Biblical Archaeology Review 44:5, September/October 2018

Strata: Momentous Anniversaries

This year—2018—marks the celebration of several significant milestones:

· It is the 70th anniversary of Israel’s antiquities department (the Israel Antiquities Authority, formerly known as the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums).

· The Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority turns 25.

· Seventy years have passed since the announcement of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

· The American Center of Oriental Research celebrates its golden anniversary.

We applaud these momentous anniversaries!

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) oversees Israel’s artifacts and archaeological sites—including their excavation, preservation, conservation, research, and publication. While 2018 marks 70 years since the creation of an antiquities department in Israel, the IAA itself was created in 1990.

The Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority raises awareness and provides financial support to the IAA for certain archaeological and educational projects. This organization not only promotes research and education, but also initiates exhibits and activities for public outreach.

Found in the caves at Qumran near the Dead Sea, the Dead Sea Scrolls have been called the most significant archaeological discovery of the 20th century. Written mostly in Hebrew—but also in Aramaic and Greek—these ancient manuscripts record portions of the Hebrew Bible in its original language and other Jewish texts. Dating from the third century B.C.E. to the first century C.E., the scrolls shed light on the religious and political climate of the day. Although the discovery of the scrolls had begun a couple of years earlier, the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) issued an official press release about their discovery in 1948. ASOR also took the first set of photographs of part of the scroll collection that year.

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