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Biblical Archaeology Review 46:5, Winter 2020

Strata: Milestones: Magen Broshi: First Curator of the Dead Sea Scrolls

By Shimon Gibson

In July 2020, Magen Broshi, a leading Israeli archaeologist and Dead Sea Scrolls expert, died in Jerusalem at the age of 91.

Magen’s father, Azriel Broshi (formerly Brestovitzky), arrived in Palestine from Poland in 1920, at the time of the Third Aliya movement, and was instrumental in opening up the study of the land’s geographical history and organizing study tours for groups throughout the country. Broshi’s mother, Esther, an educator from Poland, was the daughter of the writer Moshe Yitzchak Wollach.

Broshi studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and at the University of Chicago. Throughout his career, his specialties included the Dead Sea Scrolls, Qumran’s archaeology, the Second Temple period, ancient demography, ancient agriculture and viticulture, and Jerusalem’s history and archaeology. He published extensively, including the popular book Bread, Wine, Walls and Scrolls (Sheffield Academic Press, 2001).

Broshi obtained his earliest archaeological experiences with Pierre Pinchas Delougaz in the 1960s and with Benjamin Mazar at the Beth Shearim cemetery in Israel, now the Beit She‘arim National Park, about 12 miles east of Haifa. Broshi also took part in the first expedition to Masada headed by Yigael Yadin. He went on to direct numerous excavations, notably at Tel Megadim on the coast, Mount Zion in Jerusalem (including the sites of Christ Church, the Western Old City Wall, Armenian Garden, Zion Gate, St. Saviours, and the Nea Gate), the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Qumran caves (with the late Professor Hanan Eshel).

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