Biblical Archaeology Review 35:1, January/February 2009

Archaeological Views: The Value of Experience

By Oded Borowski

I was born in Israel (then Palestine) and grew up in a small town called Ramat Gan. Quite often during construction projects, archaeological sites would come to light, and as a youngster I always enjoyed visiting them.

One of the town’s archaeological sites that did not need to be discovered was Tell Jerishe (Tel Gerisa)—known to us as Har Napoleon (Mt. Napoleon). Local legend had it that Napoleon had shelled Jaffa from the top of this mound. The site, which at the time was located on the outskirts of town and surrounded by orange groves and prickly-pear cactus hedges, had been explored and partially excavated since 1927, and some of the finds were lying exposed for everyone to see and admire. As a kid, my imagination soared whenever I visited the mound, something I did quite often.

My grade-school years covered the period before, during and just after the establishment of the State of Israel. These were the days of strong patriotic zeal, love of country and a strong commitment to the Jewish people. These values were conveyed to each of us in school through a variety of subjects including Bible, history and homeland studies. The curriculum also included visits to historical sites, as well as long hikes through the countryside organized by different youth movements. These youth movements had an important impact in shaping the personality (including ideology) of every youngster growing up in that period.

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