It is a pleasure to review this book by Amnon Ben-Tor, whom I have known for 50 years, and whose on-going excavation at Hazor (since 1990) I have toured many times. I even visited Yigael Yadin’s dig there in 1957!
Yadin’s 1955–1958 and 1968 excavations at Hazor—“the head of all those kingdoms” (Joshua 11:10)—were early in modern Israel’s history and were pivotal in training what became the second and now the third and fourth generations of Israeli archaeologists. Yadin was to the “Israeli school” what Dame Kathleen Kenyon was to the “British school,” Roland de Vaux to the “French school” and William F. Albright and George Ernest Wright to the “American school.” Yet Yadin’s excavations used methods that are now obsolete, and they were never fully published by Yadin himself (partially published by Ben-Tor and others in 1989 and 19971). In particular, the end of Canaanite Hazor in the mid-13th century B.C.E. and the question of an “Israelite conquest”—still a major controversy—were never resolved, despite Yadin’s confident assertions.