Biblical Archaeology Review 28:5, September/October 2002

First Person: The Anonymous Archaeologist

It’s time to link the finder with the find

By Hershel Shanks

In the 1980s Gershon Edelstein, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority, was excavating ancient farms at Ein Yael, outside Jerusalem.a These were not jazzy sites (except for a villa where the Roman boss once lived, which contained mosaicsb), but there was a lot to learn anyway—about the ancient food supply and economy, as well as about ancient farming techniques and crafts. As Edelstein wrote, “I was not looking for the kind of breathtaking artifacts that tourists ooh-and-aah about in museums.” Instead, he was interested in investigating terraces built on natural foundations, a wine-producing installation, oil presses, grinding stones, pottery manufacturing techniques, cisterns, water conduits, reservoirs, pathways, fenced enclosures and man-made caves.

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