BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY REVIEWThe BAR Companion: November 26, 2008

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BAR Editor-in-Chief Hershel Shanks Suggests that Competing with Looters May be the Solution to Stopping Them

Over the last several years, press attention and high profile legal battles have highlighted the problem of antiquities looting and the illegal purchase of artifacts by private collectors and even some institutions. In the current issue of BAR‘s First Person column, Editor-in-chief Hershel Shanks has a "radical proposal": why not allow archaeologists to compete with the looters? He suggests allowing professional archaeologists to excavate sites properly, and then sell the finds legally to museums and collectors in order to fund the digs. Not only would the excavations and all of their important scientific data be properly recorded, he points out, but the whereabouts of the artifacts would always be known in an open market. The objects would, of course, be required to be available for academic study and publication. Mr. Shanks argues that the current method adopted by scholarly organizations of simply refusing to publish studies of looted objects not only fails to impact the market demand for such pieces, but deprives the academic community of information that could potentially be very important to their field of study. Why not beat the looters at their own game, and preserve both archaeological sites and their vital data in the process?

Read "A Radical Proposal" by Hershel Shanks ____________________________________________________________

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

This week in the news, politics is in the forefront as Egypt battles the St. Louis Museum of Art for a priceless golden funerary mask that it claims was smuggled illegally out of the country. An ancient Christian church is discovered in Syria, while King Herod’s palace and mausoleum at Herodian yield yet more discoveries attesting to the ancient king’s opulent compound. What is believed to be the oldest Islamic inscription sheds new light on modern Qur’an scholarship, and a 1,800-year-old Thracian chariot is discovered in Bulgaria. In Jerusalem, a very rare visit by foreign journalists to the al-Aska Mosque marks the first time in eight years that non-Muslims have been allowed into the sacred Islamic site.

Read more Breaking News ____________________________________________________________

Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who voted. You, our readers, have chosen the cover of BAR‘s ever-popular Digs issue for 2009, in which we’ll announce excavation projects that are looking for volunteers next summer. Many loyal BAR readers have had the trip of a lifetime by participating in these excavations. Watch your mailboxes to see which cover was the winner!


with scholar-guide Dr. Chahinda Karim

Enjoy a 2-week tour of Egypt that you will never forget!
February 13 – 27, 2009

Follow our brilliant scholar-guide Dr. Chahinda Karim through the amazing sites of one the world’s greatest civilizations–tombs, temples, and museums in Cairo, Luxor, Aswan and the Nile River.

You’ll also learn from additional lectures by distinguished scholars and experts and enjoy the thrill of private access opportunities chosen especially to enhance your experience and make it truly unique.

We offer expertly designed itineraries, distinguished scholars and experts, fine hotels, excellent dining, and well-chosen private experiences.
Read a firsthand account of the 2008 tour.

If you have any questions, please contact Temma Ecker at 708-383-8739 or

View pricing and complete itinerary and reserve your spot ____________________________________________________________

Submit a caption

Write a caption for this cartoon! The author of the best caption will receive a BAS T-shirt, a Dead Sea Scroll mug and three complimentary subscriptions to give BAR to friends. Runners-up will receive a BAS T-shirt and two complimentary subscriptions.The deadline for captions is December 15, 2008.

Submit your caption ____________________________________________________________

BAR’s editors want to hear from our readership

As we prepare to celebrate the 200th issue of BAR next summer, the editors want to hear from our readers. We want to know about you and what you like or don’t like about our magazine. We’d like to hear your stories too: When did you first discover BAR and how have you seen it change over the years? Have you volunteered on one of our sponsored digs? How was your experience, and how did it affect your life?

Send your story by email to and it may appear in print in our 200th issue.

Readers who complete the survey will receive a $5.00 coupon for BAS merchandise.

Complete our Survey and receive your $5.00 coupon

A Radical Proposal
Breaking News
Cover Photo Contest
Exclusively Egypt
Cartoon Caption Contest
Subscriber Survey


» Now on DVD!

The Archaeology of Jerusalem

Discover the great archaeological finds from Jerusalem over the ages. On-site location shots of Herod’s Temple Mount, the Jerusalem Cardo, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock and much more. Comes with an accompanying study guide.


View information here

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