James Whitred/Courtesy the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon

THE FINER POINTS OF POTTERY. Stager (left) studies some of the Ashkelon finds with his mentor, famed Israeli archaeologist Benjamin Mazar. Mazar often invited Stager to his Jerusalem home on Shabbat in the 1980s and 1990s to discuss historical or archaeological problems. Stager recalls that Mazar was “a very creative, extraordinary Biblical historian.” It was Mazar who encouraged Stager to start an excavation at Ashkelon.