Biblical Archaeology Review 15:5, September/October 1989

How I Found a Fourth-Century B.C. Papyrus Scroll on My First Time Out!

By Hanan Eshel

This is almost as much a personal story of luck and adventure as it is an archaeological story. It tells of my first dig—my own dig, that is—after graduating with a B.A. in archaeology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. My story will perhaps explain why, despite the scientific advances and the careful, methodical techniques that characterize most excavations today, there is still so much romance in, and attraction to, archaeology. The reason is simple: the mystery remains; the unexpected still happens. In short, one never knows.

It happened to me!

The name of the site is Ketef (KEH-tehf) Jericho—the shoulder of Jericho.

Ancient Jericho sits in the wide plain of the Jordan Valley, west of the river, six miles north of the Dead Sea. Less than a mile to the west of the tella of Jericho, which still encompasses most of the ancient city, a line of steep cliffs rises to a height of over 650 feet. This ridge provides a beautiful view of the lush tropical vegetation of Jericho fed by the perennial spring called ’Ein es-Sultan by the Arabs and known to westerners as Elisha’s Spring (from the Biblical story in 2 Kings 2:19–22).

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