BACK TO MASADA : Summary of the Masada Final Reports by Amnon Ben-Tor
This book summarizes the eight volumes of the Masada Final Reports series that have been published to date. The excavations led by Yigael Yadin at the site in the 1960s uncovered the Herodian palace-fortress where Jewish rebels in the revolt against Rome made their last stand against the mighty Roman legions in the years 66–73 CE. According to the accounts of contemporary historian Josephus Flavius, the defenders committed mass suicide rather than surrender.
Hundreds of volunteers from around the world participated in those excavations. Chapters cover the architectural remains and small finds of the Herodian, Zealot, and Roman periods; the Roman siegeworks; and Byzantine period remains. Thousands of artifacts including manuscripts were found in the excavations. Masada is not only an archaeological site but also a symbol – mainly, though not exclusively, for modern Israelis. This is reflected in the hundreds of thousands of visitors every year from around the world. Masada was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.
The final chapter of the book examines the so-called “Masada myth” in light of the archaeological evidence, evaluating recent criticism of the methodology and historical conclusions of the excavators of Masada in view of their actual findings.
Amnon Ben-Tor, Yigael Yadin Professor Emeritus of the Archaeology of Eretz Israel at the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University, was a team member of the Yadin excavation of Masada. He studied archaeology and Jewish history at the Hebrew University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1968 and taught until 2004 while excavating various sites in Israel, including a regional study of the western Jezreel Valley at the sites of Tel Qiri, Tel Qashish, and Yoqne'am. He has been the director of the Selz Foundation Hazor Excavations in memory of Yigael Yadin since 1990.
25.2 × 19 cm., 320 pages, hardcover, numerous photos and drawings.