Albright the Beautician Reveals Secrets of Queen Esther’s Cosmetic Aids

After Esther, ward of Mordecai, entered the harem of the Persian king Ahasuerus, she, along with the other virgins from whom the King would choose his queen, underwent a year’s preparation before being taken to the King. The Bible tells us that:

A Futile Quest: The Search for Noah’s Ark

A recent Readers’ Digest article which suggests that the remains of Noah’s Ark may yet be found atop Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey has rekindled enormous interest in the quest.1

I. The Debate Continues

The evidence was puzzling. There were these long, narrow rooms—three to a building (see illustrations). Each of the two side rooms was separated from the center room by a row of stone pillars, rather than a wall. Holes had been cut through the corners of some of the stone pillars. Between the stone pillars […]

How the Wealthy Lived in Herodian Jerusalem

Since it opened last spring at the Israel Museum, the exhibition of finds from the Jewish Quarter excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem has been drawing large and enthusiastic crowds. And well it should. On display are the exciting results of six years of digging in an area only a few hundred yards […]

II. In Defense of the Stables at Megiddo

After several seasons of excavations at Megiddo, I believe I have proven that the two groups of buildings commonly referred to as “Solomon’s Stables” are not Solomonic but must date to approximately the reign of Ahab.1 However, I do not challenge the conclusion of the original Megiddo excavators that the buildings are indeed stables. […]

Hazor and the Battle of Joshua—Is Joshua 11 Wrong?

In his article “Hazor and The Battle of Deborah—Is Judges 4 Wrong?” BAR 01:04, Yohanan Aharoni writes (concerning the apparent endorsement by the BAR editor of my view that Judges 4 is “a late inaccurate gloss”): “Don’t reject the historicity of the Biblical text so easily”.

The Death and Burial of St. Peter

Literary tradition is clear that St. Peter was crucified in Rome and was buried at a place called Vatican. Archaeology has confirmed that the Church of St. Peter was built above, and to commemorate, the place of his burial.

“Put Your Hand Under My Thigh”—The Patriarchal Oath

In Genesis 24:2–9 Abraham has his servant Eliezer put his hand under the Patriarch’s thigh to swear “by the Lord, the God of heaven and earth” that the servant will not arrange a marriage for Abraham’s son Isaac with a Canaanite woman. Similarly, in Genesis 47:29–31 the dying Patriarch Jacob has his son Joseph […]

III. Afterword

Perhaps the most conspicuous omission from Yadin’s article is any reference to his own site, Hazor, where a similar building was found, including shelves between the pillars on which mangers might have been placed. Yet in his Hazor report, despite these inter-pillar installations, Yadin states as to the Hazor buildings, “There is no similarity […]

Found in Jerusalem: Remains of the Babylonian Siege

On the last day of his 1975 season Professor Nachman Avigad of Hebrew University, digging in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, discovered four arrowheads buried in ashes at the base of a massive stone defense tower. The tower was built by the Israelites more than 2600 years ago—before the Babylonian […]

Oldest Hebrew Letters Found Near Tel Aviv

A clay tablet containing 80 Hebrew letters arranged in five lines has been found in an excavation outside Tel Aviv at Izbet Sarte. The letters appear to date from about the end of the 11th century B.C.—the time of Saul and David. If this dating is correct, the letters are older by about 100 years than the earliest previously known Hebrew writing.

The Kibbutz Sasa Kernos

A picture of the kernos found at Kibbutz Sasa and briefly described in our December, 1975 issue (“Two Cases of Discrimination,” BAR 01:04) has now been released to The Biblical Archaeology Review by the Israel Antiquities Department. A kernos (plural: kernoi) is a hollow pottery ring usually about 12 inches in diameter with various […]

Clothes Maketh the Man—An Insight from Ancient Ugarit

King Saul had his problems with young David, but this did not prevent an unusually close relationship from developing between David and Saul’s son Jonathan. Indeed, the Bible reports that Jonathan “made a covenant with David, because he loved him as dearly as himself. Jonathan stripped off the cloak that he was wearing and […]

BAR’s Bicentennial Salute—The United States Navy Explores the Holy Land

In 1847 Lieutenant William F. Lynch of the United States Navy had completed his tour of duty in the recent Mexican War. He was restless and 46 years old. For 20 years he had had a dream. The time had come to realize his dream.

The Evolution of a Church—Jerusalem’s Holy Sepulchre

Father Charles Couäsnonwas already a practicing architect when he entered the Dominican Order of Preachers. Since 1954, he has been actively engaged in the restoration work of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, aimed at repairing the extensive damage caused to the church by fire in the 19th century and by earthquake […]

Kathleen Kenyon Replies to the “BAR”

As reported in the December issue of the BAR (Queries & Comments, BAR 01:04), at the time we went to press with that issue, we had received no reply from Kathleen Kenyon to the articles in our September issue (“Kathleen Kenyon’s Anti-Zionist Politics—Does It Affect Her Work?” BAR 01:03), although we had written Dr. […]

How to Save Money on the New Archaeological Encyclopedia

They’re all here. Kenyon, Mazar and Avigad on Jerusalem, Yadin on Hazor, Aharoni on Beer-Sheva, Dever on Gezer, Callaway on Ai, Wright on Shechem, Pritchard on Gibeon, and on and on. With an appropriately ponderous and descriptive title, The Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land will eventually comprise four volumes, the first two of which have already appeared in Israel.

Hezekiah’s Tunnel Re-Opens

A tunnel 1750 feet long constructed by King Hezekiah to protect the water supply of Jerusalem from the Assyrians during Sennacherib’s siege of 701 B.C. has recently re-opened.

The Ancient Cardo Is Discovered in Jerusalem

excavations in Jerusalem have revealed a portion of the ancient Cardo—the principal street through the city depicted on the mid-6th century A.D. Madaba map (see illustrations). This famous mosaic map of the Holy Land, which contains the earliest known representation of Jerusalem, shows the city in crowded, stylized detail as it appeared at […]

American “Lawrence of Arabia” Dies

Wendell Phillips, dead at the age of 54, was surely the world’s richest archaeologist. The “riches” part of his rags-to-riches story resulted from hundred of oil leases which gave him the right to extract and sell the black gold. At his death, he was the largest individual holder of oil concessions in the world. […]

Rare Bronze Statue of Hadrian Found by Tourist

Shortly after major pieces of an extraordinary bronze statue had been dug up illegally by an American tourist, Gideon Foerster of the Israel Department of Antiquities received an urgent call from a former student describing the find. The tourist, an American named Morton Leventhal, had been wandering around with a metal detector looking for […]

A Life of Albright

Leona Running has written an adoring biography of the dean of Biblical archaeologists, William Foxwell Albright.a Now Professor of Biblical Languages at Andrews University, Dr. Running served as secretary and assistant to the great American archaeologist during the last years of his life. The book, as she says in the preface, is “a labor […]

Excavating Anthropoid Coffins in the Gaza Strip

Trude Dothan arrived at the Gaza checkpoint precisely at eight in the morning. She had left her Jerusalem flat before dawn, had driven westward down the umber Judean hills toward the coast, then headed south toward Ashkelon—3,000 years ago, a powerful city-state within the Philistine pentapolis—now, a thriving Israeli city. South of Ashkelon, there […]

A Temple at Dor

Again the telephone rang. An antiquities dealer was calling the professor. From previous calls, Professor Nachman Avigad of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem knew the antiquities dealer. The two men had come to like and trust each other. Each knew what the other wanted and each was willing to supply it.

Yohanan Aharoni—The Man and His Work

Research in the land of the Bible has suffered a heavy loss in the untimely death of Yohanan Aharoni, chairman of the Department of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University. To his associates he has bequeathed the task of continuing and summarizing the achievements of his last great project, the investigation of the Biblical Negev.

Israelite Conquest or Settlement? New Light from Tell Masos

One of the most vexed problems of Biblical history and archaeology concerns the nature of the Israelite occupation of Canaan. With the occupation, Israel became a nation and at that time its national history begins. However, the Bible itself reflects at least two views of this beginning.

Archaeology as a Love Affair

Archaeology is a love affair between an archaeologist and an ancient ruin. The ruin heap may be a shipwrecked galleon, an isolated stone circle in a vast desert, or the fallen walls of a fortress still uncovered by the sands of time. There are some 5,000 ruin heaps in ancient Palestine, within the modern […]

The Promise of Ebla

“I agree with practically every point you make,” Ebla excavator Paolo Matthiae told BAR editor Hershel Shanks, referring to the September BAR article (Queries & Comments, BAR 02:03) cautioning against sensationalizing the already famous Ebla Tablets. “Nothing we have found can affect the historicity of the patriarchs,” stated the young Italian excavator who has […]

Using Neutron Activation Analysis to Establish the Provenance of Pottery

During the last 25 years, professional archaeologists have become accustomed to relying on a wide variety of experts, both on the dig and afterward. Today no excavation would go into the field without an architect and photographer, or hesitate to call in a numismatist or bone specialist to study the collected material. A geologist, […]

The Differences Between Israelite Culture and the Other Major Cultures of the Ancient Near East

The easiest and most common approach to the question of the relation between the culture of the Israelites as compared with other peoples of the Near East is to point out particular similarities between details of the Old Testament and of other ancient near eastern works. This presents no difficulty: Only one instance on either side is needed to prove a positive statement. Consequently a great many such similarities have been pointed out, and it is time that someone made a full collection of them.

Ancient Royal Library Found

A newly discovered ancient library which scholars say will rival the famous collections from Mari, Nuzi and Amarna has been found in northern Syria at the site of Tell Mardikh (modern Ebla). More than 15,000 clay tablets written about 4500 years ago in cuneiform characters were excavated in two small rooms which apparently served as the King’s palace library.

Papyrus Manufacture Once Again a Monopoly in Egypt

Hassan el Sayyid Ragab, an electrical engineer and former diplomat, is one of the world’s more exotic entrepreneurs. His factory is a houseboat on the Nile in the shadow of the Cairo Sheraton Hotel.

Cache of Hebrew and Phoenician Inscriptions Found in the Desert

Over 100 years ago Edward Palmer explored the Sinai desert and recorded his findings in a still fascinating book entitled The Desert of the Exodus. At a site called by the Arabs Kuntillat, Palmer found some architectural remains which he identified as a Roman outpost on the ancient road from Gaza to Eilat. According […]

How the Septuagint Differs

In a fascinating article, Pere Pierre Benoit of the École Biblique et Archéologique Française in Jerusalem, raises anew the question whether the Septuagint translation of the Bible is divinely inspired. Whether or not one agrees with Pere Benoit that it is, his careful discussion of some differences between the Septuagint and the Hebrew text is illuminating and instructive.

From the Volunteer’s Viewpoint: History by the Bucketful

“What brings you here?” is a frequent question of introduction when Tell Beer-Sheva volunteers introduce one another. The answers reveal students of archaeology from various universities coming for field experience, others looking for a new or different experience, Biblical students, or volunteers, like myself, interested in archaeology, this land and its history, or wanting […]

Opportunities for Volunteers

Opportunities for volunteers on archaeological excavations next summer are numerous and varied.

American Tourist Returns “Hazor” Tablet to Israel After 13 Years

In the fall of 1962, 22-year-old Jesse Salsberg was honeymooning in Israel with his 19-year-old bride. An observant Jew and a graduate of New York’s Yeshiva University, Salsberg was thinking of settling permanently in Israel.

Danaans and Danites—Were the Hebrews Greek?

Cyrus Gordon—the brilliant, maverick scholar—has spent a significant part of his professional life searching for connections between the early Greeks and Hebrews. His most popular effort in this area is a book entitled The Common Background of Greek and Hebrew Civilizations (New York: Norton, 1966).