Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ramat Bet Shemesh Regional Project: The Gazetteer

As good things tend to do, this is a reminder of how much remains to be done and how much has already been lost in the rest of the country.  As announced by the author through the Agade list:

The Ramat Bet Shemesh Regional Project: The Gazetteer.
Author: Yehuda Dagan
IAA Reports 46, Jerusalem, 2010, 351pp. Topographical map $30.

This is the first of several volumes to be published in the near future documenting The Ramat Bet Shemesh Regional Project.

Following the decision to construct a new town in the hills of the Judean Shephelah, south of the modern city of Beth Shemesh, the Israel Antiquities Authority undertook a comprehensive archaeological–environmental study of the entire area during the years 1994–2000, prior to construction of the new town. As construction of the new town would change the cultural and natural landscapes entirely, the Ramat Bet Shemesh Project aimed to document ALL remains, both ancient and modern, before the bulldozers began their work. This was accomplished through archaeological and environmental surveys of higher resolution than any similar studies carried out to date in the southern Levant within the context of a regional archaeological project. The surveys were accompanied by archaeological excavations of ALL ancient remains in the areas fated to be destroyed. Our final aim was to reconstruct the settlement landscapes of each period, from the Paleolithic era to the recent past, through the integration of the archaeological surveys and excavations and the interdisciplinary environmental studies, with the aid of GIS technology to enable cross-referencing between the different databases.

The Gazetteer comprises a detailed description of all the survey sites and the final reports of 100 small-scale excavations. The following volume, now in press, Landscapes of Settlement: From the Palaeolithic to the Ottoman Period, presents the methodology, field techniques, and the ecological and environmental studies, as well as a reconstruction of the settlement patterns of each period, from the Paleolithic to the Ottoman periods, as revealed in our surveys and excavations. The final volume, in preparation, will comprise the final excavation reports of the major archaeological excavations conducted within the framework of this project.

The book can be ordered through the Israel Antiquities Authority online shop.

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