Biblical Archaeology Review 34:6, November/December 2008

Archaeological Views: Archaeology Adding to the Powder Keg

By David Ilan

Among hundreds of academics internationally, David Ilan was one of a handful of Israeli archaeologists who agreed to sign a petition protesting archaeological excavations in the City of David, the most ancient part of Jerusalem. We invited him to write a column on his views in an effort to give a forum to different viewpoints in our pages.

In BAR we try to stay out of politics, except insofar as it affects archaeology, although we may not always be successful. Ilan’s column (below), however, crosses the line into pure politics. It is not so much about the archaeology in the City of David as it is about the funder and its political views. We do not intend to print responses to Ilan’s characterization of Elad, although it is certainly true that Elad is on the right end of the political spectrum.

Some of our readers may share Elad’s viewpoints; others may detest them. We are not taking sides in this debate. All we are interested in is whether Elad’s ideology has any effect on the archaeology it supports. All of the archaeologists mentioned in Ilan’s column are sterling, first-rate archaeologists, and we are confident that it does not.

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