The story of the archaeological discipline in the Land of Israel is strongly tied with the major developments that the region has undergone in the last two centuries. This course offers an overview of the history of archaeology in Palestine since the appearance of the first European travelers and missionaries in the mid-19th century, along the vibrant interest of collectors, forgers and robbers in the Promised Land, through the appearance of the first scientific excavations, the rise of the American biblical archaeology and its influence on local Israeli research.
Special attention will be given to the way the newly born Israeli archaeology helped to establish the Zionist identity that wished to pass over two thousand years of Diaspora history; the methods by which the nascent Israeli archaeology connected new-comers to the land of the patriarchs and the manner by which Israeli scholars served state interests in the creation of the national Zionist ethos.
The aftermath of the Six Days War and the increasing tension between the Bible and archaeology will be discussed in light of the intense debate over the historicity of the Exodus story, Joshua's conquests and the United Kingdom of David and Solomon. Finally, at the turn of the millennium, post-modern archaeology presented a new pluralistic view of the past. This multi-vocal framework will be used as a background for discussing the archaeology of otherness and minorities in 21st century Israel.
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