Just Past?: The Making of Israeli Archaeology

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-08-08
  • Publisher: Acumen Pub Ltd

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During the last decade substantive changes have occurred in the way that archaeology is conducted in the 'Holy Land' as indeed throughout the Near East, but one thing never seems to change: archaeology in Israel/Palestine always takes on a political dimension. This book tells the story of the creation of Israeli Archaeology in the 1950s and early 1960s. Unlike other books on the archaeology of the 'Holy Land,' it is not just a chronological parade of important excavations and nice finds, but a history of intrigues, budgets, failures and-above all-dreams. The book is based on documentary material, often from obscure periodicals in Hebrew, as well as thousands of original documents never published before. Archival documents have not been treated and biographies of Israeli archaeologists are rare and not critical. Obituaries are short and, naturally, positive. The regular products of archaeological writing-excavation and survey reports and the like-are focused on specific topics and thus not helpful for examining the larger picture. Criticisms are also rare and almost always limited to very narrow arenas: the political place within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the accusation about the 'Biblical Archaeology' bias. We read much about the 'myth of Masada,' for example, but nothing about why, by whom and when the decision was made to start excavations at Masada, who gave the budget and how Yadin became the excavator. Uniquely this book gets to the heart of such decisions and the political circumstances in which they were made.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations ix
Introduction xiii
Acknowledgements xvi
Abbreviations xix
1 Archaeology and the 1948 War
2 Abandoned places, new places
3 Foreign aid
4 Frozen funds
5 A battalion of guards
6 Relief work
7 Man robs his land: "agreement" with General Dayan
8 "Gold of Ophir for Beth-Horon": 3,000 shekels
9 The building beyond the border: the PAM, 1948-67
10 A building of dreams: a home for the IDAM and the origins of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem 193(21)
11 A dead man on the council: the story of the supreme archaeological body in Israel 214(36)
12 "But trust comes from the heart": travels with the Government Tourist Corporation 250(34)
13 "Whether in a courtyard of a synagogue, in a courtyard adjacent to a synagogue, or under a synagogue": the Safad affair 284(11)
14 The policy of salvage and early Israeli excavations 295(15)
15 Myths and conclusions 310(11)
Appendix: other documents from the IDAM files 321(12)
Bibliography 333(12)
Author index 345(2)
Index 347

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