Biblical Archaeology Review 34:3, May/June 2008

Ein Gedi’s Archaeological Riches

By Hershel Shanks

I have visited Ein Gedi, the oasis on the western shore of the Dead Sea, a number of times. But not until I looked at this volume did I appreciate its rich variety of archaeological treasures.

Most tourists who stop here come for the natural beauty, not for the archaeological treasures. The main attractions of the site are a beautiful waterfall and pools in Nahal David where you can splash around and get a little relief from the often sweltering heat of the Judean Desert.

Ein Gedi lies between two major wadis. One is Nahal David. (Nahal is Hebrew for a usually dry valley bed. The Arabic equivalent is wadi.) The other is Wadi Arugot (also Nahal Arugot). Tourists with more time (but more often Israelis) take a walk up the incredibly sculptured Wadi Arugot with its own fresh stream and fascinating flora and wildlife. That can easily consume an early morning or a late afternoon.

With all that, the archaeology gets short shrift. That’s too bad.

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