Archaeology is increasingly becoming an organized battery of specialized disciplines. Today, new excavations such as Tel Hadid incorporate specialists with expertise in various areas, including ceramics, glass, religious and cultic objects, plant remains (e.g., seeds and pollen), and zoological remains (e.g., bones and fur). Some experts specialize in historical periods, such as the Late Bronze Age or Roman period. Others focus on technology and can catalog the data and even reconstruct the site in virtual reality. What follows is a series of short, specialized reports that gives BAR readers an in-depth look at Tel Hadid to understand this site like the experts do.—B.C.
Hunting for Hadid
During the early years of Christianity, scholars, such as Eusebius (260/265–339/340 C.E.), “rediscovered” the land of the Bible and identified numerous biblical places in the settlements of their times. They identified Haditha (Greek: ’Αδɩθά or Αδɩθα)—Tel Hadid—as the site of Adithaim, a town in the allotment of Judah (Joshua 15:36). The famous Madaba Map (part of a mosaic floor from the sixth-century C.E. church of Saint George at Madaba, Jordan) similarly features a village west of Jerusalem with the caption “Adiathim that is now Aditha.” This identification was seemingly accepted not only by scholars but also by the local people—members of the Christian community seeking their biblical roots.
However, biblical Adithaim should be sought in the Judean Shephelah, south of the Lydda Valley. Clearly, this confusion was fueled by the phonetic similarities between the names.