Chief Dead Sea Scroll Editor Denounces Judaism, Israel; Claims He’s Seen Four More Scrolls Found by Bedouin

John Strugnell, chief editor of the Dead Sea Scrolls, agreed to an interview provided I report it not only in the Hebrew paper for which I write, Ha-Aretz, but also in an English-language publication. The Hebrew article appeared in Ha-Aretz on November 9, 1990. The following article, for BAR, fulfills my obligation to report […]

Six Biblical Signatures
Seals and seal impressions of six biblical personages recovered By Tsvi Schneider

Hebrew University professor Nahman Avigad, the world’s leading authority on Hebrew seals, lamented that “among the hundreds of Hebrew seals and seal-impressions dating from biblical times known up to now, not one of their owners can be identified with absolute certainty with a person mentioned in the Bible.”1 That was in 1978. Today, […]

BAS Publishes Dead Sea Scrolls
Available to anyone

The monopoly held by the small coterie of scholars who control the still-secret Dead Sea Scrolls is slowly being broken.

Why Were Hundreds of Dogs Buried at Ashkelon?

This is part II of a three-part article. Part I appeared in the last issue (“When Canaanites and Philistines Ruled Ashkelon,” BAR 17:02). Part III will appear in the next issue (“Eroticism and Infanticide at Ashkelon,” BAR 17:04). Ancient Ashkelon, now quietly nestled beside the Mediterranean in the south of Israel, is shaped […]

Rainey’s Challenge

In a brilliant piece of detective work entitled “3,200-Year-Old Picture of Israelites Found in Egypt,” BAR 16:05, Frank J. Yurco analyzes the reliefs on a wall of the Cour de la Cachette in the Karnak temple in Upper Egypt. But he points to the wrong picture as that of Israelites. This has disastrous results […]

Israel Enters Canaan—Following the Pottery Trail

After 12 years of surveying and excavating in the land allotted in the Bible to the tribe of Manasseh, it is now possible to suggest new ideas on the emergence of Israel in Canaan, beginning at the end of the Late Bronze Age (13th century B.C.E.a) and continuing into Iron Age I (1200–1000 […]

Major Players

New Chief Editors Emanuel Tov. A brilliant young scholar from Hebrew University. Whether he is an effective administrator remains to be seen. Recently published a fragmentary scroll of the 12 minor prophets in Greek.

Eroticism and Infanticide at Ashkelon

This is part III of a three-part article. Part II appeared in the last issue (“Why Were Hundreds of Dogs Buried at Ashkelon?” BAR 17:03).

Qatzrin—Reconstructing Village Life in Talmudic Times

Before 1967, the Golan Heights was, archaeologically speaking, terra incognita. Since then, surveys and excavations have revealed a rich Jewish life there during the third through eighth centuries C.E.,a what may be regarded as the talmudic and early medieval periods in Jewish history.b For nine years I (Ann Killebrew) have been directing excavations […]

Silence, Anti-Semitism and the Scrolls

Did you ever wonder what the dean of Harvard Divinity School does with his time? He attends meetings—all day—at least when a senior member of his faculty gives a virulently anti-Semitic interview to the press.

Yurco’s Response

Anson Rainey’s article is most welcome. He presents strong support for my overall interpretation of the battle reliefs on the western outer wall of the Cour de la Cachette in the Karnak temple in Egypt. He has interpreted the evidence much as I did, including an overall consideration of Merenptah’s work in the decoration […]

The Trek of the Tribes as They Settled in Canaan

If Biblical traditions represent some kind of historical memory, albeit edited, it should be interesting to examine the geographical involvement of the various tribes in each other’s territorial allotment. This may indicate the early presence of these families, or tribes, in another’s territory before the final division of the land took place. Moreover, this […]

From the Press

Our publication of the first fascicle of the secret Dead Sea Scrolls, reconstructed by Professor Ben-Zion Wacholder and Martin Abegg of Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, received worldwide press coverage. The New York Times and the Washington Post ran their stories on the front page. TV and radio—from CNN to MacNeil/Lehrer—gave the story extensive […]

Understanding Asherah—Exploring Semitic Iconography

I would like to focus on a single well-known archaeological artifact as an entry into ancient Semitic iconography. More specifically, I would like to examine the Lachish ewer—and related artifacts—in order better to understand the ancient Canaanite goddess Asherah,1 who is mentioned at least 40 times in the Hebrew Bible. From the Biblical references, […]

Huntington Library Releases Scroll Photographs

As we go to press, the front pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post have announced that the prestigious Huntington Library in San Marino, California, will release photographs of the unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls to all scholars, a step that BAR has been urging for years.

Beauty and Utility in Bone
New light on bone crafting By Paula Wapnish

In the last issue of BAR, Larry Stager described the unique dog cemetery discovered at Ashkelon in the Persian period.a Another unique aspect of the Persian period (538–332 B.C.) strata at the site is the quantity of worked animal bones—not only finished artifacts but also bones at various earlier stages in the manufacturing process […]

The Temple Mount in Court
Will Israel’s supreme court prevent the destruction of ancient remains? By Stephen J. Adler

The question of Israel’s responsibility to prevent the destruction of ancient remains on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is now before Israel’s Supreme Court. The case demands a difficult and complex balancing of Muslim rights to administer and control the Temple Mount, on the one hand, and the Israel government’s obligation to enforce laws […]

Herod’s Lady’s Earring?

“Something shiny caught my eye,” Dan Rodriguez recalls, reliving his moment of discovery. In June 1989, the 34-year-old Rodriguez—a pastor from Santurce, Puerto Rico—was walking down the steep path from the top of Herodium. He had just accompanied a group of Spanish-speaking students on an archaeological study-tour to this palace-fortress of Herod the Great, […]

Scholars Exchange–Work in Progress

The Biblical Archaeology Society is establishing a “Scholars Exchange” for “Work In Progress” relating to the Dead Sea Scrolls. If it proves useful, we will consider expanding it to other areas of Biblical studies. Here’s how it works: 1. Any scholar may send us a topic on which he/she is working. We will announce this on a regular roster in BAR.

Israel’s Antiquities Authority Sides with Recalcitrant Scholars—No Photographs To Be Released

Israel’s Antiquities Authority has turned down an offer by a major American philanthropic foundation to provide up to $100,000 to publish a book of photographs of the unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls. In a letter to the foundation, General Amir Drori, director of Israel’s Antiquities Authority, stated:

The Past Meets the Future: Reconstructing with Computers

Archaeologists working around the globe are discovering that ancient artifacts and architecture may now be better understood by applying advanced computer technology. Computers can give archaeologists invaluable assistance with mapping and creating models, cataloging and performing statistical analyses. Some archaeologists are even taking portable computers right into the trenches, though more are using them […]

Please Return the Siloam Inscription to Jerusalem

The Siloam Inscription is the most famous, most significant and most precious ancient Hebrew inscription ever discovered. Carved in elegant paleo-Hebrew letters, the kind used by the Israelites before the Babylonian Exile, it was found in 1880 carved in the rock wall of Hezekiah’s Tunnel, beneath the oldest inhabited part of Jerusalem known as […]

Team Scholars Working Hard on Dead Sea Scrolls

6According to a report issued by the Israel Antiquities Authority, five scholars are now engaged full time in preparing Dead Sea Scrolls for publication. Approximately 30 others are spending part time on the task.

VanderKam Reneges

In the high stakes world of Dead Sea Scroll texts, things are not always what they seem. Take Professor James C. VanderKam’s offer to let anyone see the unpublished texts of Jubilees recently assigned to him for publication.

Buzz or Button?

A prominent archaeologist has recently suggested a function for the puzzling little buttonlike artifacts found at a number of sites in Israel, as well as elsewhere in the ancient world. According to Gus Van Beek, curator of Old World archaeology at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the curious little discs are toys similar […]

When Canaanites and Philistines Ruled Ashkelon

Ashkelon. The summer of 1990. The sixth season of the Leon Levy Expedition, sponsored by the Harvard Semitic Museum. In the waning days of the season, on the outskirts of the Canaanite city, we excavated an exquisitely crafted statuette of a silver calf, a religious icon associated with the worship of El or […]

Long-Secret Plates from the Unpublished Corpus

The Biblical Archaeology Society’s publication of transcripts of Dead Sea Scrolls (“BAS Publishes Secret Dead Sea Scrolls,” BAR 17:05) has been almost universally applauded, with one prominent exception—the editors who still control access to the secret documents. According to a headline in the Jerusalem Post they are “enrage[d].” John Strugnell, recently fired as editor […]

Scholars, Popularizers, Albright and Me

This year is the hundredth anniversary of the birth of William Foxwell Albright, this century’s greatest biblical archaeologist. To mark the occasion, a scholarly conference was held at the Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, where Albright taught. The papers presented attempted to look forward, to chart the course of ancient Near Eastern studies in […]

A Hint of Hope

Photographs of all of the Dead Sea Scrolls, both published and unpublished, have been deposited for safekeeping with the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center in Claremont, California. The Center is forbidden by contract, however, from allowing anyone to see these negatives except with the permission of the scroll editors. At a forum on October 27, 1990 at the Smithsonian Institution, James A. Sanders, President of the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center addressed this situation:

Is the Vatican Suppressing the Dead Sea Scrolls?

A book that will soon be available in the United States was recently published in England under the title The Dead Sea Scroll Deception by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh (Jonathan Cape, 1991).1 The book’s thesis is that the Vatican is suppressing the Dead Sea Scrolls because they will undermine vital Christian doctrine. The […]

It Had to Happen
Scientists examine remains of ancient bathroom By Jane M. Cahill, Karl Reinhard, David Tarler, Peter Warnock

After you finish this article—reading time approximately eight minutes—you will know a great deal about two somewhat esoteric disciplines: palynology and archaeoparasitology. But first a little practical in formation about ancient toilet seats, two of which were found in excavations in the City of David,a the oldest inhabited part of Jerusalem. The City of […]

Guide to Sites

Replace the deerstalker cap with a wide-brim hat; substitute a tee-shirt and shorts for the cloak; fill the air with dust and scorching sunlight instead of fog and damp darkness; and exchange the magnifying glass for a pick, a brush and a sieve.

From the Director’s Chair: Starting a New Dig

Does a dig director look at an archaeological excavation differently than a volunteer? I have been both, so I am in an excellent position to answer the question. The answer is, well, yes and no. Last summer Avner Raban of the University of Haifa’s Center for Maritime Studies and I co-directed our first […]

Carbon-14 Tests Substantiate Scroll Dates

Carbon-14 (C-14) tests on samples of the Dead Sea Scrolls have substantially confirmed the previous date of the scrolls based on paleography (the shape of the letters), according to two recent reports.1 This general conclusion was announced in a press release some months ago, but when BAR asked Magen Broshi, curator of the Shrine […]

Tiberias: Preview of Coming Attractions

This is the story mostly of what will be rather than what has been. It is a report on what we hope to do more than what we have already done. It tells of the tantalizing clues that keep us awake nights wondering what we will find. It is the story of a […]

The Last Days and Hours at Masada

The last stand in the First Jewish Revolt against Rome took place on the nearly diamond-shaped mountaintop of Masada, site of a palace-fortress completed by Herod the Great (37–4 B.C.E.). Jewish Zealots who occupied Masada at the start of the revolt in 66 C.E. held the site throughout the war and became the last […]

High Art from the Time of Abraham
Was this the lost continent of Atlantis? Did a volcano part the Red Sea? By Christos G. Doumas

BAR readers may well wonder what a small volcanic island—now a cluster of islands—in the Aegean Sea has to do with Biblical archaeology. The answer is threefold. Most important, this article is about a high civilization that was destroyed about 1500 B.C. (or 1628 B.C., according to a recent dating—see the sidebar “Thera and […]

The Sea Peoples and Their Contributions to Civilization

The Sea Peoples are unappreciated. This is in part because the most famous of them, the Philistines, received such bad press in the Bible. But the other Sea Peoples—among them the Shardana, Sikila, Lukka and the Danuna—have also been treated poorly, even by scholars, who often blame them for causing the widespread disorder and […]

When 5,613 Scholars Get Together in One Place—The Annual Meeting, 1990

A maturing generation of brilliant young scholars went far toward making the 1990 Annual Meetinga a resounding success. Many of these young scholars are women.

The Philistines Enter Canaan
Were they Egyptian lackeys or invading conquerors? By Bryant G. Wood

Archaeology has brought the Philistines to life more vividly than perhaps any other Biblical people save the Israelites and the Egyptians.a We now know that the Philistines were one of the Sea Peoples that also included the Tjeker, the Denyen (or Danuna), the Shardana and the Weshesh. At the very beginning of the 12th […]

Grisly Assyrian Record of Torture and Death

Assyrian national history, as it has been preserved for us in inscriptions and pictures, consists almost solely of military campaigns and battles. It is as gory and bloodcurdling a history as we know. Assyria emerged as a territorial state in the 14th century B.C. Its territory covered approximately the northern part of modern Iraq. […]