Cater-pillaging Socoh

Am I alone in noticing the out-of-context, article-less photo in the current issue of BAR (39-2), bottom-left corner of p. 66. Or am I just overlooking the reference?

G.M. Grena

8 Responses to “Cater-pillaging Socoh”

  1. Outremer Says:

    I am just now reading the Mar/Apr BAR and spotted this, too. It was so odd that I immediately Googled “cater-pillaging tel socoh” and found your post — and that’s all. I half expected that some minor furor might have boiled up over this sort of sniping, but no.

    I take it to be a paid advert, obviously anonymous, taking a poke at the Socoh dig people and the director Yuval Goren in particular. It is Goren, I believe, who is pictured giving a lecture and PowerPoint presentation.

    The implication is that the use of heavy equipment is absolutely taboo in archaeological work. Whether it’s all that un-kosher, I don’t know, especially since in the photo they are removing the very top-most layers of earth.

    In any event, the ad is quite unusual. Keep your ear to the ground…

    TOM POWERS / Bethlehem

    • G.M. Grena Says:

      Hi Tom! Since I haven’t heard a peep out of anyone else about this, I might as well spill the beans & note that Robert Deutsch is the person who attended the lecture & snapped the somewhat-ironic photo, which he sent to friends on his mailing list back at the beginning of November [2012] expressing his dismay. So I wasn’t surprised to see it in BAR; just surprised to see it sans context & credit.

    • G.M. Grena Says:

      Newsflash: The same photo appears on p. 29 in the current “current” issue of BAR (39-3). Same headline, same photo, but this time includes the following sentence under the photo: “Professor Yuval Goren at the Tel Aviv University convention explaining his new archaeological excavation method of pillaging stratigraphy with a bulldozer (in squares of 5 by 5 m).” Maybe the next issue of BAR will include additional details. Magazine publishing, like archeology, can be a very slow, tedious process…

    • G.M. Grena Says:

      By the way, it’s worth noting that a slightly earlier issue of BAR (38-5) contained the following note from Goren responding to the editor’s request for an article:

      I will never publish anything in BAR, be it this study, the results of my excavations this summer in Tel Sochoh of the royal Judahite workshop that produced the LMLK jars, or any other research.

      • Outremer Says:

        Right. It’s part of an on-going pattern of professional (?) sniping stemming from the big forgery trial, during which Hershel Shanks repeatedly questioned Goren’s analytical techniques and competence. In the end, it seems Goren’s expert testimony was discredited — really, contradicted by Goren himself, and Shanks — still — took a little too much pleasure “rubbing his nose in it”. The “ad” is definitely strange, though, whoever placed it.

        I have checked Goren’s official bio on-line (!staff AND and there is no mention of his ever directing a dig before. Of course, there has to be a first time for everything — he is, after all, a professor of archaeology at TAU. Still, until now he’s been known mostly for his technical studies of artifacts as a materials scientist, I think.

        This brings to mind, too, a dispute that arose over the same site in 2011, when the IAA gave two different universities permission to survey Tel Socoh, before the excavation rights had been assigned. Todd Bolen likened it to a latter-day conflict between the Philistines (TAU) and the Israelites (Hebrew U) over control of the Shefelah!

        TOM POWERS / Bethlehem

  2. Dan Says:

    There it is again in the Sept-Oct issue for 2013, page 76. It looks like they needed to fill half the page or something. It appears to be identical to early versions. Perhaps it’s being repeated until somebody notices it? Well, I think a lot of people have by now. And there isn’t the least sign it is supposed to be a paid advertisemnt.

    • G.M. Grena Says:

      Dan, I don’t have the magazine with me now, but I read it earlier this week, & there’s also a letter to the editor by a well-known scholar asking about it; so yes, it was officially noticed in the same issue! See also the link in Pithom’s comment.

  3. pithom Says:

    The truth comes out: Robert Deutsch is responsible for the ad.

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