Yigal Shiloh 1937–1987
On Saturday, November 14, 1987, Yigal Shiloh died of cancer at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, where, two years earlier, he had undergone surgery that removed more than half of his stomach. Saturday, November 14, 1987, brought an abrupt end to a long, stubborn struggle by a courageous man against a merciless illness.
He was only 50 years old when he died.
Shiloh began his archaeological studies relatively late, at an age when many of his contemporaries were completing theirs. He had already finished his military service (where he served in a paratroop unit) and had had a non-academic career.
Nevertheless, he immediately joined the major expeditions of the late 50s—the Judean Desert Survey and Yigael Yadin’s excavation of Masada. He distinguished himself from the start.
If memory serves me, he began as a lowly assistant in Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology. By 1983 he had risen to Head of the Institute.
During the 60s, he participated in every important dig of the Institute. Special mention should be made of the last season at Hazor (1968) where, again under Yadin’s direction, Shiloh supervised the excavation of the most complicated area on the mound, around the entrance to the water system.
Later, he joined Yadin at Megiddo. After Yadin’s death in 1984, Shiloh was asked to undertake the final publication of the Megiddo excavation results—his part in Yadin’s inheritance.