July/Aug/Sept/Oct 2019 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (45/4&5) is now on newsstands

July/Aug/Sept/Oct 2019 special double issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (45/4 & 5)I’m proud to announce that the July/Aug/Sept/Oct 2019 special double issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (45/4&5) is now on newsstands.

The double issue, which we’ve called “By the Hand of a Woman” (Judges 4:9), is special because all of the contributors have one thing in common: they are all excellent scholars sharing their research.

“The Wise Woman of Abel Beth Maacah”
by Nava Panitz-Cohen and Naama Yahalom-Mack
Appearing in 2 Samuel 20, the Wise Woman of Abel Beth Maacah adroitly saves her town from destruction. Who was this woman, and what role did she play in Israelite tradition that understood cities like Abel Beth Maacah and Tel Dan to be hosts to oracles and seers?

“Reimagining Herod’s Royal Portico”
by Orit Peleg-Barkat
A synthesis of Hellenistic and Roman architecture, King Herod’s Royal Portico on the Temple Mount was one of his most ambitious and impressive construction projects. What archaeological evidence can we use to reconstruct this magnificent structure?

“Baby Burials in the Middle Bronze Age”
by Beth Alpert Nakhai
In ancient Canaan, people often buried their dead babies in storage jars, which they then deposited under the floor or wall of a house, in an open area, or in a tomb. Explore this custom with Beth Alpert Nakhai, who makes sense of these perplexing burials.

“Song of Liberation: Freedom in the Late Bronze Age”
by Eva von Dassow
Preserved in cuneiform tablets from around 1400 B.C.E., the Song of Liberation tells a story of the people of Igingallish being held as captives in the neighboring city of Ebla. When gods rule this to be unjust, it is up to Ebla’s assembly to decide their own fate.

“Stepped Pools and Stone Vessels: Rethinking Jewish Purity Practices in Palestine”
by Cecilia Wassén
It is generally assumed that the increased production of stone vessels and the introduction of stepped pools around the turn of the era reflect Jewish concerns with ritual purity. Cecilia Wassén suggests other, more mundane, factors, such as general Hellenizing influences and the Roman culture of bathing.

“Baking Bread in Ancient Judah”
by Cynthia Shafer-Elliott
Excavations at Tell Halif have uncovered several houses from the eighth century B.C.E. One house in particular offers up a host of information about ancient Judahite food processes and preparation. Explore how bread was baked at Tell Halif—and who did the baking.

“Reactivating Remembrance: Interactive Inscriptions from Mt. Gerizim”
by Anne Katrine de Hemmer Gudme
When people visited temples in ancient Palestine, how did they worship? Archaeologists have uncovered large amounts of dedicatory inscriptions from ancient temples, including the Samaritan temple on Mt. Gerizim. Discover what role these inscriptions played in worship.

“Secrets of the Copper Scroll”
by Joan E. Taylor
In 1952, archaeologists discovered the Copper Scroll in a cave near the Dead Sea. It details a vast treasure hidden in various locations throughout the Judean wilderness. Although none of this treasure has been found, could it refer to articles from the Jerusalem Temple?

“Blurred Lines: The Enigma of Iron Age Timnah”
by Mahri Leonard-Fleckman
Borders and ethnicities are not always as cut and dry as lines on a map. Modern readers tend to place social constructs on ancient peoples that simply did not exist. Sitting at a crossroads, biblical Timnah defies identification, as concepts of identity were fluid.

AND

BIBLICAL VIEWS
“Multicultural Moses: Reexamining an Icon”
by Amanda Mbuvi

ARCHAEOLOGICAL VIEWS
“Missing from the Picture: American Women in Biblical Archaeology”
by Jennie Ebeling

Please visit www.biblicalarchaeology.org/magazines to view the complete contents of the July/August/September/October 2019 issue of BAR. Take a look at Bible History Daily (biblicalarchaeology.org/blog) for additional features. Explore a free eBook about life for everyday people in the biblical world (biblicalarchaeology.org/ancientlives). Enjoy a special collection of articles about biblical heroines, from Esther and Judith to Mary Magdalene, who shaped biblical history and the message of the Bible (biblicalarchaeology.org/biblewomen).

Full text of Robert Cargill’s BAR 45/4&5 First Person Editorial: The Gender Divide

I am making the full text of my First Person editorial from the Biblical Archaeology Review special double issue (BAR 45/4&5; July/Aug/Sept/Oct 2019) available here on my blog. An excerpted version of this editorial (minus the final paragraph introducing the special issue, which we redacted from the online version as there was no issue to introduce) appeared on Bible History Daily last month. Now that the latest issue is being mailed to our subscribers and about to hit the newsstands, I offer the full text of the editorial here. And if you want to read the full issue that this editorial introduces, visit Biblical Archaeology Review and subscribe.

Robert Cargill First Person BAR 45/4-5 "The Gender Divide"

The Gender Divide

The field of Biblical archaeology and biblical studies in general, has always had a “woman problem.” Women have long been a minority. To be sure, there have always been notable exceptions—such as Gertrude Bell, Kathleen Kenyon, Martha Joukowsky, Susan Alcock, Jodi Magness, Ann Killebrew—but for the most part the field has been dominated by men—often charismatic, loud, entertaining, obnoxious, and mostly white men.

And this is just the way it has always been.

However, over the past decades many scholars and administrators have decided to address this issue and have begun making concerted efforts to increase the number of women in field archaeology and biblical studies. Because of these efforts, we have seen an increase in the number of women enrolled in archaeology and biblical studies programs, presenting papers at professional conferences, publishing cutting-edge research, and receiving academic positions. The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) even named Susan Ackerman its first female president in 2014.

Progress is being made with regard to gender parity in archaeology and the academy. Therefore, you can understand why I am continually baffled—and women all the more so—when all-male conference panels (“manels”) are assembled, all-male edited volumes (“manthologies”) are published, and all-male festschrifts (“festicles”) are printed. It is 2019, and women are still being regularly excluded!

I hear many excuses when these all-male offerings appear, one of the most frequent being: “I invited several women, but none of them accepted my invitation, so I filled those spots with men.” There are several problems with this excuse.

First, if women repeatedly turn down invitations to work with a particular man or organization en masse, it may indicate a serious problem with the individual or organization. Is there some more disquieting reason why many women don’t want to work with certain male scholars beyond the courteous excuse of being overcommitted?

Second, many women scholars are overcommitted because the few of them working in our field are asked to contribute to so many committees and volumes. Women reserve the right to decline invitations. Women are not obligated to compensate for centuries of marginalization by committing to every invitation.

Third, when women decline invitations to present or write for a project, they don’t owe an explanation. Scholars don’t have to give a reason why they do not wish to participate in a project; they can simply decline.

Finally, men should not publicly name any woman who turned down an invitation, especially to cover for the fact that they were unable to achieve gender parity in a publication, panel, or event. I am outraged when male scholars blame women by name for the lack of women contributors in their professional panels or volumes by saying, “Well I invited Scholar X, Scholar Y, and Scholar Z, but they declined …” Publicly shaming women scholars by name does nothing to assuage the fact that only men were included in a volume or conference.

Even if a dozen women decline an invitation, a male editor is still responsible for the lack of gender parity in his volume—not those women who declined. The editor or organizer must simply work harder to achieve his goal and do a better job of encouraging women to participate.

As Editor of BAR, I believe it is my responsibility to support the amplification of women’s scholarly voices through publication, not simply through invitation. Scholarship is not stunt riding, and editors are not Evel Knievel; we shouldn’t be credited simply for the attempt even if we fail. We cannot define “due diligence” as inviting an acceptable quota of women to participate. The bar must be higher than that.

My work and my organization should be judged by the number of women actually appearing in the published product, not simply the number of women originally invited.

Gender parity is still a problem in the academy. To change this, we must promote programs that cultivate women scholars from a young age, establishing gender parity as a priority from the outset of any project, be it a conference, edited volume, or magazine issue.

Therefore, I am proud to offer to our readers this special double issue—“By the Hand of a Woman” (Judges 4:9)—featuring research by some of the best archaeologists and biblical scholars in the field today. You will notice that like archaeological legends Trude Dothan and Carol Meyers, they all have one thing in common: They are excellent scholars! Enjoy.—B.C.

May/June 2019 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (45/3) is now on newsstands

May/June 2019 Vol. 45. No. 3 BAR Cover

The Biblical Archaeology Society is pleased to announce the publication of the following articles in the May/June 2019 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) Volume 45, Number 3:

“Inside the Huqoq Synagogue”
By Jodi Magness, Shua Kisilevitz, Matthew Grey, Dennis Mizzi, Karen Britt, and Ra‘anan Boustan
Season after season, archaeologists have uncovered stunning mosaics at Huqoq’s synagogue in Galilee. From Biblical scenes to the first historical episode ever found in a synagogue, the mosaics’ themes never cease to amaze and surprise. Join us on a tour of the Huqoq synagogue—with its vivid mosaics and much more!

“Artistic Influences in Synagogue Mosaics: Putting the Huqoq Synagogue in Context”
By Karen Britt and Ra‘anan Boustan
How do the mosaics from Huqoq’s synagogue compare to mosaics from other Late Roman synagogues in Galilee and throughout the Mediterranean world? Their similarities and differences reveal cultural and artistic trends from this period.

“From Pets to Physicians: Dogs in the Biblical World”
By Justin David Strong
What roles did dogs play in the Biblical world? A survey of dogs’ portrayals in ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean cultures shows that far from being perceived as “unclean,” dogs served as companions, guard dogs, sheep dogs, hunters, and—surprisingly—physicians. These diverse roles inform our understanding of the famous parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31).

“Who Were the Assyrians?”
By Christopher B. Hays
The Assyrians referenced in the Hebrew Bible were a mighty force that exerted power over much of the Near East, including Israel and Judah, in the ninth through seventh centuries B.C.E. Learn about their beginnings over a millennium before they appeared in the Bible and how they expanded their empire from Urartu to Egypt.

FIRST PERSON
“Who Owns History?”
By Robert R. Cargill

CLASSICAL CORNER
“Checking Out Roman Libraries”
By Christina Triantafillou

BIBLICAL VIEWS
“Paul, the Python Girl, and Human Trafficking”
By John Byron

ARCHAEOLOGICAL VIEWS
“Herod the Great Gardener”
By Kathryn L. Gleason

REVIEWS
“The Careful Dialogue between Archaeology and the Bible ”
The Bible and Archaeology by Matthieu Richelle
Reviewed by Eric H. Cline

Please visit www.biblicalarchaeology.org/magazine to view the complete contents of the May/June 2019 issue of BAR.

Take a look at Bible History Daily (biblicalarchaeology.org/biblehistorydaily) for additional features, including a roundup of articles on the stunning mosaics from the Huqoq synagogue (biblicalarchaeology.org/huqoqmosaics).

Discover some of the ways in which ancient Near Eastern civilizations have impressed themselves on Western culture in a free eBook (biblicalarchaeology.org/babylon).

Further, explore a Special Collection of articles about the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud in northern Iraq (biblicalarchaeology.org/nimrud).

March/April 2019 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (45/2) is now on newsstands

BAR 45-2-2019The Biblical Archaeology Society is pleased to announce the publication of the March/April 2019 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (Vol. 45, No. 2). This issue contains some wonderful articles:

“Resurrecting Easter: Hunting for the Original Resurrection Image”
By John Dominic Crossan and Sarah Sexton Crossan

All of the main events in Jesus’s life are directly described in the New Testament—except for the Resurrection. This central event happens off-screen and is not directly witnessed. As a result, early Christians created two very different depictions of this moment. Join the Crossans as they hunt for the earliest images of Jesus’s resurrection—and attempt to resurrect the original Easter vision.

“Biblical Archaeology 101: The Ancient Diet of Roman Palestine”
By Susan Weingarten

What did people eat in Roman Palestine? Milk and honey? Olive oil and wine? Food historian Susan Weingarten takes readers on a culinary adventure through historical and archaeological remains to reconstruct the diet of the average person in Roman Palestine.

“Purity and Impurity in Iron Age Israel”
By Avraham Faust

Purification practices of ancient Israelite society before the introduction of mikva’ot remain largely unexplored. Recent excavations at Tel ‘Eton, in the southeastern Shephelah, yielded rich data on household life and practices in the tenth through the eighth centuries B.C.E. A large four-room house at Tel ‘Eton offers a rare glimpse of how Iron Age Israelites coped with the issues of ritual impurity, and it enables the author to reconstruct the purification ritual.

“Colossae—Colossal in Name Only?”
By Michael Trainor

The once great city of Colossae in modern Turkey has never been excavated. To the untrained eye, the site may appear unimpressive, but great archaeological treasures lie beneath its surface. Join Michael Trainor on an exploration of this ancient city awaiting the spade!

FIRST PERSON
“Was Pontius Pilate’s Ring Discovered at Herodium?”
By Robert R. Cargill

SITE-SEEING
“Surprising Susa”
By Todd Bolen

BIBLICAL VIEWS
“As in the Days of Noah: The Apocalyptic World of 1 Peter”
By Katie Marcar

ARCHAEOLOGICAL VIEWS
“Jewish Graffiti—Glimpsing the Forgotten Lives of Antiquity”
By Karen B. Stern

REVIEWS
“The Human Drama of St. Paul” Paul: A Biography by N.T. Wright
Reviewed by Joshua McNall

Enjoy! And click here to subscribe to both print and online versions.

Jan/Feb 2019 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (45/1) is now on newsstands

BAR 45-1The Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS) is pleased to announce the publication of the January/February 2019 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR 45/1), which is on newsstands now.

During my first year as Editor, I am particularly proud of the number of new authors who have contributed to BAR, as well as the number of women and young(er) scholars we’ve been able to publish. We’ve also implemented a few changes, such as our new policy against publishing unprovenanced objects.

As I begin my second year as Editor, you can look for a few more gradual changes, including a redesign in the second half of 2019, a new website, more video and online resources, and a very special double issue highlighting some of the best archaeologists and biblical scholars in the academy.

This Jan/Feb issue is the annual “Digs” issue, so if you’re interested in going on an archaeological excavation, this issue has info on active excavations, contact info, and (perhaps most importantly) scholarship information ($2,000 awards–see pg. 27) for volunteers who want to go and excavate.

The featured articles include:

“Digs 2019: A Day in the Life”
By Robert R. Cargill
When the alarm clock blares at 4 a.m., it’s time to get up and start the dig day. Join BAR Editor Robert R. Cargill in his trademark tie-dye shirt as he walks you through a typical day in the life of an archaeological dig participant. It’s always grueling but never dull. And find out what excavation opportunities are available in the Holy Land this summer!

“The Last Days of Canaanite Azekah”
By Oded Lipschits, Sabine Kleiman, Ido Koch, Karl Berendt, Vanessa Linares, Sarah Richardson, Manfred Oeming, and Yuval Gadot
Excavations at Late Bronze Age Tel Azekah reveal various aspects of daily life in this Canaanite city, including its close interactions with Egypt. The gruesome discovery of four human skeletons poses questions about the final days of Azekah and how those dramatic events might be related to the Bronze Age collapse of Mediterranean
civilizations.

“Commander of the Fortress? Understanding an Ancient Israelite Military Title”
By William M. Schniedewind
From Tel Arad to Kuntillet ‘Ajrud to Jerusalem, Biblical scholar William M. Schniedewind guides BAR readers on a survey of ancient Israelite seals and inscriptions with an enigmatic title that has been variously translated “Governor of the City” and “Commander of the Fortress.” Who was this figure? Discover his importance and place in ancient Israelite and Judahite society.

“The Legend of Tel Achzib, Arkansas”
By Dale W. Manor
Excavations are underway at Tel Achzib—meaning “ruin of deception”—in Searcy, Arkansas. Created by archaeologists at Harding University, this artificial tell serves as a Biblical archaeology lab that introduces students to excavation technique and methodology. Especially for students unable to travel and dig in the Biblical lands, Tel Achzib offers a valuable, informative, and fun experience.

Also check out the columns in the issue:

FIRST PERSON
“A Little Jot on a Jerusalem Column”
By Robert R. Cargill

CLASSICAL CORNER
“Phidias and Pericles: Hold My Wine”
By Diane Harris Cline

BIBLICAL VIEWS
“Safeguarding Abraham”
By Dan Rickett

ARCHAEOLOGICAL VIEWS
“Tall Jalul: A Look from Behind the Jordan”
By Constance Gane

REVIEWS
“King David’s Stronghold at Khirbet Qeiyafa?”
In the Footsteps of King David: Revelations from an Ancient Biblical City by Yosef Garfinkel, Saar Ganor, and Michael G. Hasel
Reviewed by Aren M. Maeir

Enjoy! And click here to subscribe to both print and online versions.

 

 

The Importance of Archaeological Provenance – BAR Sept/Oct 2018

My First Person editorial for Sept/Oct 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR 44/5) is titled “The Importance of Archaeological Provenance.” I hope you can give it a read and learn about some new policies we’ve instituted at BAR regarding newly-introduced unprovenanced objects and our publication of them.

BAR-SO18-FP_Provenance_all

One of the major issues facing archaeology is the issue of provenance, or specifically the lack thereof, with regard to archaeological objects.1

The word provenance (alternatively spelled provenience) comes from the Latin provenire, meaning “to come forth, originate.” Thus, archaeological provenance refers to the verifiable information regarding the origin of an archaeological object—the dig site or location in which it was discovered, its locus, stratum, dating, etc., as well as its chain of custody, that is, who possessed the object since its discovery.

Conversely, an unprovenanced object is an object whose origin and chain of custody is unknown or partially unknown. These objects may have been looted from an archaeological site, forged, or otherwise acquired, legally or illegally, by a private collector, who often keeps the objects out of the hands of scholars. Some collectors, however, do offer their collections to scholars for study, but this process often merely increases the value of the objects for the collector, who then sells the objects for a greater profit. Other collectors sell their collections but demand that their identities be kept anonymous for fear of criminal prosecution or the stigmatic consequences of dealing antiquities on the black market.

Once the archaeological context of an object is lost, it is worth far less academically, as it can no longer reliably tell us anything about the people who made it. This is because the archaeological context—the place in which it was found in the ground—offers archaeologists as much information about the object as the object itself, like clues as to who was using the object, what it was used for, how old it is, etc.

Scholars and the Israel Antiquities Authority have condemned the purchase of unprovenanced objects by antiquities dealers for decades because it encourages the looting of archaeological sites by providing a financial incentive to those who would attempt to sell them to unwitting tourists and treasure seekers. Because objects discovered in licensed archaeological excavations belong to the state in which they were discovered—the most important of which typically end up displayed in the various states’ archaeological museums—those who wish to collect artifacts often turn to antiquities dealers. And while some antiquities dealers are licensed by the state to sell legally obtained objects, many others engage in the sale of illicitly obtained objects and, in turn, often collaborate with shadowy middlemen to acquire their goods (i.e., the black market).

Claims (typically made by licensed antiquities dealers) that the purchasers of illicit antiquities often act as “rescuers,” who ransom the looted artifacts from a life of shrouded anonymity on the black market so that they can be researched and published, are unconvincing. Continued illicit purchases only fuel further demand on the black market, which inevitably encourages looting. And even if a particular object has already been looted and is already on the black market, the sale of these antiquities, both legal and illicit, drives future looting, as stock must be resupplied. Reducing the demand by banning the non-state sanctioned sale of all antiquities and obstructing their transport is the only true way to begin to curtail looting. Furthermore, the damage done to potential and excavated archaeological sites by unscrupulous thieves far outweighs any benefits gained by the research and publication of these now decontextualized objects, which have been stripped of the valuable contextual data derived from a verifiable provenance.

One might object, “But what about the Dead Sea Scrolls? They began as unprovenanced objects before they were systematically excavated!” This is true, as did many objects that are now prominently displayed in the world’s greatest museums. These objects, as well as the additional problem of the transport of cultural history objects out of their homelands, contributed to the establishment of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. Simply put, since it went into force in 1972, nations of the world agreed not to trade in illicit cultural heritage objects. The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered beginning in 1947, prior to the 1970 UNESCO Convention, but you can understand why news of the recent acquisition of scrolls by the Museum of the Bible from contractually anonymous black-market dealers caused so much furor among scholars.

The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), and the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) have all established policies on unprovenanced antiquities that prohibit participation in the trade of undocumented antiquities and the activities that give sanction to that trade, including exhibiting unprovenanced objects in museums, publishing articles on them in their respective journals, and presenting professional papers on them at annual conferences.2 This is all done in an effort to discourage the looting of archaeological objects. By scholars refusing to participate in research, the unprovenanced objects lack the professional credibility required to authenticate the objects—authentication that enhances their monetary value. Thus, in theory, by scholars refusing to authenticate the illicit objects, their value is diminished, which results in lessened demand, leading to less looting.

It is for this reason that last November at the SBL annual meeting in Boston, I announced that BAR would no longer publish newly discovered or introduced unprovenanced archaeological objects in its pages. BAR occupies a unique place between the academy and the public. While it is our primary mission to convey the latest archaeological discoveries and research to the public, we also have a responsibility to discourage looting and the forging of archaeological objects by not promoting them in our magazine.

If and when the next sensational unprovenanced archaeological object is introduced to the media, BAR may use its position as a media outlet to explain to our readers what the claims being made are and why the unprovenanced nature of the discovery makes the discovery problematic. But as a practice, BAR will no longer publish newly introduced unprovenanced objects in an effort to play our small part in guarding against looting and forgery.—B.C.

1 A portion of this column was adapted from an earlier blog post (robertcargill.com/2017/07/19/the-museum-of-the-bible- why-are-archaeologists-and-bible-scholars-so-mad/).

2 ASOR and SBL provide an exemption for cuneiform tablets (see, e.g., www.asor.org/ initiatives-projects/asor-affiliated-archaeological-projects-2/standards-policies/policy-on- cuneiform-texts-from-iraq/).

George Washington University Archaeologist Eric H. Cline to Speak at University of Iowa

If you are in the Iowa City area, please join us on Thursday, March 8, 2018 for the second University of Iowa Dept. of Classics Colloquium lecture of the spring!

Archaeologist Eric H. Cline, Professor of Classics and Anthropology at George Washington University, will be giving a talk titled “1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed” at 5pm in 240 Art Building West.

Classics Colloquium Cline

For more than three hundred years during the Late Bronze Age, the Mediterranean region played host to a complex international world in which Egyptians, Mycenaeans, Minoans, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Cypriots, and Canaanites all interacted, creating a cosmopolitan and globalized world-system such as has only rarely been seen before the current day. When the end came, the civilized and international world of the Mediterranean regions came to a dramatic halt, large empires and small kingdoms collapsed rapidly, and, with their end, came the first recorded Dark Ages. Blame for the end of the Late Bronze Age is usually laid squarely at the feet of the so-called Sea Peoples; however, as was the case with the fall of the Roman Empire, the end of the Bronze Age empires in this region was probably not the result of a single invasion, but rather of multiple causes, both human and natural — including earthquake storms, droughts, rebellions, and systems collapse — that coalesced to create a “perfect storm.” 

In this illustrated lecture, based on his book of the same title (1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed; Princeton University Press, 2014) that was considered for a 2015 Pulitzer Prize, awarded the American School of Oriental Research’s 2014 prize for “Best Popular Book on Archaeology,” and is being translated into fourteen foreign languages, Professor Eric H. Cline of The George Washington University will explore why the Bronze Age came to an end and whether the collapse of those ancient civilizations might hold some warnings for our current society.

This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Classics, the Department of Religious Studies, Archaeological Institute of America, and Biblical Archaeology Society. Please see the attached poster and visit clas.uiowa.edu/classics for Classics Department info, news, and events!

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