The Newsletter of the Megiddo Expedition

Virtual Reality
Temple Complex
In Memoriam
Thutmose III
Faunal Remains
Charms Capture
The 1998 Excavation
In the Footsteps... OI
The Gossip Corner

In November 1997 the Directors of the Megiddo Expedition took a five-day trip to the windy city in order to study the archive of the Megiddo excavations of the 1930s conducted by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Here is their summary.

We were cordially met at the University of Chicago by Oriental Institute Director Gene Gragg and given friendly and professional help by archivists John Larson and Raymond Tindel. We sorted through the large collection of fascinating photographs, including balloon pictures from the 1920s and the excavation pictures, some taken by Gordon Loud himself, Director of the excavations from 1935 to 1939. We listed all the photos we wanted. Those that were immediately relevant to the 1998 excavations we received in time for the summer’s dig, while the rest will be given to us once the archive facilities have completed their current expansion. Many of the photos have never been published, yet are vitally important for our own work; for example, pictures of the temple compound of Area J of the renewed excavations, especially those including elements which were long ago removed. We also requested some wonderful pictures of the staff from the romantic “good old days” of the excavations.Another highlight was a chance to view the motion picture prepared by James Henry Breasted, who founded the Oriental Institute in 1919. The film is an archaeological travel documentary from the early 1930s which gives the viewer a glimpse of the great Oriental Institute expeditions in the Middle East, including Khorsabad (Dur Sharrukin, the “Fortress of Sargon”, near Nineveh), Susa (the Elamite capital in southeastern Iran), Alaca Höyük (a major Hittite city in Anatolia) and, of course, Megiddo, on which the film, The Human Adventure, contains quite a long section. We were able to get a video copy of the old reel-to-reel film. 

We then examined all the plans of the expedition. It was exciting to see the originals with the handwriting of the Oriental Institute excavators, such as Clarence S. Fisher, P.L.O. Guy and Gordon Loud. We asked to copy only one plan, relevant to the summer’s excavations, a plan of the northeastern sector of the mound, the area in which Palace 6000 was later uncovered by Yigael Yadin of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and which we began excavating this summer.

We were also able to check the personal field diaries of R.S. Lamon and G. Loud. The narrative of the daily progress of the expedition is an important source of information. The journals have been utilized several times in past scholarship, e.g., in that by Y. Shiloh on the Iron Age gate.

Finally, we presented two lectures, the first, a well-attended presentation at Breasted Hall for faculty, students and the general public, entitled, “The Renewed Excavations of Megiddo: In the Footsteps of the Oriental Institute”; and the second, for University of Chicago students and faculty, concerned the Early Bronze cult compound in our Area J.

Israel Finkelstein, David Ussishkin                   and Baruch Halpern