December 3

Obituary for Richard Jonas Scheuer

By asor

Remembrance by Past ASOR President Eric M. Meyers (posted December 2, 2008):

Richard Jonas Scheuer, z”l
July 14, 1907 – November 9, 2008

Dick Scheuer was one of ASOR’s holy trinity, along with our Board chair, P.E. MacAllister, and the late Charles Harris, past ASOR treasurer and longtime CAARI President. Dick was also an indefatigable supporter of the Albright Institute in Jerusalem within the ASOR family. As the 2007 recipient of the Richard J. Scheuer ASOR Medal one of the first things I did after receiving the award was to call Dick at home and he was absolutely thrilled with my selection. We reminisced about our long association and friendship and we talked about the future: how the archaeology of the region of the Middle East would take shape over the next years and how it might affect the peace process to which we were deeply committed. Dick Scheuer was a man of great insight and foresight; he knew what we did in Jerusalem and in the region was of great moment and would influence the politics of the region for good or for bad for a very long time.

My wife Carol and I got to know Dick when we were fellows at the HUC in Jerusalem in 1964-65 when we were enrolled at the College and participated in the 1964 seminar on biblical archaeology. Our guide in the Negev was Nelson Glueck, and Frank Cross was outgoing Director of the school and our teacher in the summer seminar at HUC, later to be known as the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology. Frank Cross was succeeded in the fall of 1964 by G. Ernest Wright. It was in that fall that the excavations of ancient Gezer began and Carol and I were part of the original staff on the team till 1969. During these years we came to love the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem and got to know Dick and Nelson as the College embarked on a unique expansion of its Israel program. One of the things I remember most vividly from this time is the vision and commitment of Dick and Nelson to making a Jerusalem experience and the Jerusalem school a requirement and major part of the Reform Jewish experience, a requirement that went into effect in 1970. The new campus on 13 King David Street is in great measure the result of Dick’s efforts and he was responsible for the hiring of the famed Israeli architect, Moshe Safdie, to draw plans for the expansion of the campus that was completed in 1986 and was featured in the Venice Biennale of 1991. Dick’s efforts in behalf of HUC and the city of Jerusalem were recognized in Israel when he was awarded the highest honor of the city: “Yakir of Jerusalem,” Beloved and Honorary Fellow of Jerusalem, an honor bestowed on only a select few. Dick was chair of the HUC Board of Governors from 1983-1990 but served on its Board from 1962.

Dick was also a lover of his alma mater, Harvard College, from which he graduated in 1939 in Classics. In recent years he was instrumental in the campaign to build a new Hillel house at Harvard. Thirty years after his graduation from the College he graduated from New York University with an MA in Near Eastern History and Archaeology, which led him to his profound love and commitment to the archeology of the land of Israel and of the greater Middle East. His support of ASOR and ASOR publications and the Gezer publications led the director of the Albright Institute, Sy Gitin, to comment: “He believed that if it wasn’t published, it was as if it was never excavated.” Dick Scheuer knew what it meant to be involved in archaeology and he challenged all of us to respond to its demands with all due efforts.

Dick also loved Jewish art and served as chairman of the Board of the Jewish Museum in New York City from 1971-79 during which time I taught several courses there commuting from North Carolina. Dick’s involvement with Jewish museums led him to help support the creation of the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles and to establish the Art Committee for HUC-JIR New York’s campus, a committee on which he served until his death. In 1979 he helped launch the organization of American Jewish Museums. Dick was also an avid sailor and with his wife Joan raced a 210 class sailboat on Long Island Sound.

These details are but a snippet of the long and productive life of one of ASOR’s and AIAR’s angels, and one of the giants of those who have supported and participated in the expansion, growth, and maturation of biblical archeology. Richard Jonas Scheuer was a man of rare talent and energy and saw in the day-to-day workings of ASOR and AIAR the workings of something very special that could translate into a new vision of the Middle East as we know it. Dick was up to the minute about every detail of the Middle East peace process and was as downcast as the next person when terrorism struck. But as a student of ancient Near Eastern history and culture he knew full well that better times would come and that an all-inclusive organization such as ASOR was best poised to help us realize a Middle East in which all parties could participate. While he did not live to see this happen, he at least saw in his mind’s eye the hope all of us in ASOR share: that one day not in the too distant future, all peoples of the region would search into their past to rediscover their present and their future, just as HUC had done when it set down its roots in Jerusalem.

We in ASOR will miss Dick Scheuer for his vision, for his generosity of spirit, for his undying support for the Albright, and for all the nitty gritty things that ASOR has to do in order to fulfill Dick’s dream that each dig in order to be a successful one must be one that publishes its results in a readable and timely way.

Dick was truly an angel, and because of that status he is still watching over us today and encouraging us to get over the current crisis and move ahead by making the past a road-sign to a better future. Dick: we miss you sorely and will never forget you. May you rest in peace and watch over us as we seek to do what you have always urged us to do.
Eric M. Meyers

December 1

Obituary for Doug Edwards

By asored

Obituary for Doug Edwards

Obituary quoted from The News Tribune, Tacoma, Washington, November 25th, 2008 12:05 AM

Driven UPS professor lived boldly, inspired many. The best word to describe Doug Edwards is determined. The University of Puget Sound professor was so determined that when
his doctors said he had one year to live because of bone cancer, he stole eight. Whenever the doctors told him about treatment plans, they asked the globe-trotting professor, "How does that fit with your schedule?"

The determination was there even when he was a kid, spending hours learning to juggle because he was told it would make him a better
basketball player.

Edwards, a religion professor at UPS for 21 years, died Saturday evening. He was 58. He is survived by his wife, Mary Lynn, and a brother, a sister, two daughters and a son. Lynn said Monday she was overwhelmed by how many lives Edwards touched. Students, colleagues and friends have been sharing stories of
the professor, who traveled the world for archaeological digs and came home to sing with the Puget Sound Revels.

There was only one way to describe Edwards, Lynn said: "Sheer determination, and his passion. People saw this all the way through
the cancer." People saw it when, even during harsh treatment, he led archaeological
digs in Israel – in person when he could make the trip, and by teleconference when he couldn't. People saw it when, though weak from
chemotherapy, he still wanted to sing with the Revels at the Tall Ships festival this year.

"Are you OK?" other singers would ask.

"I'll be fine once I get my costume on," he replied.

This summer, Edwards became the first person to lead an archaeological dig via teleconference when he directed a group of students, including his daughter, at a dig at Khirbet Cana. Cana, northwest of Nazareth, is the site of the biblical story of Jesus turning water into wine. The group was digging for clues to see how first-century villages evolved.

In 2006, Edwards was leading a dig and excavation of an ancient synagogue near Cana when Hezbollah launched missiles at nearby Israeli communities. "It is definitely a unique experience," he said at the time.

Edwards was born in the tiny town of Hardy, Neb. He studied at the University of Nebraska and at Boston University, where he met Lynn,
before taking a job at UPS in 1987. He loved it here, Lynn said. If you can't live in New England, the Pacific Northwest is just as good, he'd say.

During his years at UPS, Edwards inspired students and coworkers, many of whom are trying to make it back for today's memorial service or calling in their stories if they can't. In 1992, Dave Wright walked into Edwards' class at 8 a.m. on a Monday morning. It was the first class of his freshman year. After taking it,
Wright switched to have Edwards as his adviser, and changed his major and the direction of his life.

"Without Doug, and his role both professionally and personally, I wouldn't be the professional I am today," said Wright, now the UPS chaplain.

Wright will lead the 2 p.m. service today at Kilworth Chapel on the UPS campus. A reception at Wyatt Hall will follow the service.
Everyone is invited, but be prepared to stay awhile. There will be a lot of stories to share. "He just loved what he did, he pushed and pushed," Lynn said. "That defined him. He had a big life."

Barry Goldstein, a UPS geology professor, had worked with Edwards since 1987, and went on trips with him to Israel. Throughout his work,
Edwards always brought people together. And even though Edwards died young, he lived more than many others, friends said.

"As far as I'm concerned," Goldstein said, "he lived 150 years."

November 5

10th Century Hebrew Inscription Found at Khirbet Qeiyafa by ASOR member Yosef Garfinkel

By asor

10th Century Hebrew inscription found by ASOR member

This summer an extraordinary Semitic inscription was found at Khirbet Qeiyafa. It was uncovered inside the fortified city, near the gate, lying on a floor level of a building. The city existed for a rather short time, within the 10th century BC, thus, the dating of the inscription is perfectly secured to the beginning of the First Temple period, known as the United monarchy, the time of kings David and Solomon.

The inscription is a large pottery fragment (ostracon), ca. 15 × 15 cm. written with ink. It contains five rows, divided by black lines. Each row has 10 letters or so in Proto-Canaanite script. According to the preliminary observations of the epigraphist, Dr. Haggai Misgav, the language of the ostracon is Hebrew. This is the longest Proto-Canaanite inscription ever found and the earliest Hebrew text known to date. Other possible Hebrew inscriptions are the Gezer calendar (ca. 900 BC), the stele of king Mesah (ca. 850 BC) or the Samaria ostraca (ca. 800 BC). The new inscription is earlier by 100-200 years from the other earlier Hebrew inscriptions. As the decipherment has just begun, it is still immature to talk about the content, but it clearly bears a massage, a letter sent between two people.

Qeiyafa excavation- balloon photo

Paleography: The complicated writing techniques developed in Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt enabled only professional scribes to read and write. Contrarily, the simple Semitic alphabet writing technique enables larger segments of the population to read and write. Thus, it is one of the most important intellectual inventions of human kind. But the early developments of the Semitic alphabet and its transmitting to the early Greek, and then to Latin and the rest of the world is poorly known. The earliest type of alphabet script, known as Proto-Canaanite, was found in Canaan, Sinai peninsula and Egypt in various sites dated from the second millennium BC (Middle Bronze and Late Bronze periods, ca. 1700-1200 BC). In this stage it was rather pictorial in character, adopting Egyptian hieroglyph signs.

Qeiyafa aerial shot- 10th century Hebrew inscription found

In the Iron I period (1200-1000 BC) the hieroglyphs became more and more schematics, and it was assumed that at ca. 1000 BC the script became standardized in various aspects, like the number of letters (22), the direction of writing (from right to left) and the shape of the letters. As the Greek letters are quite similar to Proto-Canaanite script it was generally believed that they adopted the alphabet script in the late second millennium BC.

Very few early alphabet inscriptions are known. Most of them are either very short, or just a list of the letters (abecedary). Almost all of them do not have a secure archaeological context, thus lacking clear dating. The new inscription is the first Proto-Canaanite script clearly dated from the 10th century BC. It will now serve as the anchor for the entire developments of the early alphabet scripts: the Semitic (Phoenician, Hebrew and others) as well as the Greek.

Implication to Biblical History: Currently, there is a bitter debate about the historical accounts of Kings David and Solomon as presented by the Biblical tradition. The main arguments so far were the luck of urban centers that can be clearly dated to the time of the United Monarchy (Early Iron Age IIa period).

On September 13th 2008 a colloquium of some 40 Israeli archaeologists took place at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The pottery from the fortified city was presented and discussed. There was a general agreement that the assemblage is indeed from the very beginning of the Iron IIa period. The new excavations clearly indicate that already in the time of David and Solomon urban cities were constructed in Judah. The fortifications of the site required 200,000 ton of stones. The upper part of the gate was built with ashlar stones, a clear characteristic of royal activities in the Biblical period. There was a need for administration to organize these massive building activities and indeed the new inscription indicates that writing was in use. The new inscription indicates that writing was indeed practiced in the biblical kingdom of Judah from its very beginning. Thus, historical memories could have been survived for generations and the biblical traditions regarding the period of kings David and Solomon cannot be overlooked.

Acknowledgments. Khirbet Qeiyafa excavations are conducted by Prof. Yosef Garfinkel and Mr. Saar Ganor, on behalf of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Funds were kindly provided by J.B. Silver, the Berman Center for Biblical Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Foundation Stone and the Curtiss and Mary Brenan Foundation. The expedition website is: