The recent death of the eminent excavator of Ugarit, Claude F. A. Schaeffer, is an occasion both to remember this great French archaeologist and to revisit Ugarit (Ras Shamra) where Schaeffer spent more than 30 years of his professional life. In the articles that follow we will speak of Schaeffer the man (“Claude Frederic-Armand […]

Claude Frederic-Armand Schaeffer-Forrer (1898–1982): An Appreciation

The death of Claude Schaeffer of cancer at the age of 84 in his home at St. Germain-en-Laye, France, on August 25, 1982, marks the end of an epoch in the archaeology of the Near East. He was the last of those titanic figures whose achievements are sometimes hard for us to appreciate from […]

The Tablets from Ugarit and Their Importance for Biblical Studies

For 40 years Claude Schaeffer directed excavations at Ras Shamra in Syria. There he and his colleagues uncovered the remains of the long lost city of Ugarit, a Late Bronze Age metropolis in early Biblical times. And among the ruins of Ugarit, he found the archives of the ancient city The clay tablets discovered […]

The Last Days of Ugarit
Drought, famine, earthquakes and, ultimately, fire ended civilization at Ugarit By Claude F. A. Schaeffer

About 1200 B.C., civilization in the then-known world seemed to come to an end. Major urban centers from Cyprus, Anatolia, and Egypt to Palestine and Amurru were destroyed or severely damaged. Entire ethnic groups disappeared. Thus concluded what archaeologists call the Late Bronze Age, the last major segment of the Bronze Age itself. In […]

Bronze Bull Found in Israelite “High Place” from the Time of the Judges

When he found it, Ofer Broshi was on army duty. Army life can be exhausting or boring—or sometimes both. At that moment, Broshi, a rugged young kibbutznik, was more bored than tired. He was resting on the summit of a hill in northern Samaria, above the ancient road connecting the Biblical towns of Dothan […]

A Visit with Ahilud
A revealing look at village life when Israel first settled the Promised Land By Joseph A. Callaway

I first learned of Ahilud in 1969. I had been director of excavations at the ancient site of Ai, the second city taken by the Israelites when they entered Canaan, according to the book of Joshua (Joshua 7–8). I had been working at Ai since 1964, and our field work was nearly finished. We […]

Whither ASOR?
Identity crisis over Biblical archaeology afflicts scholarly organization By Hershel Shanks

To archaeologists, the acronym ASOR is as well-known as MASH is to a generation of television viewers. ASOR stands for American Schools of Oriental Research.a It is the premier organization of professional American archaeologists whose scholarly interests focus on the Near East—what in other times might have been called the lands of the Bible. […]