David Harris

Yigael Yadin holds Babatha’s archive, one of the last objects salvaged from the deep crevice in which he stands. Tied tightly with palm fronds, the carefully wrapped bundle gaped at the end, tantalizing Yadin with a view of myriad scrolls. Though he did not immediately open the bundle for fear that the scrolls would crumble, the objects already drawn from the hole—an iron frying pan, a jewelry box, a mirror, wooden bowls, knives and sandals (packed by archaeologists in the boxes near Yadin)—led the excavators to believe that the stash belonged to a woman. They were right.