Collected essays on aspects of daily life at the Israelite site of Tell en-Nasbeh (biblical Mizpah of Benjamin). These include: trade and economy, death and burial, metals, cooking, water management, curation of the site’s materials, and a site bibliography.
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Tell en-Nasbeh (biblical Mizpah of Benjamin) was excavated on a grand scale by William F. Badè of Pacific School of Religion between 1926 and 1935. His team uncovered approximately two-thirds of this eight-acre site, providing an unmatched view of a typical rural Israelite town in the hill country in the Iron Age. The studies included in this volume provide insights into the life ways of the inhabitants of this important border town.
Until relatively recently excavations in the ancient Near East have focused on macro level questions involving political history and chronology. Often these efforts in Israel focused on elucidating biblical history itself and tying that world into the larger ancient world. Very often the daily lives of average Israelites were ignored, and materials associated with them left largely unstudied and relegated to lists at the ends of site reports. Since 1990, efforts have been underway to restudy Tell en-Nasbeh to better understand aspects of daily life centered at this town. The present volume includes studies originally presented in a special session devoted to Tell en-Nasbeh at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research in 2011. The studies incorporate aspects of trade and economy, death and burial, metals, cooking, and water management. Also included are a study of the curation of the Tell en-Nasbeh materials and records in Berkeley, California; the recollections of Professor Badè’s children who were at the excavation in 1935; two articles on finds and excavations from the Roman and Byzantine periods; and an up to date bibliography of publications related to the site.
Front cover: Seal and impression of “Ja'azaniah the servant of the King.” This may be the seal of the officer mentioned in 1 Kings 25:23 and Jeremiah 40:8 who met with Gedaliah at Mizpah. Found in Tomb 19 of the Western Cemetery in 1932, possibly an Iron Age tomb recut as a kokh tomb in the Roman period. (Images courtesy of the Badè Museum, Pacific School of Religion)