Despite heightened tensions, an expectation that sooner or later there will be another war, and a near-universal dislike of Secretary Kissinger, archaeology continues in Israel, if anything on an even larger scale, as if the Israelis were saying Despite it all, we shall continue with the things that are really important; we shall not let matters of war and peace over which we have so little control deter us from pursuing a way of life that we can control and create.
A young, almost boyish-looking archaeologist named Avi Eitan has been appointed as the new head of the Israeli Department of Antiquities and Museums. (We shall introduce him formally to BAR readers in the next issue.) He reports that already this year, permits for 35 planned excavations and 52 emergency excavations have been issued. Emergency excavations are undertaken whenever road construction, a new apartment house, a kibbutzs plowing of a neglected field hits ancient remains. Then all work stops until the Department of Antiquities excavates the area and afterward issues the order that modern development can again resume.
Excavations in Israel are by no means an exclusively Israeli affair. American, German, Italian and Japanese institutions are also sponsoring excavationsand volunteers have come to dig from all over the world.