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Nation Building and Archaeological Narratives in the West Bank

" This article reviews the deployment of archaeological narratives within the context of broader nationalist narratives in Israel and Palestine. It closely examines the overlapping and intertwined rhetorics of Zionism, Palestinian nationalism, religion, history and archaeology in Israel and the West Bank. The study focuses on the city of Nablus and discusses: the archaeological record of the city, primarily of the excavation of Tel Balata, biblical Shechem; other, non-archaeological sites in the area associated with biblical narratives; and the manner in which competing narratives borrow, reject, adopt, adapt, and otherwise transform themselves on account of their close relationship to materials within the city. Based on this examination, the author calls for an increased awareness of the political ramifications of archaeological practice in Israel and the West Bank. The author proposes that archaeologists working there need to expand the time periods they work on in order to write a fuller narrative of the history of the region and to de-privilege biblical narratives and history as the driving force behind excavation.

Author(s):  Steen, Danielle
Source:  Stanford Journal of Archaeology