Biblical Archaeology Review 37:6, November/December 2011

First Person: Antiquities in Poems

By Ronny Reich

We don’t often think of other aspects of archaeologists’ lives—when they’re not in the field or the lab or writing an excavation report, preliminary or final. Oh, of course, they have families, love their parents, argue with their spouses, yell at their children and get sick sometimes. But they also have interests not strictly archaeological. Such is the case with my friend Ronny Reich, excavator of the City of David.

Ronny loves poetry—particularly German and Hebrew poetry. He especially enjoys translating it. He recently sent me a little piece that he titled “Lyrical Antiquities,” a kind of introduction to his translation of a Hebrew poem by the Israeli poet Nathan Alterman. I am pleased to devote this issue’s First Person to it. It gives us a different way of approaching archaeology—not as a scholar, a historian or a scientist, but as a poet.—H.S.

Lyrical Antiquities

Ancient sites and ancient objects find their way, occasionally, into poetry. They may transmit a most concrete sense of the passing of time.

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