No one knows where they came from. They produced the world’s first great civilization, yet they vanished from the annals of history for more than 3,000 years. Although they were conquered by foreign invaders, their language and literature survived for centuries. We call them Sumerians, and the land where they lived, a region between […]

Woolley’s Ur Revisited

Sir Leonard Woolley was, perhaps, the most famous archaeologist of his day. He was a man of enormous energy and a prodigious worker. Between 1907 and 1949 Woolley not only directed five major excavations in Egypt and Nubia, Syria and Iraq, but published the results quickly and in a highly professional manner. Between 1922 […]

The New Sumerian Dictionary

One of the more eye-catching quotations from The New York Times reads like this:

Inanna—The Quintessential Femme Fatale

Diane Wolkstein’s Inanna–Queen of Heaven and Eartha is a retelling, with commentary, of one of the major texts about the Sumerian goddess Inanna. This is a difficult book for me to review. I could not possibly be more in sympathy with its aims. As a historian of religion, I find ancient mythology a fascinating […]

Sumerian “Firsts”

For thousands of years, the Sumerians were a forgotten people. No book recorded their achievements; no spade unearthed their treasures. The Sumerians had passed out of history, until, in the mid-19th century, linguists studying Assyrian cuneiform writing discovered cuneiform tablets written in another language. Linguists and archaeologists alike soon began to realize that in […]

Yigael Yadin 1917–1984

Israel’s most celebrated Biblical archaeologist, Yigael Yadin, died of a heart attack on June 28 at the age of 67. The world of Biblical archaeology has been impoverished.

The Temple Scroll—The Longest and Most Recently Discovered Dead Sea Scroll
How it affects our understanding of the New Testament and early Christianity By Yigael Yadin

On August 1, 1960, I received a letter from a man who identified himself as a Virginia clergyman. The letter stated that the writer was in a position to negotiate the sale of “important, authentic discoveries of Dead Sea Scrolls.” Obviously, he contacted me because of my intimate involvement in Israel’s acquisition of the […]

The Case of the Gilded Staircase
Did the Dead Sea Scroll sect worship the sun? By Morton Smith

Yigael Yadin’s magnificent edition of the Temple Scroll1—the latest-to-be-published and the longest of all the Dead Sea Scrolls—has been available to scholars in Hebrew for over four years and last year became available in a three-volume English edition. (See “The Temple Scroll—The Longest and Most Recently Discovered Dead Sea Scroll,” in this issue, by […]

The Biblical Oryx—A New Name for an Ancient Animal
Soon it will again roam the wilderness of the Holy Land as it roams the pages of the Bible By Bill Clark

In the King James Version of the Bible, it’s translated unicorn. But that’s not what re’em means. Re’em is the Hebrew name for Oryx leucoryx or oryx for short. This animal is also called the Arabian oryx, the White oryx and the Beatrix oryx because it used to be found in the Arabian desert […]

1984 BAS Publication Awards

Biblical Archaeology Society is please to announce the winners of the 1984 Publication Awards in Seven Categories: 1. Best Popular Book on Archaeology Discovering Jerusalem: Recent Archaeological Excavations in the Upper City