As winter weather blows in, the January/February 2013 issue of BAR turns our thoughts to much warmer climates and the upcoming summer excavation season. Known for decades as our Dig Issue, each year the January/February issue is your resource to find an excavation opportunity in the Holy Land and learn more about life on a dig. This year BAR web editor Noah Wiener supplements our annual guide with “The Diggers Return.” Fieldwork invigorates archaeologists as they experience the thrills of discovery, travel and camaraderie. While some volunteers create lifelong memories in a single season, many others return year after year to dig deeper into the ancient world and their site. You can find much more detailed information about dig sites, volunteering and travel scholarships on our Find a Dig website.
One of the sites in our Dig story inspired another article for this issue, “Samson in the Synagogue” by Jodi Magness. Carved stones scattered around the site hinted at the presence of an ancient synagogue at Huqoq, but exactly where was it located? The search took a surprising turn when excavators revealed a beautiful woman’s face in the dirt. We are excited to share the first published photos of some of the Huqoq mosaics, as well as additional expert analysis on our website.
From a new excavation to a monument that has been known for centuries. Jerusalem’s Tomb of Pharaoh’s Daughter has long captured the attention of explorers and archaeologists alike. Tradition, Egyptian decorations and a captivating name have spurred speculation about the original occupant of this First Temple period monument. In “Who Was Buried in the Tomb of Pharaoh’s Daughter?” Jerusalem archaeologist Gabriel Barkay investigates the question—whose tomb was it?
Then we go back in time even further—more than 10,000 years—to the very beginning of civilization. Which came first—villages or religion? Until recently, experts thought they knew the answer: Agriculture and human settlement in villages gave rise to religious practices. But now, as Ben Witherington III reveals in his article “In the Beginning,” an astonishing site in southeastern Turkey may be turning that theory on its head, revealing that religion was already part of the human experience at the dawn of civilization.
Dig even deeper into Bible and archaeology topics with our columnists. In his First Person, BAR editor Hershel Shanks uses Gustav Klimt’s portrait of Judith to demonstrate how art functions as Bible interpretation. Leonard Greenspoon explores popular uses of the Biblical phrase “Let my people go” in The Bible in the News. Robin Gallaher Branch writes in Biblical Views about widows—important teaching tools in the Bible, not just “wizened whiners.” And in Archaeological Views, Jonathan Price discusses his experience literally writing the book on Jerusalem’s ancient inscriptions.
Keep exploring online at Bible History Daily, where you can access daily articles on key Biblical archaeology topics, the latest news, book reviews and dozens of free eBooks. Right now we’re featuring an article about cyber-archaeology by Thomas E. Levy, Mohammad Najjar and their colleagues. If you haven’t tried our digital issue, check it out here or download our new iPad app. Our BAS Library features easy access to all footnoted articles in BAR Notables and new Special Collections each month.
We always like to hear from you, so let us know what you think of the issue.