Adam Zertal is professor of Near Eastern Archaeology at Haifa University. As director of the Manasseh Hill Country Survey, Zertal discovered hundreds of archaeological sites dating to the earliest periods of ancient Israel’s existence, including the controversial cultic site of Mt. Ebal.a In this excerpt from a recent interview Zertal gave to Israel National Radio, he discusses the importance of the Manasseh Survey and its findings for understanding the history of ancient Israel.
Survey is mapping. We map and register every archaeological site, everything that was made by man, from all periods. I think one of the motives [for the Manasseh survey] was that [the northern hill-country] is the area most relevant for the beginning of Israel.
Look, you have the school of minimalists, you have the others schools, but none of them ever had the facts. You can claim that there is ancient Israel, that there is no ancient Israel, there is a Joshua, there is not a Joshua, but go to the territory and look for the facts. That was not done.