology and late Roman-early Byzantine history. Before coming to Caesarea, he excavated on land and below the water in Greece, Italy, and Spain.
The excavations at Caesarea have attracted 2,000 volunteers over the last ten years. One 1974 participant, Janet Crisler of Carmel, California became concerned with preserving and restoring the city, threatened now by local development. Acting on her concern, she formed “Caesarea World Monument,” a project with ambitious plans for the site. Crisler is co-author of Loaves and Fishes, Foods From Bible Times.
In our previous issue, we presented two views of the Israelite conquest of Canaan, by Yigael Yadin and Abraham Malamat. This issue brings another renowned scholar to the forum. We are pleased to publish, “The Israelite Occupation of Canaan,” an excerpt from Yohanan Aharoni’s The Archaeology of the Land of Israel: From the Prehistoric Beginnings to the End of the First Temple Period, to be published shortly in English. Aharoni, who died in 1976, and Yadin had a well-known and long-running debate about the Israelite penetration of Canaan. Their followers on both sides still argue the many issues involved. During his distinguished career, Aharoni excavated Ramat Rahel, Iron Age Arad, and Beersheba, and organized surveys of the Galilee and the Negev. After teaching at Hebrew University, he founded Tel Aviv University’s Institute of Archaeology which he led until his death. Two of his many publications are reviewed in this issue in Books in Brief.
During the last year, Johns Hopkins University Professor Hans Goedicke has been at the center of a heated controversy over the location and dating of the Exodus, much of which has appeared in BAR. The complexion of this controversy recently changed from red-hot to yellow with the publication in the Washington Journalism Review of an attack on Professor Goedicke, suggesting he doctored the evidence. Editor Hershel Shanks responds with “In Defense of Hans Goedicke,” in which he charges the Washington Journalism Review and Washington Post editor Lee Lescaze with sloppy journalism and worse.
It may come as a surprise to many of our readers, as it did to us, that American involvement in Holy Land archaeology is dominated almost exclusively by Protestants. Followers of William Foxwell Albright, Ernest 005Wright, Frank Cross and many others fill American archaeology ranks in Israel. Perhaps this disclosure (see “In America, Biblical Archaeology Was—and Still Is—Largely a Protestant Affair”) will encourage American Jewish and American Catholic organizations to redress the balance—by encouraging the training of scholars, by supporting excavations, and by disseminating information about Biblical archaeology to their constituencies. We hope so.
In the 1930’s, William Foxwell Albright excavated Tell Beit Mirsim and discovered a large number of stone basins. Their function was, according to Nancy Miller, “A Puzzle for Albright,” who, for a time, speculated that these basins were dye vats. How the puzzle was solved is the subject of her BAR, Jr. article describing an ancient technology still used today. Miller, a graduate of Princeton University, was formerly a member of the BAR editorial staff. She now lives in New York and is Managing Editor of Congress Monthly.
This issue introduces a new BAR department, to accompany “Books in Brief.” While “Books in Brief” will continue to present in-depth reviews, the new department will offer short content descriptions. We call the new department “Even Briefer.”
Each year thousands of tourists visit the sprawling site of Caesarea on its beautiful strip of Mediterranean shore. Everyone observes the Crusader fortifications and the Byzantine streets and statues at Caesarea, but few can picture in detail the earliest city and harbor built by Herod the Great and described so vividly by Josephus Flavius. In this issue two articles focus on Herod’s Caesarea Maritima. The first article, “Caesarea Maritima—The Search for Herod’s City,” by Robert J. Bull, outlines the archaeological clues which have revealed the elaborate Herodian city plan with its network of streets, its vast storage vaults, its […]