As a child, I was brought up in a very religious family and community. We were always involved in church and for a long time my mother was interested in archaeological finds that supported the bible. I grew up believing that all historians checked the bible for facts, something my mother still believes yet I cannot recall where this idea came from because it’s not true. However as I got older I realized that my mom, and other people in our church often only searched out information that supported what they already believed. Which is essentially what Nadia Abu El-Haj is talking about in translating truths.
The Israel nationals are searching for historical and archaeological evidence that supports their legitimacy for claiming Jerusalem, and supporting the religious beliefs that surround their culture. The benefits for this surpass simply wanting to justify their religious myths but bring political benefits and economical benefits. and they are willing to administer bad science to do so.
Nadia talked about the use of bulldozers, which caused me to lament for all the lost information which was destroyed because they wanted to get to the iron-age faster. To top it off the interpretation of findings were often biased, such as that of the burned house. the finding of a forearm and spear where used to justify something they already thought. so they added things to the findings that simply cannot be proven by archaeological findings. They even suggested they had the day, month, and year the house had burned based on ash from the house, when ash cannot even date an exact year let alone month or day! And so now I am left to question all of the archaeological “proof” for biblical text because I don’t know just how biased the excavators were while doing the dig.