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Introduction and Overview (1985-2006)
Edited by Lawrence E. Stager, J. David Schloen, and Daniel M. Master
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Since 1985, the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon, directed by Lawrence E. Stager of Harvard University, has been a leading American archaeological project in Israel. Now, the work of the project is being collected in ten final report volumes published by the Harvard Semitic Museum. The first volume, Introduction and Overview (1985-2006), spans more than 700 copiously illustrated pages, many in full color, and includes subjects ranging from microscopic DNA to monumental architecture. In addition, Volume 1 includes plans and descriptions of every architectural phase excavated during the course of seventeen field seasons and reveals the archaeological sequence of the site and aspects of the city plan from the Bronze Age to Crusader times, with special emphasis on Canaanite (Bronze Age) and Philistine (Iron Age) Ashkelon. The chapters in this volume, by more than three dozen contributors, combine to describe Ashkelon's cultural constants and contingencies over la longue durée (3000 BCE to 1500 CE). As a result, Ashkelon 1: Introduction and Overview (1985-2006) will be an indispensable resource for investigating the maritime and terrestrial history of the southeastern Mediterranean littoral.
Publisher: Harvard Semitic Museum / Eisenbrauns
Publication date: 2008
Bibliographic info: xvi + 708 pages
Trim Size: 8.5 x 11
"This massive volume is the first of a projected ten volumes reporting on the excavations at Ashkelon from 1985 to 2006. It contains eight parts and thirty-five chapters, some of which have multiple sections. Most of the articles appear for the first time, but eleven . . .were previously published. . . . The heart of the volume is part 4, "Stratigraphic Overview."
It is here that the authors provide the longue duree of the site (from MB, ca. 1825 B.C.E., to Ottoman, 1918 C.E.). They approach this task by looking at individual grids and then at the sequences within those grids. . . . The chapter by Cross (17) provides a thorough and insightful analysis of the early inscriptions found at the site, combined with discussions of the development of languages and of paleography. . . . Another chapter that deserves mention is on the Arabic inscription found at the site (chap. 22). It was previously published (1995) and provides an excellent understanding of the inscription and its reuse. Moreover, there is an informative, clear, and detailed presentation of the "History of Medieval Ashkelon" (pp.407-15). It is valuable in and of itself, plus it adds to the history of the site presented in chap. 1. . . . It is absolutely marvelous to see the beginning of the publications on Ashkelon. It is an important site, and the extensive and detailed excavations on the site have brought to light many significant finds and features. Now these finds and the details of the excavation are being put into the hands of the larger scholarly community. . . . it is a rich and wonderful volume, filled with interesting and informative articles. It is a welcome addition to the field."
--John R. Spencer, John Carroll University, University Heights, in Catholic Biblical Quarterly 72 (2010) 186-89.
"This volume is very well edited, and the high quality of illustrations, including color photos, maps, and sections provides visual aids at a level which is not usually encountered in archaeological reports.... One of the most significant contributions of this volume is that it represents the first step towards publishing the finds of one of the most important sites and excavations undertaken in the southern Levant. Having put the wheels of publication in motion, the Leon Levy Expedition directors will surely continue to provide us with all of the information that they have uncovered over twenty years. While this volume does not provide the full analysis (with all of the nitty-gritty details) of the stratigraphy and artifacts discovered, it does give archaeologists and others the opportunity to further their understanding of the site and make use of the information in their own research. In this sense, this volume has done a great service to the archaeological community. In foreseeing the more detailed volumes to come, it has done an even greater service."—Joe Uziel, Bar Ilan Univesity, in JAOS 129.3 (2009)
"All told, the volume is an indication of the staggering (not to say Stagering) importance of this site and the important information that will be provided in future volumes. While much of the data is not published in full or comprehensively, as will surely be done in future volumes, it clearly whets our appetite. We impatiently await further volumes."—Aren M. Maeir, director of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project and co-director of the Joint BIU/WIS Program in Archaeological Science at the Institute of Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University, in Biblical Archaeology Review (2010)
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