Scholars Talk About How the Field Has Changed
New questions, new technologies, new specialties all leave their mark on the way archaeologists work. By Hershel Shanks

Archaeological periods are not always easy to define; for example, we cannot gauge precisely when the Late Bronze Age turned into Iron Age I. Not so, however, with the Age of BAR. This spring marks the end of BAR’s 25th year of publication, what we call BAR Age I (and the beginning of […]

25 Years of Kicking Up Some Dust

“We shun controversy,” BAR editor Hershel Shanks likes to tell visitors to our offices. Yeah, right.

25 Giants

The Giants of The Recent Past Here are 20 excavators and scholars who dominated the field and who have died during BAR’s tenure (or, in a few cases, slightly before), together with five who are—thankfully—very much still with us. Our readers may have other selections. As usual, we can expect to hear from them.

Religious Jews: Save the Bones of Your Ancestors

Powerful segments of the religious community in Israel, supported by some Orthodox Jews in the United States, have long objected to the excavation of ancient Jewish tombs, claiming that it is forbidden by Jewish law (halakhah). But, as we have previously shown in these pages, halakhah requires only that the excavated bones be reburied […]

Excavating the Tribe of Reuben
A four-room house provides a clue to where the oldest Israelite tribe settled. By Larry G. Herr, Douglas R. Clark

We were lucky. There’s no other way to explain it. When our archaeological survey team, part of a larger expedition known as the Madaba Plains Project, discovered Tall al-‘Umayri1 in 1976, we had no idea it would yield great treasures.2 But now, almost 25 years later and after seven excavation seasons (beginning in […]

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
New study shows that John Strugnell substantially reconstructed and deciphered MMT

In the history of the struggle to free the Dead Sea Scrolls, the document known as MMT holds a special place. MMT (Miqsat Ma‘ase Ha-Torah, “Some Precepts of the Law”) is critical to the study of Jewish law at the turn of the era. It reveals the basis of the schism between the Dead […]

Helios in the Synagogue
Did some ancient Jews worship the sun god? By Lucille A. Roussin

Archaeologist Zeev Weiss has described in these pages the extraordinary synagogue mosaic recently uncovered at ancient Sepphoris.a Its most striking feature is a zodiac in whose center is an abstract depiction of the Greek sun god Helios (represented as a radiant sun disk) riding in his quadriga, or four-horse chariot. What in the world […]

First Person: Opryland = Orlando2
A host of problems plague SBL’s Annual Meeting By Hershel Shanks
South Arabia