When teaching a group in Israel, one never lacks for books to recommend. The major exception to this is a resource for the Israel Museum. The archaeology wing is a natural place to conclude one’s studies in Israel, viewing many of the artifacts that we have talked about during the course. But a tour of several hours only provides just a taste and students are always disappointed when I inform them that there is no book surveying the collection. A brief and limited work was published in 1984 but this has been difficult to find.
A book review in the latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review reveals that this significant gap has now been closed. Chronicles of the Land: Archaeology in The Israel Museum Jerusalem is a 352-page work that takes the reader on a tour of the most important discoveries on display in the newly reopened archaeology wing. Steven Fine’s review (pages 64-65) is enthusiastic: “This is more than just a coffee-table book to be schlepped home by excited tourists….Scholars from many fields will find much here than enhances their work….Chronicles of the Land marks an event to be celebrated by all readers of BAR, by scholars and by all who delight in marvelous museums.”
With 326 full-color illustrations, the book is not inexpensive ($58). Since the book is published by the Israel Museum, I was not expecting to find it available outside of the gift shop. But I see that Amazon has a few copies, discounted to $48. For those not on a student budget, this is a happy day.