It hurts my heart to hear reports of the death of Dr. Yuval Peleg in an accident at an archaeological dig site between Homesh and Karnei Shomron in the West Bank on Thursday, June 26, 2014. Dr. Peleg was the respected Deputy Archaeological Staff Officer in the Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria.
I came to know him in 2007 because of his 10-year excavation at Qumran, the site associated with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Wherever he was, Yuval was always the “big man” on site. He was one of the few people in the field who actually made me feel small.
And his personality was even bigger than his impressive physical stature. But Yuval exhibited perhaps one of the greatest qualities a scholar can possess: while we fundamentally disagreed on our interpretation of Qumran, Yuval was always professional, polite, friendly, reasoned, and always had a huge smile on his face.
We also worked together on several television documentaries. While filming some footage for Bible Secrets Revealed, Yuval was kind enough to escort me into Qumran Cave 4, where we talked and shared stories about Qumran. To this day, my time in Cave 4 with Yuval Peleg is one of the highlights of my archaeological life.
He died tragically, but he died doing what he loved: archaeology. And like soldiers, cowboys, and archaeologists of legend, he died with his boots on.
Yuval Peleg gave his life working with Israelis and Palestinians to uncover the history of a land that means so much to so many. And he always did it with a smile.
Yuval is scheduled to be laid to rest on Friday morning at 9:30 in the cemetery of Kfar Adumim, east of Jerusalem.
I mourn the death of Yuval Peleg. I grieve with his family. And I shall remember him fondly.
Yuval Peleg ז״ל