Archaeology in 2013 bears little resemblance to my first and unforgettable experience as a student volunteer at Tel Dan in 1974—yikes, nearly four decades ago! This was a time when archaeology was still perceived as Israel’s national hobby, closely intertwined with efforts to forge a shared Jewish identity and connection with the Land of Israel. This also predated the identity crisis of “Biblical archaeology” during the last decades of the 20th century, when many archaeologists (and other scholars) still considered the discipline a subfield of Biblical studies.
As an archaeologist digging in Israel in the 21st century, I am especially impressed with the way new technologies have transformed fieldwork, irreversibly changing our approach to how archaeology is practiced and taught. These new technologies have also profoundly expanded our ability to address a wider range of questions about the past.a