Saturday, February 24, 2007

Bad, Ugly, & Good

Last Friday I received notification from Archaeology Magazine's mailinglist about their latest issue, which included an abstract preview on their website for an article by Richard Atwood. I posted a courtesy notification on Yahoo's ANE-2 list entitled "Him that Holdeth the Sceptre from Ashkelon" on Monday. The basic gist of it is that Prof. Lawrence E. Stager of Harvard has been denied an excavation license by the IAA for his BAD/lack of publication.

A quick background on his importance to LMLK research: Frank M. Cross, Jr. & J.T. Milik found an x2x handle at Khirbet es-Samrah, which they published in BASOR 142 back in April 1956. It has a high probability of being an H2D. Prof. Stager worked there years later & published another H2D handle with Circles in his January 1975 doctoral dissertation, "Ancient Agriculture in the Judaean Desert" (relevant excerpts on p. 222 of my LMLK vol. 1 book). Both of these handles contribute to my theory that Samrah was one of the sites built up by Judeans subsequent to Sennacherib's destruction of the territory west of Jerusalem, though as with most other x2D handles, neither specimen came from a clear stratification.

Then on Wednesday, the paper edition of Archaeology arrived in my mail, & I posted this response to remarks by David Stacey (who worked with Stager at Ashkelon), but it was rejected (deemed too UGLY/controversial by the moderators) & never appeared on the public ANE-2 list:

> The excavations were supposedly well endowed but
> little seems to have been dedicated to publication.
> David Stacey

According to the article (which, by the way, in print is far more extensive [pp. 18, 60, & 62] than the web page abstract I cited in my original post), the annual budget (provided by Leon Levy) was "about $300,000" according to Prof. Stager.


Shelby White is funding publication of the 10-volume excavation report, the first 2 of which are supposedly already half a year late.

According to Gideon Avni (IAA director of excavations & surveys), another (the only other) dig license currently being denied is for James Strange at Sepphoris.

Oh, & it wouldn't be a true Archaeology magazine article without a jab at Hershel Shanks for publishing the James Ossuary, with its inscription "found to be almost certainly a recent addition". How ironic that they're writing about archeologists who don't publish timely/responsibly, while they're conveniently omitting any mention of Dr. Krumbein's report.

George Michael Grena, II

In stark contrast to, & concurrent with, these publication problems, last Sunday I began corresponding with a lady named Rotem, who last year launched a fantastic site:

I mentioned to her that it would be nice to see some of the sites in the area just east of Haifa Bay added to her map, particularly Tel Sharti (alternately called Khirbet Sharta or H. Sirta; SAR@E) in the city of Kiryat Ata (alternately called Qiryat Ata, formerly named Kefar Ata or Kfar Atta; KFR ATA).

Lo & behold, like the way angels delivered messages to folks in the Bible, today--in less than a week--she sent an E-mail to me with this GOOD/informative message:

"I worked on your requested site this weekend. I visited the site and added it in the web page. You can see it in:

There are 2 sites, #47 and #54. I visited them both and decided to combine them."

It was excavated & published back in 1965 (pp. 8-9 of the Hebrew journal, Hadashot Arkheologiyot; HDSUT ARKYAULUGYUT). I'll have more to say about it in LMLK vol. 2, or on Rotem's site ... be sure to visit it regularly!

Could a distinguished Harvard professor & many other academicians learn a thing or two from a plant that grows in the desert?

Song of the week: "The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly" by Hugo Montenegro (click the song title to visit Amazon; click here for a 29-second sample; 360kb).
G.M. Grena

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