Bulldozer Archaeology

Recently, Professor Yuval Goren shocked an audience at Tel Aviv University by proudly describing his method of archaeological excavation using a Caterpillar bulldozer. Biblical Archaeology Review has now dubbed the technique “Cater-pillaging”. Goren who is a petrographer i.e., an expert in stones, not archaeology, seems to not be aware of the importance of stratigraphy at Tel Socoh. Normally, archaeologists dig with spades and toothbrushes. The position of every coin is important for identifying strata and for dating. Every pottery shard and its location can influence the overall understanding of the site. But Professor Goren seems to have lost patience with that approach and is now advocating 5 by 5 m squares using a bulldozer! Whatever his rationalization, I’m sure the archaeological community will not agree. Sadly, though messages were sent to 30 members of the National Archaeological Committee, so far no one has responded.

Recently, in contrast to the Goren approach, my team designed a robotic arm to infiltrate a sealed 2,000 year old tomb in Jerusalem. A few weeks ago, the New York Festivals awarded us a Gold Medal for Innovation in Filmmaking that pushed the envelope of Jerusalem based archaeology. The whole point of the exercise was to use technology in a non-invasive manner. Professor Goren, please abandon the bulldozer approach. We’re willing to lend you our robotic arm.

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