The Avraham Biran (1975-1982) and Rudolph Cohen (1975-1976) Excavations
This volume is the final publication of the Hebrew Union College/Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums excavations at Tel 'Aroer in the Negev desert, expedited from 1975 - 1982. The excavations and this account of them, add much new data and a more nuanced understanding of the Negev in the biblical and Roman periods. The bulk of this report is the work of Yifat Thareani who prepared it as part of her doctoral dissertation written under the direction of Prof. Israel Finkelstein and Prof. Nadav Na'aman at Tel Aviv University. We are grateful to these illustrious scholars for their guidance.
The Background for Recent Archaeological Research in the Negev:
The late 1970s saw a period of intense exploration in the Negev desert. The peace agreement with Egypt, signed in 1978, led to Israel's withdrawal from Sinai. This meant that Israel Defense Forces would have to relocate the military bases in the Negev, the only region having significant open spaces suitable for large-scale maneuvers. In anticipation of this mass-relocation the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums (IDAM, now called the Israel Antiquities Authority), under the directorship of Avraham Eitan, instituted the Emergency Survey of the Negev, to be directed by Rudolf Cohen. Great tracts of the Negev were surveyed and hundreds of sites excavated. Many of the survey grids have been published in the Archeological Survey of Israel serious (maps 125 - 225) and a number of the excavated sites have been reported in Excavations and Surveys in Israel and Hadashot Arkheologiyot. A major part of the excavation work of Rudolf Cohen and his team has been published in abbreviated form in his book, Ancient Settlement of the Negev Highlands, The Iron Age and the Persian Period, (Cohen and Cohen, Admin 2004).