Something Old, Something New: Conducting Community Archaeology at the Wrong Site

Community Archaeology in Israel/Palestine - Raz Kletter

Tawfiq Daʿadli [+-]
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Tawfiq Daʿadli is an archaeologist and art historian. His field of expertise is Medieval Islamic material culture. He teaches at the departments of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies and Art History of the Hebrew University. Currently he is writing a book about urban change in Ludd at the turn of the century. He is the author of Esoteric Images: Decoding the late Herat School of Painting (Brill 2019).


The chapter discusses community excavations in Lid (Lod), a city in the center of Palestine/Israel, which was almost entirely erased in the Nakba of 1948. The excavations took place in the core of this once living city. Today it is a ‘mixed’ city, whose older neighborhoods are home to people of low socio-economic status with no involvement in life-changing decisions made by the current authorities ‘from above’, including about the destiny of the city heritage. Being a member (third generation after 1948) to a family from Lid, my participation in the project aimed to make this heritage more visible and acknowledgeable. The chapter describes doing community archaeology shared by Arabs and Jews on all levels (from team members to volunteer children), and trying to turn neglected remains into worthy heritage. Not only in academic terms, but also in terms of the communities’ present life. The chapter also tells about the hurdles of revealing a contested past, which is traumatic to some and irrelevant and unwanted to others. This affects decisions about preservation (of some remains) and demolition (of others), which go against the spirit of community archaeology: the land is rich with varied cultural layers, which are all part of human heritage.

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Daʿadli, Tawfiq . Something Old, Something New: Conducting Community Archaeology at the Wrong Site. Community Archaeology in Israel/Palestine. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Jul 2024. ISBN 9781800504820. Date accessed: 26 Sep 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.44985. Jul 2024

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