12 Jun

I thought it might be interesting to recount my time at En Gedi. I assisted at the excavations led by Yizhar Hirschfeld while studying for my degree in Archaeological Sciences and Evolutionary Anthropology. 

Yizhar Hirschfeld was an Israeli archaeologist studying Greco-Roman and Byzantine archaeology. He was an associate professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and director of excavations at a number of sites around Israel, including Ramat Hanadiv, Tiberias, and Khirbet ed-Deir. He also published a book on the archaeology of Qumran in which he proposed an assessment of the site that was contrary to prevailing views.

I enjoyed the Group activities after the toil of digging during the day when we would sit near the caves of Qumran and Hirschfeld told us of his dreams of finding further scrolls. 

From 1996–2002 Hirschfeld directed excavations at a site on a terrace overlooking Ein Gedi, which consisted of a series of small dwellings. His analysis led him to conclude that "[a]ll features of the site—its location above Ein Gedi, simplicity, and unique nature—conform to Pliny the Elder's (d. 79 A.D.) famous passage on the Essenes".

My final year project was chemical evaluations on the balsam oil produced at En Gedi and used possibly in kingship ceremonies of Israel. 

You can read HERE about the excavations.