BAR 36:01, Jan/Feb 2010
All in the Family
We all know the big family names in Biblical archaeology.a Countless BAR articles have been written by or about the Mazars—whether it’s the late great Benjamin Mazar, who excavated at the foot of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount in the 1960s and 1970s, or his nephew Amihai Mazar, who is a prominent Israeli archaeologist in his own right and directs the excavations at Tel Rehov, or Benjamin’s granddaughter Eilat Mazar, who has made a name for herself excavating a monumental structure in the oldest part of the City of David (she believes it is King David’s palace). Biblical scholar Eleazar L. Sukenik, who purchased the first few Dead Sea Scrolls for the Hebrew University in 1948, instilled his own passion for archaeology in his son, war-hero-turned-archaeological-superstar Yigael Yadin. And of course we know that many couples have shared their love—or even fallen in love—on an archaeological dig (see Eric and Carol Meyers’s story). But it was my own family that inspired the theme for this Dig Issue. My cousin Mike left home to study Biblical archaeology at Wheaton College not long after I started working at the Biblical Archaeology Society. Mike has spent the past few summers working at Ashkelon under his professor, codirector Daniel Master, and this past year, his dad (my dad’s brother Chris) joined him. I thought their story sounded like an interesting one, so I got in touch with a few other families who have gone on excavations together to see what it’s like to share the dig experience with a parent, child or sibling.