Archaeology's intense physical demands used to make it one of the most male-dominated fields in science, but even in Victorian days there were women who took to the fields and deserts in their whalebone corsets and ivory camisoles. Archaeology's incompatibility with "traditional" female virtues (childbirth, dying in childbirth, etc.) didn't stop Gertrude Bell from exploring Babylon with Bedouins in 1909 and winding up the most influential Westerner in the Middle East around a decade before women could legally vote in the United States.
Hell, wearing jeans was still a Class A misdemeanor for American women.
Priceless Artifacts Get Destroyed for Strange Reasons
Until the mid-'90s, all human remains found in archaeological sites in Israel were considered archaeological remains. In 1994, that changed. Now they're treated like any other human remains, and they must be properly buried, just in case they are Jewish. We had to toss the remains we were already studying in a hole and now all NEW finds are reburied immediately, because members of no other religions have died in the Holy Land. Apparently the guys from all the Old Testament wars just evaporated, like corpses in a video game.
There was one skeleton in particular, the only example of a crucified skeleton we had, that my professors rushed to save. They got a few weeks to study it and make a cast of one pierced anklebone, and then the centuries-old corpse was chucked in a hole for ... closure? Again, this was the only physical evidence of a crucified corpse ever found. And we just up and reburied it.
Bart Ehrman, The New Testament 3rd Edition
But hey, what kind of historic importance does crucifixion have, anyway?
Hidden in a small office in an inconspicuous box is the only example of a Neanderthal pelvis in the entire world. Technically, we're allowed to have it, but only because it predates the Jewish religion. It's still collecting dust in a storage area because we're afraid they might change the rules -- maybe they'll decide that, given the chance, the Neanderthal probably would have converted to Judaism and try to bury it again.
"Alright, let's fit this dude for a yarmulke."
For such a holy place, we destroy a lot of relics. Not long ago, a bulldozer dozed the hell out of a site near the Benot Ya'aqov Bridge ... which happened to hold the earliest known evidence of humans using fire. Israel's chairman of UNESCO sites was actually forced out of his position for asking that people excavating Jerusalem's Western Wall take some effort to preserve the site, rather than just digging like crazy and hoping nothing breaks. I mean, sure, I admitted earlier that that's what we do sometimes -- but we break things in a careful and deliberate manner. Because we're professionals.
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