The ancient mound of Hazor has played a central role in the life of Amnon Ben-Tor. As a student, he worked there on his first dig. That was in 1957. Eleven years later he returned to Hazor, this time as a supervisor, working closely with dig director Yigael Yadin, Israel’s foremost archaeologist. While he was a supervisor, Ben-Tor, as he put it, “found” his wife, who at that time was a student on the dig. (She is now the curator of the Egyptian collection at the Israel Museum and the mother of their two daughters.)
When Yigael Yadin died in 1984, the last volume of the final report of the Hazor expedition had not yet been written. Ben-Tor was selected to head the team that would complete it. The last volume is now in press.
Recently, Ben-Tor was installed as the Yigael Yadin Professor of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. And he is going back to Hazor. Next summer Ben-Tor will lead a new archaeological expedition to Hazor.
I asked him why he was going back. Hadn’t it already been excavated?
Yadin himself had plans to go back to Hazor, Ben-Tor explained. Yadin believed there was an archive of cuneiform tablets buried somewhere in the mound. I asked Ben-Tor if he agreed with Yadin’s speculation.
“A hundred percent,” he replied. “It’s there. I know it’s there.”