Archaeology in the Holy Land

Archaeology in the Holy Land

Archaeology in the Holy Land

Archaeology in the Holy Land

Excerpt

The emphasis in this book is on the first word in its title, archaeology. It does not claim to be a complete history, for in the historical period literary evidence can give a much more detailed political, religious and economic picture than has here been attempted. But nevertheless, a story of Palestine is the framework of the book, with the emphasis upon the contribution that archaeology can make. Down to c. 3000 B.C., archaeology alone can write the story. As the story is gradually merged into history, archaeology still plays a very large part. Only in the first millennium B.C. can history provide a reasonably consecutive story, and even then it would remain a one-sided, unbalanced story without the help of archaeology. This book therefore aims at showing the evidence that writes the story for the prehistoric period and in the historic periods concentrates on the evidence which supplements the written record, using this only as a background for the archaeological material.

An excellent book has already been written by Professor Albright on the archaeology of Palestine. But this appeared in 1949, and gave the picture provided by pre-war archaeology, for active field archaeology was virtually at a standstill between 1936 and 1952. Since then much has happened, for Palestinian archaeology in both Jordan and Israel is an extremely live affair, as all branches of archaeology should be. The great modifications and amplifications for which fresh discoveries have provided the evidence is the justification for a new book.

In any book of this sort, it is inevitable that the centre of the author's thought and reasoning should be those sites of which he has first-hand experience. This is my justification that Jericho, and to a lesser extent Samaria, bulks rather large in the Index, just as Tell Beit Mirsim did in Professor Albright's book. My further . . .

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