Old Photos From Palestine and Environs

Palestine Exploration Fund has posted a large collection of great old pictures on Flickr. Everyone of them is a gem in its own right. I particularly enjoyed those of the Jaffa Gate and Damascus Gate areas of old city Jerusalem. The picture of the massive 19th century excavation at Tel el-Hesi was also of abnormal interest. While I never worked there, many of my friends excavated at Hesi in the 1970’s and John Worrel, who taught me Hebrew, was the excavation director there for while. The photo, on page 2 of the Flickr set, is identified simply as “View of the east face of the Tell towards the north west.” If you click on the photo you will see that Bliss, the 19th century excavator, called Tel el-Hesi A Mound of Many Cities. No tiresome excavation techniques in those early days, they moved the dirt. They also destroyed much more than they discovered. But then how much are our current excavators destroying in ignorance of still better (and even more tiresome) excavation techniques?
There seems to be some issue as to orientation between the caption on the Flickr Hesi picture and the title of the photo. I think this picture is towards the north west as indicated by the title and not the south west as indicated by the caption but I’m not completely sure. In fact, the caption seems to belong more to the photo on page 173 of Bliss than to the Flickr photo. In any case, they are not the same photo. Bliss published the photo now on Flickr on page iv of his excavation report. At least that’s true of Bliss’ 1898 edition. I don’t have access to his 1894 edition.
Via Biblical Studies Form