The publication of the full report of the Tel Beer-sheba Iron Age remains is a fulfillment of a scientific dream. The excavations at Tel Beer-sheba, carried out under the auspices of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, were the highlight of Yohanan Aharoni’s vast research program in the Beer-sheba Valley. He directed this program from 1969 until his untimely death in 1976 at the age of 56. The final season of excavations at Tel Beer-sheba, the eighth, took place in the summer of 1976 and was carried out after Aharoni’s demise by his chief assistants, Ze’ev Herzog, Itzhaq Beit-Arieh, and Anson F. Rainey. The latter two regrettably did not live to see the completion of this publication, but they shared in the work, as did the young staff members who enabled the Tel Beer-sheba project to become a reality.
During the National Parks Authority site development, there was further exposure, mainly of the water supply systems, directed by Ze’ev Herzog with David Sappo (Western Quarter, 1990–1991), with Tsvika Tsuk (the well, 1993) and finally with Ido Ginaton (the water-system, 1994–1995).
Now, after a lengthy process of analyzing the excavations in the storerooms of Tel Aviv University’s Institute of Archaeology and digging through the endless documentary material amassed, the full data is proudly presented. This work is offered not merely as a final report but as a starting point for further scientific inquiry on the abundant architectural, artifactual, and ecofactual data from Tel Beer-sheba.
Volume I reports on the stratigraphy and architecture, volume 2 on the pottery; and volume 3 on the artifacts, ecofacts, and also provides concluding studies. The three volumes are profusely illustrated and an essential resource for anyone interested in the history of Judah, the Beer-sheba Valley, the site itself, and life during the Iron Age in the southern Levant.