In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • From The Guest Editors
  • Benjamin Adam Saidel and Tali Erickson-Gini

Scholars who conduct research on British Mandate Palestine have access to a variety of resources for this research, such as documents, ethnographies, films, oral histories, and photographs (Granqvist 1931; Mills 1932; Davis 2011; Matson [G. Eric and Edith] Photograph Collection1). Noticeably missing from this list is archaeology. Currently, there is not enough published archaeological data to contribute to this field of inquiry. In academia few archaeologists conduct research projects that are designed to shed light on the peoples of Mandate Palestine (Saidel and Erickson-Gini 2014; Horwitz, Winter-Livneh, and Maeir 2018: 85, 90 n. 1; Saidel and Blakely 2019). The little data that does exist usually results from the recording of remains from the British Mandate that archaeologists encounter even though this period was not the subject of their research (Ustinova and Nahshoni 1994:170–76; Boas 2000; Will 2000; Magness et al. 2018: 69–70, 72, 73, figs. 8–9, 74, fig. 10). This lack of archaeological fieldwork on Mandate Palestine is illustrated here by a tally of articles in peer-reviewed archaeological journals that show a scant number of publications addressing this period (Table 1).

Today, a number of archaeologists in the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) are pioneering the archaeology of Mandate Palestine. Rapid physical growth in public infrastructure has spurred salvage excavations and IAA archaeologists have used these opportunities to document the Mandate period. A recent keyword search of the term "Mandate" in Hadashot Arkheologiyot / Excavations and Surveys in Israel yields a massive amount of new data (Table 1; Fig. 1).2 This data comes predominantly from six large population centers and smaller localities in Israel (Fig. 2). For example, rescue excavations have unearthed data on the inhabitants of Yafo/Jaffa, Qālūnyā, and the northern Negev. This fieldwork is beginning to shed light on the Arab population of Mandate Palestine.

Click for larger view
View full resolution
Table 1.


In the spring of 2019, we organized a conference on the archaeology of the British Mandate period, "Archaeology Does Not End at 1700 CE," which was held at the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem, Israel. The purpose of this conference was threefold: First, we wanted to initiate a discussion of the archaeological remains from the British Mandate as is typical for other chronological periods in the southern Levant. Second, we believe the documentation of archaeological remains from the British Mandate period is essential in light of the extensive and rapid economic development in Israel that endangers archaeological [End Page 1] remains from this time frame that are not protected by the British-based 1978 Israel Antiquities Law, which only protects archaeological remains prior to 1700 CE. Third, we believe that a material-culture perspective can provide significant insights on the peoples and cultures that lived under British administration.

Click for larger view
View full resolution
Fig. 1.

Site reports that contain descriptions of archaeological deposits from the British Mandate period. These reports are published in the online journal Hadashot Arkheologiyot / Excavations and Surveys in Israel, which is published by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). This is the primary venue where IAA salvage work is initially published.

Click for larger view
View full resolution
Fig. 2.

The primary locations in Israel where archaeological remains from the British Mandate period have been unearthed in IAA excavations. Data drawn from Hadashot Arkheologiyot / Excavations and Surveys in Israel.

While the focus of this volume is on the British Mandate, most papers begin with the Late Ottoman period as changes in the archaeological record are not always visibly linked to transitions in political administration. Yoav Arbel's "Archaeology of Mandate-Period Jaffa: Purpose, Finds, and Contribution" is a synthesis of his salvage excavations. This Mediterranean port underwent significant developments between the Late Ottoman and British Mandate periods (Fig. 3; see this map for the location of all the sites discussed in this issue). In the latter period, farmland, orchards, and cemeteries were used as spaces to accommodate urban growth. Under British administration, physical improvements were...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 1-5
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.