Israel Government Press Office

Two schools of thought, embodied by two men—Yigael Yadin (right), the prototypical Biblical archaeologist, and his arch-rival Yohanan Aharoni (left)—meet on a stone wall at Hazor. Yadin directed excavations here between 1955 and 1958; Aharoni worked as a senior staff member.

Rooting his interpretations in the Bible, Yadin assigned monumental gateways from Gezer, Megiddo and Hazor to King Solomon. Although his commitment to the Bible reflected his ethnic and national consciousness rather than religious commitment, Yadin, like his predecessors, was mainly interested in royal building enterprises, military campaigns and wholesale destructions rather than in social or cultural processes.

Yohanan Aharoni revolutionized archaeological study in Israel by searching for early Israelite settlers outside the main Canaanite tells. He concluded from the small unwalled villages he found in the Upper Galilee that the Israelite Settlement was a largely peaceful infiltration, contrary to the Biblical description of the Conquest, to which Yadin remained committed. Aharoni’s modest study evolved by the next generation of Israeli archaeologists into regional archaeology, in which archaeologists examine the ecology, economy and physical setting of entire regions.