A typical Israelite dwelling from about the 12th century B.C.

The four-room Israelite house at Izbet Sartah. Two people sit on the long walls dividing the main space of the house into three rooms which are perpendicular to the fourth, foreground room. The straight earthen walls overlying the house are not architectural; they are unexcavated balks or catwalks used by archaeologists to divide their digging space into five meter squares. The balks contain a vertical record of the various archaeological levels or strata. The storage silo in which the abecedary or alphabet was found is marked 605.

This drawing corresponds to the photograph, above, of the four-room house. The numbers distinguish the rooms.

This plan shows the three periods of settlement at Izbet Sartah. Stratum III—the earliest occupation level from about the 12th century B.C.—is represented only by a few storage silos. In Stratum II, from later in the 12th century B.C., the four-room house is found. Most of the silos were also constructed at this time. The village was abandoned in about 1050 B.C. following the defeat of the Israelites by the Philistines. The remains in Stratum I are from a short period of rebuilding and resettlement about 1000 B.C. The site was never again occupied. Dotted lines mark structures assumed but not found.

Ostracon silo. The silo in the center with a meter stick on the bottom is No. 605, the one in which the abecedary sherd was discovered. On the far left is the outer wall of the 4 room Israelite house. The horizontal earth wall behind the man is a balk wall, part of the archaeologists’ excavation square and not an architectural feature.

Nebraska Hosts Archaeological Festival

A Festival of Biblical Art and Archaeology begins October 29 in Omaha and will continue for three weeks with daily programs. A major exhibit of archaeological artifacts will be shown during the festival and for five weeks thereafter.

The Festival is a community-wide ecumenical effort spearheaded by Dr. Joe D. Seger, who is Visiting Professor of Religion and Humanities at the University of Nebraska and an active field archaeologist (formerly Director at Gezer, now Director at Lahav).

During the first three weeks, the Festival will offer 12 lectures by outstanding archaeologists on current excavations in the Middle East. Archaeological films will also be shown. “Hands-on” workshops for exhibit-goers on ancient pottery-making and excavating techniques will be a special attraction.

The 12 lectures will include W. G. Dever, “Ten Years of Excavation at Tell Gezer”; Joseph Callaway, “The Problem of Biblical Ai”, and Menahem Mansoor, “The Relevance and Challenge of the Dead Sea Scrolls.”

The Festival exhibit of finds from the Lands of the Bible will include rarely seen objects from the private collection of Louis and Carmen Warschaw. Two special simulation exhibits will feature “The Anatomy of a Tell” and a reconstruction of a typical Israelite house.

All events of the Festival will be open to the public and are without charge. To obtain a program write to Ms. Jan Perelman, Jewish Community Center of Omaha, 333 South 132 St., Omaha, Nebraska 68154 and mention that you saw the announcement in BAR.

Third Volume of Archaeological Encyclopedia Ready—One More to Come

Volume III of the Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land (Israel Exploration Society and Masada Press, Jerusalem) is now available. BAR readers may purchase it at a 25% discount by joining the Israel Exploration Society.

Prentice-Hall publishers are distributing the Archaeological Encyclopedia in the United States, selling the four volumes—as a set only—for $100. However, by agreement with Prentice-Hall the Israel Exploration Society may sell the Encyclopedia by volume or by set at a discount to its members. Members of the IES are entitled to a discount of 25% on all publications offered by the Society, which reduces the per volume cost of the Encyclopedia from $25 to $18.75 and the cost of the set of four (vol. IV is still to come) from $100 to $75. BAR subscribers have an exclusive offer to join the Society for $10, a 20% reduction in membership cost (for which they also receive the Israel Exploration Journal at no extra charge). The address of the Israel Exploration Society is P.O.B. 7041, Jerusalem, Israel.

The long delay between the first two volumes and this latest one has had an important beneficial result. Instead of reporting on excavations which occurred only through 1971 (the case with the previous two volumes), the entries in volume III include discoveries made up to 1976.

Aharon Kempinski writes about his recent excavation at Tell Masos, the largest Israelite center in the northern Negev. David Ussishkin, the director since 1973 of the dig at Lachish, describes two massive Canaanite palaces still being uncovered.

Also included are extensive entries on Judean Desert Caves, Megiddo and Masada, the latter by Yigael Yadin.

The articles contain abundant photographs, maps and plans, and an occasional color photo (not always located with its text).

Bibliographies at the end of each article are current through 1976.

Bringing the latest volume in this essential reference work up-to-date is adequate compensation for the long wait.