Archaeology in the Holy Land

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Science  07 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5450, pp. 28-29
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5450.28

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JERUSALEM, TEL AVIV, AND BEERSHEVA-- Archaeologists in Israel and Palestine try to focus on science, but their work carries a heavy burden of expectation from many groups. Biblical scholars seek proof from archaeology that the biblical stories are literally true. Within Israel, archaeologists often run into conflicts with religious leaders, not only over their interpretations of archaeological evidence but sometimes over their very right to excavate sites containing human remains. And the unearthing in recent decades of evidence for early Israelite occupation has intensified the feelings of many Israelis that they have priority in this land over the counterclaims of Palestinian Arabs.