Expedition News – Fall 1961

Originally Published in 1961

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The Ain Shems Collection

From 1928 to 1933, the late Dr. Elihu Grant, who was then Professor of Biblical Literature at Haverford College, conducted excavations for the College at Ain Shems in western Judaea. This is presumably the site of the Biblical Shemesh, scene of Samson’s exploits. There Dr. Grant found a classical succession of settlements, destroyed and rebuilt in accordance with many of the alarums and excursions recorded in the Bible. Beneath the cities of the Hebrew Monarchy lay the town taken by the Israelites from the Philistines and so on back at least to the time of the Patriarchs. Because disaster so often struck suddenly, the expedition found an immense wealth of pottery and other everyday objects where they were left when their owners fled or were led off captive. It also uncovered a number of magnificent tomb groups of the Patriarchal Period.

Because the material from Ain Shems is of a time not well represented at Beisan which had been excavated by the University Museum, Dr. Grant presented a small collection from Ain Shems to the Museum in 1934. We have now purchased the entire collection from Haverford College. With this acquisition, the University Museum has the best asemblage of archaeological materials from the Holy Land in the United States, ranging in date from Natufian of about 10,000 B.C. to Crusader times. It comprises four major collections–Beisan, Ain Shems, prehistoric flints from the Wadi en Natuf on Mt. Carmel excavated by the American School of Prehistoric Research, and the results of Dr. James B. Pritchard’s current excavations at el-Jib.

Haverford College has also turned over to the University Museum the photographic negatives of the Ain Shems excavations and a number of copies of Ain Shems IV, the definitive report of the excavations, and of the preliminary report, Beth Shemesh.

The Libyan Expedition

The excavation at the Roman city or Leptis Magna near Tripoli were resumed in May, again under the direction of Theresa Howard Carter. Last season the expedition discovered the corner of a Punic wall in a small sondage beneath the foundations of a Roman wall. During the winter, Signor Russo, the technical director at Leptis Magna, had further explored these Punic walls by tunnelling under the overlying Roman pavement. So that the Punic construction might be the better studied, the expedition obtained permission from the Department of Antiquities of the Kingdom of Libya to break through this concrete pavement. This area was cleared to virgin soil and the length of the wall found to be about twenty-five meters. Fortunately there was no Roman construction over the adjoining wall, which was traced for a distance of thirty-five meters and that area also completely cleared. Trenches were dug in the walled-in area and another corner found, thus providing the limits of the foundations of the largest Phoenician building so far known. Trenches parallel to the long side of the building revealed a large double wall facing in the direction of the Roman Forum. Mrs. Carter believes that there was a Phoenician Forum there under the Roman one but has not been given permission to make trial soundings in this area. Pottery and coins found in the excavations provide the dates for three periods of Punic building: the sixth, fourth, and second centuries B.C.


Cite This Article

"Expedition News – Fall 1961." Expedition Magazine 4, no. 1 (September, 1961): -. Accessed April 22, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/expedition/expedition-news-fall-1961/

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