Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Excavations in West Bank

The Jerusalem Post reports on the number of excavations that have taken place in the West Bank or Gaza Strip since 1967.

About 15 percent of the total number of archaeological excavations conducted in Israel over the past 40 years took place across the Green Line, a study released Wednesday showed.

The Tel Aviv University study reveals that approximately 1500 excavations had been carried out at some 900 different sites across the Green Line over the last four decades, which comes to about 15% of the total number of excavations conducted in Israel during that time.

The study, by Dr. Rafi Greenberg and Adi Keinan of the university's Department of Archeology and Near Eastern studies, found that the peak of academic involvement in the excavation of east Jerusalem occurred in the first decade following the unification of the city in 1967, while the height of academic activity in the West Bank came between the rise of the Likud to power in 1977 and the first Palestinian Intifada in 1987.

A few points of interest from this brief article:

1. Many of the sites related to Israel's ancient history are located in the West Bank, and 15% is a very small number for such an important area.  There is much to be done here, and it won't happen if Israelis do not have access because a) there are not many Palestinian archaeologists; b) the Palestinian people are largely uninterested in sites related to Jewish history.

2. The article doesn't give the total number of excavations in Israel since 1967, but there apparently have been 10,000 (1500/.15).

3. Israeli archaeologists should be hailed for studying these sites and gaining much knowledge from them, instead of being vilified as "occupiers."  Some of the important Israeli excavations in this area include Herodium, Shiloh, Jericho (Tulul abu el-Alayiq), Mt. Gerizim, and Mamre.  Sites that need more excavation include Samaria, Tirzah (Tell el-Farah North), Bethel and vicinity, Tekoa, and Jericho (Tell es-Sultan).



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