Underground – Archaeological Research in the West Bank, 1948–1967: Management, Complexity, and Israeli Involvement

Mordechay Lash, Yossi Goldstein, Itzhaq Shai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The outcome of the 1948 war in Palestine resulted not only in the country’s partition between the state of Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan but also in the division of its archaeological research. The Jordanian Department of Antiquities, which was responsible for administering archaeological research in the West Bank until 1967, prioritized research in the East Bank over research in the West Bank as a function of broader Jordanian government policy. The bulk of the research in the West Bank during this period was conducted by foreign institutions and researchers, who were forced to choose between researching in Israel and researching in the Arab countries, including the West Bank. Those who chose to research in Israel were denied the ability to simultaneously research and excavate in the West Bank. In this way, the choice of the foreign researchers divided them, placing them on the two different sides of the ‘Green Line’. The excavations in the West Bank piqued the curiosity of the Israelis, who never ceased trying to acquire information about them and their findings. These efforts included secret meetings with foreign researchers, attempts to acquire the Qumran scrolls, and the secret transfer to Israel of a few findings for the sake of secret research. For many years, part of their story remained classified in archives. It is shared here for the first time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
Number of pages8
JournalBulletin of the History of Archaeology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • Israel
  • archaeology
  • excavations
  • West Bank
  • Jordanian Department of Antiquities
  • Dead Sea Scrolls


Dive into the research topics of 'Underground – Archaeological Research in the West Bank, 1948–1967: Management, Complexity, and Israeli Involvement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this