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Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 1997


Special Section

Defusing Pseudo-Scholarship

The Siloam Inscription Ain’t Hasmonean

The cover story in a recent issue of Biblical Archaeologist, published by the American Schools of Oriental Research, the leading American scholarly society of Biblical archaeologists, makes the startling suggestion that the famous Siloam Inscription, once thought to mark the completion of King Hezekiah’s eighth-century B.C.E. tunnel...Read more ›

Defusing Pseudo-Scholarship

Spelling Differences and Letter Shapes Are Telltale Signs

By Jo Ann Hackett

The famous Siloam Inscription, originally carved into the wall of Hezekiah’s Tunnel in Jerusalem to commemorate the tunnel’s completion, does not date to the late eighth century B.C.E., as universally accepted until now, but rather to a half millennium later, “strongly suggest” two English scholars in the...Read more ›

Defusing Pseudo-Scholarship

No Trained Epigraphist Would Confuse the Two

By P. Kyle McCarter Jr.

The Siloam tunnel inscription is written in a very well known Hebrew script. The script is found on other late-eighth-century B.C.E. inscriptions carved in stone, such as the so-called Royal Steward inscription found in Silwan village in 1870 and now displayed in the British Museum.a It is...Read more ›

Defusing Pseudo-Scholarship

Are We Prepared to Raze the Edifice?

By André Lemaire

The dating of the Siloam Inscription proposed by Rogerson and Davies would not only change the interpretation of one of the most famous monuments of ancient Jerusalem. It would also change the dating of other Hebrew inscriptions of the First Temple period, since the Siloam Inscription is...Read more ›

Defusing Pseudo-Scholarship

Some Paleographic Success Stories

By Esther Eshel

Readers of Rogerson and Davies’s Biblical Archaeologist article on the Siloam Inscription might well conclude that paleography has no scientific basic. But that is not the case at all. Not only is paleography a useful and accurate tool, but its results are supported by external evidence. Consider...Read more ›

Defusing Pseudo-Scholarship

Philology Recapitulates Paleography

By Avi Hurvitz

I am not surprised that some of the leading paleographical authorities in our field have so severely criticized the effort of Rogerson and Davies to place the Siloam Inscription in the Hasmonean period. Their philological handling of the Biblical and extra-Biblical data is equally unsatisfactory. Paleography and...Read more ›


Because They Can’t See a Difference, They Assert No One Can

By Frank Moore Cross

To my surprise, they cite the excellent study of Hasmonean and Roman paleo-Hebrew scripts by Mark McLean. McLean traces the typology of this archaizing script and is able to date by centuries and sometimes by half centuries paleo-Hebrew inscriptions, coin legends and manuscripts of the Hellenistic and...Read more ›

Underground Metropolis: The Subterranean World of Maresha

By Amos Kloner

Much of our work at the site of Maresha takes place underground—in tombs and in caves.1 BAR readers will not be surprised by the number of tombs, two of them with their walls covered with spectacular paintings. Much less common, however, are Maresha’s hundreds...Read more ›

Fake! The Many Facets of the Forger’s Art

By Gusta Lehrer-Jacobson

In a recent issue of BAR,a London antiquities collector Shlomo Moussaieff bemoans the fact that collectors, among their other difficulties, are the constant prey of fakers. Moussaieff knows whereof he speaks. No serious collection of archaeological artifacts, public or private, has failed to “swallow”...Read more ›

Gaza Report

Nascent Palestinian Authority tackles a new dig

By Hershel Shanks

The port of ancient Gaza has been found. A joint Palestinian-French expedition is conducting the first scientific archaeological excavation since the Palestinian Authority took charge of the city. They have found remains of the port in at least two sites along the shoreline. Today Gaza evokes images...Read more ›

New Orleans Gumbo

Plenty of spice at Annual Meeting

By Hershel Shanks

I suppose I should have known it would happen someday. Perhaps the next thing will be a Ph.D. dissertation analyzing the “BAR phenomenon.” The scholarly community sometimes can’t quite understand us—so it tries to explain us. Absent a full-fledged doctoral dissertation, a scholarly paper was devoted to...Read more ›

Backward Glance: The Ur-Archaeologist

Leonard Woolley and the treasures of Mesopotamia

By Edward M. Luby

Sir Leonard Woolley, renowned as the excavator of “Ur of the Chaldees,” was no stranger to publicity. Through best-selling books, popular magazine articles and extensive newspaper interviews, Woolley painstakingly translated the results of his Near Eastern archaeological investigations into a language accessible to the public, winning himself...Read more ›