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The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies Provides a comprehensive survey of Biblical scholarship in a variety of disciplines.

Archaeology in Palestine and Israel, 1863–2000

The first archaeological excavations in Palestine were F. de Saulcy's investigation of the ‘Tombs of the Kings’ (in fact, the family tomb of a first-century CE convert to Judaism, Queen Helena of Adiabene) in 1863, and Charles Warren's shaft and tunnel exploration of Herod's temple's foundations (1867–8) and minor excavations at Jericho (1868). For the next twenty years the Palestine Exploration Fund concentrated on surveying the land—the Survey of Western Palestine, 1871–80; Eastern Palestine, 1881–2; the Wadi Arabah, 1883–4. The discovery of the Mesha stele (or Moabite Stone) in 1868 led to further archaeological exploration of Jordan by the American Palestine Exploration Society (1873, 1875–7) and by G. Schumacher for the Palestine Exploration Fund and the Deutsche Palästina-Vereins (1884–6), and later by R. E. Brunnow and A. Domaszewski (1897–8) and A. Musil (1900–6).

Major excavation in Palestine began under Flinders Petrie at Tell el-Hesi in 1890 (Moorey 1991: 28–9; Drower 1985: 159–63), which Petrie selected largely because he identified it with biblical Lachish. Petrie started on the eastern side of the tell, where the wadi had cut into it, exposing the strata. Pottery and artefacts from each level were noted separately; ‘here for the first time the relationship of the pottery to the stratigraphy of the site was recorded’ (Drower 1985: 160–1). The pottery sequence thus secured could be used to date similar strata elsewhere, and the stratified discovery of Egyptian inscriptions or royal scarabs allowed cross-linkage with the accepted Egyptian chronology. Later, similar linkages could be made with Assyrian chronology. Petrie's stratigraphy at Tell el-Hesi, though not uncriticized (see Wheeler 1956: 29–34; Davies 1988: 49), provided the methodological basis for the next century's archaeology in Palestine. Petrie erred, however, in identifying Tell el-Hesi with biblical Lachish, thus imposing the biblical history of Lachish on the archaeological evidence of the wrong site (Lachish is generally identified with Tell ed-Duweir). However, excavations now followed at sites chosen for their biblical importance: R. A. S. Macalister excavated at Gezer (1902–8) and Jerusalem (1923–4); G. A. Reisner excavated Samaria (1908–10); E. Sellin and C. Watzinger excavated Jericho (1907–9); C. S. Fisher (1921–3) and A. Rowe (1924–9) excavated at Bethshean, and C. S. Fisher (1925–7) initiated the University of Chicago expedition to Megiddo, which lasted until 1939. Meanwhile, in 1922 W. F. Albright excavated Tell el-Ful (identified by Robinson as King Saul's capital at Gibeah) before moving to Tell Beit Mirsim (1926–32), then wrongly identified as biblical Debir. The 1930s saw enormous archaeological activity in Palestine, with excavations at Tell en-Nasbeh (biblical Mizpah) (W. F. Bade, 1926–35), Bethshemesh (E. Grant, 1938–9), Samaria (J. W. Crowfoot, 1931–5), Jericho (J. Garstang, 1930–6), Et-Tell (biblical Ai) (J. M. Krause, 1933–5), Tell ed-Duweir (Lachish) (J. Starkey, 1933–8), and Tell el-Kheleifeh (wrongly identified with Ezion-Geber) (N. Glueck, 1938–40).

Archaeological work was largely suspended during the Second World War and the formation of the state of Israel in 1948, but afterwards work resumed at important sites, including Tell el-Far'ah North (biblical Tirzah) (R. de Vaux, 1946–60), El-Jib (Gibeon) (J. B. Pritchard, 1956–63), Ramat Rahel (Beth-hakkerem) (A. Aharoni, 1954–62), Tell Balata (Shechem) (G. E. Wright, 1956–63), Hazor, Masada, and again Megiddo (Y. Yadin, 1955–8, 1963–5, and 1970–1), Jericho and Jerusalem (K. M. Kenyon, 1953–8, 1961–7), Arad (R. Amiran, 1962–78), Et-Tell (Ai) (J. Calloway, 1964–9), Tel Dan (A. Biran, 1966–99), Beersheba (A. Aharoni, 1969–75), Tell Hesban (Heshbon) (S. Horn, 1968–78), Tell ed-Duweir/Tel Lakish (D. Ussishkin, 1972–87), Buseirah (Bozrah in Edom) (C.-M. Bennett, 1973–9), Tel Dor (E. Stern, 1980–96), Jerusalem (Y. Shiloh, 1978–88), Tel Miqne (Ekron) (T. Dothan and S. Gitin, 1983–90, 1993–6), Ascalon (L. E. Stager, 1985– ), Tel Beit Shean (A. Mazar, 1989–91), Hazor (Amnon Ben-Tor, 1990– ), Tel Beth Shemesh (S. Bunimovitz, Z. Lederman, and R. Kletter, 1990–2000).

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