The BAR Companion: September 17, 2008

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AVRAHAM BIRAN, 1909-2008
The End of an Era

One of Israel’s–and the world’s–most prolific archaeologists, has passed away. Avraham Biran, who headed the excavations at Tel Dan for more than 30 years, passed away in Jerusalem just a month shy of his 99th birthday. Biran received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins, studying under the dean of Near Eastern scholarship, William F. Albright. In addition to leading the Tel Dan excavation, Biran dug at numerous sites in Israel, British Mandate-era Palestine and in Iraq, and he headed the Institute of Archaeology at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem for many years. As a tribute to this major figure in the field, we present an extensive interview with Biran conducted by BAR editor Hershel Shanks on the occasion of Biran’s 90th birthday and an article by Web editor Steven Feldman describing a memorable visit he made with Biran to one of Biran’s excavation sites.

Read about Avraham Biran’s extraordinary career ____________________________________________________________

BAR defends the iconic character and its positive effect on the field of archaeology

Upon the latest release of the newest Indiana Jones movie this past spring, moviegoers flocked to see their favorite swashbuckling adventurer battle the bad guys (and girls) while engaged in his latest archaeological adventure. Some archaeologists, however, are not amused by the portrayal of archaeology as seen through Steven Speilberg’s lens and Dr. Jones’s escapades. In his article in the current issue of BAR Aren M. Maeir defends his silver-screen colleague and points out that while Dr. Jones may not represent the reality of how scientists approach an excavation, he does a great deal to foster public support and interest in the field. A role which benefits everyone–fans and scholars alike.

Read Maeir’s defense of Indiana Jones ____________________________________________________________

Check the latest news in Biblical archaeology and
related topics–updated daily

This week in the news, we see how modern technology and diverse international organizations come together to preserve some of the world’s most important archaeological sites in Jordan and Iraq. In Egypt, a lost pyramid is finally found, and in Moscow the plans have been formed for the construction of the largest Jewish museum in the world. In the desert of northern Syria, the remains of what may be a million-year-old miniature camel are discovered, and extremely rare sarcophagi are unearthed in Cyprus.

Read more News

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