Biblical Archaeology Review 20:4, July/August 1994

Yigael Yadin: “Hoarder and Monopolist”

By John Strugnell

Yigael Yadin distinguished himself in many roles—as a general, as an archaeologist, as a historian, as a scrollster and as a politician. On his performance of these roles, save that of scrollster, I have little information to add or ability to judge. For instance, I cannot assess his skills and faults as an archaeologist; I can merely note that he was continuously in the field, as the pontiffs of that profession then approved; and that he, more than most of his contemporaries, had a flair for choosing the most fruitful sites to dig, and for finding in them the most startling jackpots! Others, like the American James B. Pritchard and the Frenchman Claude Schaeffer, had that same heuristic gift. It is only rarely associated with technical competence in archaeology; at least, that is the complaint of those immaculate in technique, the skilled draftsmen of the balk and the cross-section, whose trench walls are as straight as if they had been made by a young nurse under the eye of the matron, but who, for all those merits, in fact never find anything exciting. Their complaint, however, is really directed not against their rival archaeologists, but against Unjust Fate. Surely, Yadin provoked an abundance of that sort of jealousy.

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