David Rubinger/Jerusalem Post/courtesy of Avraham Biran

Serving as director of the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums (today the Israel Antiquities Authority), Biran (center) leads a group of dignitaries on a 1962 visit to the just-discovered Cave of Letters, a site in the Judean wilderness that yielded a trove of documents and personal items belonging to a group of Jews hiding from the Romans during the Second Jewish Revolt (132–135 B.C.). At far left is Teddy Kollek, at the time head of Israel’s tourism office and soon to become Jerusalem’s long-serving mayor (1965–1993); in the light jacket is Benjamin Mazar, one of Israel’s most distinguished archaeologists, who was later to excavate the area around the Temple Mount; in the background, between Mazar and Biran, is Joseph Aviram, then the director of Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology and today the longtime head of the Israel Exploration Society; at far right is General Avraham Yoffe.