Doings at Digs

From taking the first level to dumping the final load of debris, volunteers contribute hours of labor for every important find.

Wanted: Volunteers
Choose your site, your dates and your historical period

Do you want to do more than just read about the archaeology of the Holy Land? Do the pictures in BAR make you wish you had a trowel and a brush and a chance to expose a pot, a wall or an inscribed sherd that’s been buried for 3,000 years? If you’re in good […]

Excavation Tactics and Strategy
Looking at a dig from a director’s viewpoint

BAR’s January/February issue traditionally contains a catalogue of exciting opportunities for inexperienced as well as experienced volunteers who want to participate in archaeological excavations. An article describing a volunteer’s experience on a dig is usually part of that annual BAR tradition.a This year, however, we’re going to look at the dig from the director’s […]

Strange’s Laws of Archaeological Excavation
New evidence for Murphy’s Law—if something can go wrong, it will By James F. Strange

Laws In Tell Archaeology 1. No matter where you sink the first square,a you will find a Turkish toilet. 2. If three Ph.D.s with 39 years of field experience among them lay out the grid, it will later turn out to be irretrievably in error. Corollary: The error will not be found until the […]

Has Joshua’s Altar Been Found on Mt. Ebal?

To appreciate fully the significance of the unique altar and cult center we are excavating on Mt. Ebal, one must first understand the archaeological context in which these discoveries were made. We found the altar and cult center, not in the course of excavating a tell, but in the course of conducting an archaeological […]

Crucifixion—The Archaeological Evidence

From ancient literary sources we know that tens of thousands of people were crucified in the Roman Empire. In Palestine alone, the figure ran into the thousands. Yet until 1968 not a single victim of this horrifying method of execution had been uncovered archaeologically. In that year I excavated the only victim of crucifixion […]

Challenge to Sun-Worship Interpretation of Temple Scroll’s Gilded Staircase

In “The Case of the Gilded Staircase,” BAR 10:05, Professor Morton Smith attempts to prove that the Temple envisioned by the Essenes had a gilded staircase to reach the roof of the Temple where members of the Dead Sea sect worshipped the sun. As can be expected from Smith’s well-attested erudition, his contribution is […]