Thank you for allowing me to serve you as Editor of BAR for these past three years
How does one properly welcome a new year of BAR following a 2020 season that saw almost all excavation in the Holy Land halted due to the ongoing COVID-19 virus that has killed more than 2 million people worldwide? The pandemic has impacted every sphere of life and fundamentally changed the way we visit grocery stores and libraries, celebrate holidays, and attend school, church, synagogue, mosque, and events, including weddings, funerals, and the 2020 BAS Bible and Archaeology Fest.
We do as people have done since antiquity: We carry on as best we can, making the changes necessary to ensure our safety, while holding fast to the traditions and convictions that make us who we are.
That’s what we must do now in our janiform first issue of 2021—we look back and honor those we lost (and by now nearly everyone knows someone who has died from this terrible virus), and we must look forward steadfastly to a future that sees progress. We hope not to return to where we were, but to advance into a new, necessarily transformed world, making the most of what we have, forging new memories, making new discoveries, and working together to embrace change and create the communities in which we want not only to live, but also to thrive.
It is in this spirit of personal reflection, self-evaluation, and assessment of priorities that I announce that I shall be stepping down as Editor of BAR. The Spring 2021 issue will be my last.
I am very proud of what we have accomplished over the last three years at BAR. We have maintained our robust subscriber base, increased our online readership, and completed a much-overdue redesign of the magazine. And on the topic of redesign, allow me to announce one final change before I go: We have increased the font size that we use in the pages of BAR, which will make your reading experience that much easier and agreeable.
Over the past three years, we welcomed a new and diverse generation of archaeologists and scholars as authors to the pages of BAR—those leading the latest and most exciting excavations throughout the Holy Land. Together we celebrated the contributions of women in our field, ceased the publication of unprovenanced and black-market antiquities, and joined together to produce BAS’s first ever virtual Bible and Archaeology Fest, which was a smashing success to the tune of three times the attendance of what we normally see at Fest—a virtual streaming format that, based on your resounding feedback, BAS may maintain even after the annual in-person Fest returns.
Most of all, we have tried to strike a balance between timely archaeological news, credible biblical and archaeological scholarship, entertaining trivia, games, and puzzles, and as always, big, beautiful photos of the Holy Land in each issue.
As for me, I shall continue my teaching and research as a tenured professor of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Iowa, my work on Bible- and archaeology-related television documentaries, a couple of forthcoming books, a new digital video project, and spend more time with my wife and with my five children, who are all growing up so quickly. My family and I shall also spend the coming year on a long overdue (and COVID-postponed) sabbatical living in Israel.
I want to thank everyone at BAS for the time we’ve spent working together. It has truly been an honor to work with such a talented and diverse team. But most importantly, I want to thank YOU for being such loyal readers and supporters of our shared mission. May this coming year of change bring you peace, joy, and enlightenment as together we continue to dig deeper into history.
Everything the Best! —BOB CARGILL
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