Late Prehistoric Pastoral Exploitation of Arid Lands in Jordan: New Light from the Black Desert

By: Gary O. Rollefson Jordan’s Black Desert is a uniquely harsh and inhospitable place. It is a broad band of basalt that stretches across Jordan’s panhandle, running some 145 kilometers from Azraq to its northeastern edge on the Iraqi border, and 115 kilometers from the Syria in the north to Saudi Arabia in the south. […]

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Rethinking the “Qumran Community”: Recent Approaches

By: C.D. Elledge with Olivia Yeo Who really wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls? Twenty years ago, the available options for understanding the identity of the Dead Sea Scrolls Community were relatively concise. Consensus associated the origins of the community with the ascetic Essenes. A few dissenting opinions highlighted its commonalities with the priestly Sadducees or […]

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The Past Performative: Thinking through the Azraq Community Archaeology Project

By: Alison Damick and Ahmad Lash All individuals belong to multiple fluctuating communities. How can archaeology help inform, and learn from, different communities? In this abridged piece from Near Eastern Archaeology, Alison Damick and Ahmad Lash explore how archaeology has engaged with the many communities that live in the town of Azraq in eastern Jordan. […]

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Archaeology and the Bible – Yet Another Personal Viewpoint

By: Aren M. Maeir Biblical Archaeology, that so-popular yet so-vilified profession, deals with the interface between the archaeological remains and the cultures in which the biblical texts were incubated, formed, edited and collected. We archaeologists therefore deal with a large corpus of finds from many periods and cultures, as it is clear that the biblical […]

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Saving Archaeological Heritage in Afghanistan

By: Hans Curvers Former coordinating archeologist at Mes Aynak  During a crisis or conflict, interventions first focus on emergency relief. Once the ‘post-conflict stage’ is reached, the focus shifts to reconstruction. As soon as peace and stability are restored, the exit strategy starts. A straightforward linear process. Where does archaeology fit in? In the Afghan reality, […]

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Who Built the Water System at Gezer? A Preliminary Assessment of the Renewed Excavations

By: Dan Warner In 1907, the Irish archaeologist Robert S. Macalister found an anomaly during his pioneering excavations at Gezer. He thought it was a reservoir but the feature turned out to be one of the largest, if not the largest, water systems in the ancient Near East[i]. But no sooner had he cleared it […]

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New Explorations in the Heart of Assyria: Cities and Landscapes on the Erbil Plain, Kurdistan Region of Iraq

By: Jason Ur After over 150 years of archaeological exploration, one might think that there are no great discoveries left to make in the Ancient Near East. All lost cities found, no more civilizations unaccounted for. This is not the case. The new stability in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq has encouraged archaeology (and business, […]

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Common Ground: Archaeological Practice and Local Communities in Southeastern Turkey

What is the proper relationship between archaeologist and a local community? Whose needs have priority? In this abridged piece from Near Eastern Archaeology, Melissa Rosenzweig and Laurent Dissard put this in concrete terms – when a family wants to bury a loved one on an archaeological site. By: Melissa Rosenzweig and Laurent Dissard For excavations […]

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The Archaeology of Conflict and Remembrance at Gallipoli

By: Sarah Midford and Jessie Birkett-Rees The First World War was an unprecedented catastrophe, killing millions and setting Europe on the path to further conflict. The eight month battle for the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915 provides an outstanding example of the entrenched conflicts over strategic patches of land during the ‘Great War.’ However, in spite […]

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The Archaeology of Israel-Palestine in Finland

By: Kirsi Valkama, University of Helsinki Finland is a country of 5.4 million inhabitants, famous for the cell phone manufacturer Nokia, or at least what is left of it. But Finland had long made contributions to archaeology that outstrip its small size. The first person in Finland to become involved in Near Eastern archaeology was […]

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Archaeology for the Masses: Tearing Down the Barriers between Archaeology and the Public

By: Itzick Shai and Joe Uziel Who does archaeology belong to – the few or the many? Sitting in our archaeology labs we often find ourselves delving into small details uncovered in excavations. These questions of how past societies lived, interacted and functioned often seem of little importance to the wider public, which usually takes […]

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Why Zooarchaeology Should Not Be the Neglected Step-Child of Archaeology and Zoology

By: David R. Lipovitch Zooarchaeology, or animal bone archaeology, is a relatively new sub-field of archaeology. While some work was done as early as the 1870s in trying to understand the role animals played in Near Eastern societies, zooarchaeology did not really reach fruition until the 1960s and ‘70s. This stemmed primarily from attempts among […]

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Joint Custody: An Archaeological Park at Neolithic Ghwair I, Jordan

 ANE Today Editorial Introduction:* Ecotourism is quickly becoming a means for the public to appreciate archaeological sites, even in remote regions. We are pleased to present this article by Alan Simmons and Mohammad Najjar abridged from the latest edition of Near Eastern Archaeology on a case study from Jordan. By: Alan H. Simmons and Mohammad […]

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An Unholy Quartet: Museum Trustees, Antiquity Dealers, Scientific Experts, and Government Agents

In September 2013 the US returned a silver griffin to Iran as part of a diplomatic overture connected to Iranian president Rouhani’s appearance at the United Nations. But as retired Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Oscar White Muscarella showed in papers published in 2008 and 2012, the object is a fake and cannot be dated […]

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What’s New in Biblical Inscriptions?

By: George Athas Summer[1] is an exciting time, and not just because of the weather. It’s the time the archaeological fraternity dusts off its trowels and spades and sets to work digging the tels. Hopefully there are cohorts of grad students to do most of the dirty work. And hopefully, one of them will stumble […]

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Has Archaeology Gone Overboard in Throwing Out the Bible?

By: Steven Collins The relationship between archaeology and the Bible has been a much-debated topic over the last 25 years. The terms ‘minimalists’ and ‘maximalists’ are now as frequent as ‘exodus’ and ‘epigraphy’. There seems to be little or no middle ground. On the one hand, William Dever is—as he has stated on several occasions—flattered […]

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Archaeology and Cultural Heritage in the New Libya

By: Susan Kane and Sam Carrier, Oberlin College The June 2013 destruction of an ancient necropolis near the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cyrene has drawn international attention to the precarious state of archaeology in Libya. Families living on nearby farms apparently have exerted their claim to ownership by clearing a large area of land […]

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Who Really Built the Water System at Megiddo?

By: Norma Franklin Visitors to Megiddo thrill to the long descent into the famous water system, first climbing down the many steps that surround the gaping chasm dug deep into the tell and then the rock cut shaft followed by a long tunnel cut into the bedrock. But who actually built the water system? In […]

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Current Issues in Israelite Religion

By: Richard S. Hess The archaeology of Israelite religions continues to evoke new evidence and approaches. Recent reassessments raise the question of monotheism in pre-exilic Israel. Put another way, did anyone believe in a single deity before the fall of Jerusalem in 587/6 BCE? The traditional critical view has been that Josiah instituted a (Deuteronomistic) […]

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Breaking Ground at Tel Abel Beth Maacah—Why Dig at the Gateway to the Arameans

By: Robert Mullins and Nava Panitz-Cohen Abel Beth Maacah is an imposing 35-acre mound controlling one of the most strategic passes in northern Israel and has the honor of being the northernmost site in Israel (running neck-and-neck with nearby Tel Dan, but winning by a nostril). It was also ancient Israel’s northern gateway to the […]

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