Bowls Found at QumranThe New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land

Ephraim Stern, editor

(Jerusalem- Israel Exploration Society and Carta; New York- Simon and Schuster. 1993) 4 vols, 1,552 pp., $355

This is one of those monumental publications that will make history. It is an absolutely essential reference work in any archaeological library, institutional or private. But it will also provide many happy hours of browsing for the aficionado.

I particularly enjoyed leafing through, looking at the pictures and learning about things that caught my interest. I knew of the gorgeous ‘Ein Samiya goblet, but I had no idea where ‘Ein Samiya was (northeast of Ramallah) or that the site consists of thousands of burials from the Middle Bronze Age I (2200–2000 B.C.E.) to the Byzantine period (fourth–seventh centuries C.E.). I did not know (or had forgotten) that there was a second ancient synagogue at Bartam; no remains survive, but there is an early picture of the main entrance of this synagogue and, we are told, a fragment of the lintel from this entrance is now in the Louvre. (I have made a note for the next time I visit Paris.) Although we published an article on Tell Mevorakh in 1979, I did not know that a bronze cultic snake had been found there similar to the ones at Timnab and Hazor, all dating to the Late Bronze Age, when the Israelites were just emerging on the stage of history.

Read the rest of Archaeological Encyclopedia for the ’90s in the online Biblical Archaeology Society Library.