In the Footsteps of Bagira: ethnicity, archaeology, and ‘Iron I ethnic Israel’
Kletter, Raz (2014)
The Donner Institute, Åbo Akademi
Dr Raz Kletter (PhD 1995, Tel Aviv University) is Docent for Near Eastern Archaeology at the University of Helsinki. He did his post-doc at the University of Oxford (1996) and worked at the Israel Antiquities Authority as a deputy of the Finds Department (1990–5); senior excavating archaeologist (1997–2002), and head of the SPR Unit (2002–7). He has directed and published excavations from a variety of periods and regions in Israel and lectured in several universities. His main fields of study are Near Eastern Archaeology (Bronze/Iron Ages), religion and cult, ancient economy, and history of archaeology. His publications include The Judean Pillar Figurines and the Archaeology of Asherah (Tempus Reparatum, 1996), Economic Keystones: The Weight System of the Kingdom of Judah (Sheffield Academic Press, 1998) and Just Past? The Making of Israeli Archaeology (Equinox, 2006).
This article has two aims. The first is to show that the search for ethnicity in archaeology is dependent on the way ethnicity is defined and on written sources. The second is to review studies of Iron Age I ‘ethnic Israel’. There is an ongoing, heated debate between ‘maximalists’ and ‘minimalists’, trying to prove or refute such identity. Which side in this debate is right?