In Their Own Words
A recent issue of The Jerusalem Post (May 11, 2007) examined the current state of archaeology in Israel. Archaeologist Hillel Geva, from the Israel Exploration Society, and archaeologist Eilat Mazar, from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, shared their thoughts about the growing disinterest in Israel’s archaeology:
Archaeology was once the national pastime, but today only a few people show any interest at all. The annual conference here used to attract 3,000 scholars. Today, they barely have 200.
The Hebrew University was a true partner in the excavation of Jerusalem up to the late ’80s and early ’90s. But today it doesn’t spend much on it. It’s easier to raise funds for medicine and the hard sciences, I guess. But it’s also true that [archaeology has] lost the feeling that this is vitally important ... Archaeology today has lost its momentum ... I don’t see the same spirit [as in an earlier generation] ... Some would say, “You can’t remain passionate about such things forever.” But the passion that people felt in the excavations after 1967 still exists. We just need the establishment to support and encourage it.