Courtesy Philip J. King

Dromedary dramatics. Nelson Glueck strikes a Lawrence-of-Arabia pose while exploring the vast wilderness of the Negev desert. This adventurer-rabbi-excavator straddled a pivotal era in Biblical archaeology: Before him, researchers came to the Holy Land hoping to unearth Biblical cities and ancient treasures; by the end of Glueck’s career—and thanks in good part to his own work—the field of archaeology was firmly entrenched as a scientific discipline.

Glueck began his career in the 1920s under William Foxwell Albright at Tell Beit Mirsim, the excavation that first established the chronology of pottery styles in ancient Israel. Glueck made his own mark surveying in Transjordan and the Negev from the 1930s to the 1960s, using a four-wheeled jeep rather than a four-legged creature to traverse the long distances. As Thomas Levy explains in the accompanying article on the evolution of excavation techniques, archaeologists today are not to be found perched on the hump of a camel but rather hunched over their computer monitors.