An interesting discussion has developed recently about Nadia Abu el-Haj’s book: “Facts on the ground: archaeological practice and territorial self-fashioning in Israeli society” (Chicago, 2001). This is a very polemic and disputed book on the supposed bias that exists in Israeli archaeology. I, among others, have reviewed this book (click here for my review [if you cannot access it, email me and I’ll gladly send a pdf]). Although it did receive some positive reviews, most of the reviews by scholars familiar with Israeli archaeology, tore it apart.
This has now reached various blogs, including Jim West’s blog and “Solomonia” (this is one of the latest of many posts on this in this blog), and others, in particular due to an article in the NY Sun about a controversy over whether Abu el-Haj should be granted tenure at Barnard.
Makes for some interesting reading and thinking.
And by the way, despite what Abu el-Haj repeatedly states, Israeli archaeologists do not only excavate archaeological remains relating to “their heritage”. In fact, as any one can see from the excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath for example, we deal with, excavate, study, publish and relate to finds from various periods, including “Pre-Israelite”, “Post-Israelite” etc.