1999-2000 ANNUAL REPORT
In addition to David Schloen's regular research and teaching activities, highlights of the past year include an international conference on the "Electronic Publication of Ancient Near Eastern Texts" in October 1999, sponsored by the Oriental Institute and the Franke Institute for the Humanities, which Schloen helped to organize and in which he made a presentation on web-based publication in archaeology (see separate report). Later in the year, as part of the centennial celebrations of the American Schools of Oriental Research, he contributed conference papers on William F. Albright's view of the origins of ancient Israel (in Boston in November) and on the problem of "state formation" in Iron Age Israel and its neighbors (in Washington, DC, in April).
In the spring and summer of 2000 Schloen engaged in an extended three-month period of archaeological fieldwork. First, in May and June, he directed large-scale excavations on behalf of the Oriental Institute at the site of Yaqush in the northern Jordan Valley in Israel, near the Sea of Galilee. For this project an international team of sixty people was assembled, including twelve professional staff and forty-eight volunteer diggers. Schloen and his University of Chicago graduate students were joined by Timothy Harrison of the University of Toronto and his students, together with four dozen volunteers from Canada and Austria. The team had excellent accommodations at Kibbutz Ashdot Ya'akov, not far from the Yaqush site, and enjoyed unseasonably cool weather, in a region more than 200 meters below sea level which can experience spring and early summer temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The late Douglas Esse had initiated the excavation of this important Early Bronze Age village site on behalf of the Oriental Institute in 1989 and 1991 (see the 1991/92 Annual Report). A further 800 square meters of village houses were exposed this year by Schloen's team, almost doubling the existing exposure. As in Esse's dig, several phases of architecture were detected, ranging from Early Bronze I (ca. 3300 BC) to the end of Early Bronze III (ca. 2300 BC). Processing and publication of the finds is underway, and a more detailed report of the recently completed excavation season at Yaqush will appear in next year's Annual Report.
From Yaqush Schloen moved south to the site of Ashkelon on the Mediterranean coast where he participated from mid-June until early August in the annual excavations of the Leon Levy Expedition, of which he is the associate director. Highlights of the 2000 season at Ashkelon include the unearthing of dozens of coins of the Roman and Hellenistic periods (including a coin of the famous Cleopatra that was minted in Ashkelon itself), the large-scale exposure of one of the earliest Philistine architectural phases, dating to the late twelfth century BC, and the discovery of an open-air mortuary complex, complete with baking ovens and storage pits, above a complex of subterranean Middle Bronze Age Canaanite chamber tombs.
Revised: July 30, 2007