Case Study B6: Masada

Case Study B6: Masada

Scope and Sequence: Here is our suggested unit outline (approx. 15 lessons) for a case study on Masada: Scope and Sequence for B6: Masada.


Masada from the air

Aerial View of Masada, Israel
Wikimedia Commons

Introductory Texts

  • Yadin, Y. (1966), Masada, Herod’s Fortress and the Zealot’s Last Stand. Michigan

Masada in Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

  • Friend, G. and Fine, S. (1997), "Masada", in: The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East 1. Oxford: pp.428–430.
  • Murphy-O'Connor, J. (2008), The Holy Land: An Oxford Archaeological Guide from Earliest Times to 1700. Oxford Archaeological Guides. Oxford: p.385.
  • Stiebel, G. (2006), "Masada", in: Skolnik and Berenbaum (eds.), Encyclopaedia Judaica (2nd ed.) Vol. 13. Detroit: pp.593-599

Representations of Masada – Ancient and Modern (including Patriotic Archaeology)

The Question of Ethnicity:

  • Zias, J. (2000), "Human Skeletal Remains from the Southern cave at Masada and the Question of Ethnicity". In: Schiffman, Van der Kam and Emanuel (eds.) The Dead Sea scrolls fifty years after their discovery. Jerusalem: pp.732–738

Validity of Ancient Sources:

  • Cohen, S. 1982 Masada: Literary Tradition, Archaeological Remains, and the Credibility of Josephus. Journal of Jewish Studies 33: pp.385–405
  • Rodgers, Z. (ed.). 2007. Making History: Josephus And Historical Method. Brill: p.397

Between Myth and Material Culture:

  • Ben-Yehuda, N. 1995. Masada Myth: Collective Memory and Mythmaking in Israel: Wisconsin: 48
  • Ben-Yehuda, N. 2002. Sacrificing Truth: Archaeology and the Myth of Masada. New York

Geographical and Historical Context 

  • Avi Yonah, M. et al. 1957. The Archaeological Survey of Masada. Israel Exploration Journal 7: 1–60
  • Tsafrir, Y. 1982. The Desert Fortresses of Judea in the Second Temple Period. The Jerusalem Cathedra 2: 120–45

Occupation and Siege of Masada

  • Gichon, M. 1995. A Further Camp at Masada. Bulletin du Centre Interdisciplinaire de Researches Aeriennes 18: 25–27
  • Goldfus, H. and Arubas, B. 2002. Excavations at the Roman Siege Complex at Masada – 1995. In: Freeman, P., Bennet, J. Fiema, Z. and Hoffmann, B. (eds.). Proceedings of The XVIIIth International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies held in Amman, Jordan (September 2000), vols. 1–2: 207–14
  • Richmond, I. 1962. The Roman Siege-Works of Masada, Israel. Journal of Roman Studies 52: 142–55
  • Roth, J. 1995. The Length of the Siege of Masada. Scripta Classica Israelica 14: 87–110

The Range of Sources

Ancient Sources (primary):

  • Josephus (Ant., 14, 15; Wars, 1, 2, 4, 7)
  • Strabo (Geography 16, 2:44)
  • Pliny the Elder (Natural History 5:17, 73)

Ancient Sources (secondary):

  • Solinus (third century C.E.?)
  • Martianua Capella (c. 400 C.E.)

Archaeological Materials (Primary):

  • The Yigael Yadin Excavavions 1963 –1965 Final Reports (1989–2006):
  • Yadin, Y. and Naveh, J. 1989. Masada I: The Aramaic and Hebrew Ostraca and Jar Inscriptions. Michigan
  • Meshorer, Y. 1989. Masada II: The Coins of Masada. Michigan
  • Cotton, H. and Geiger, J. 1989 Masada II: The Latin and Greek Documents. Michigan
  • Netzer, E. 1991.  Masada III: The Buildings, Stratigraphy and Architecture. Michigan
  • Barag, D. and Hershkovitz, M. 1994. Masada IV: Lamps. Michigan
  • Sheffer, A. and Granger-Taylor, H. 1994. Masada IV: Textiles. Michigan
  • Bernick, K. 1994. Masada IV: Basketry, Cordage and Related Artifacts. Michigan
  • Liphschitz, N. 1994. Masada IV: Wood Remains. Michigan
  • Holley, A. 1994. Masada IV: Ballista Balls. Michigan
  • Zias, J., Segal, D, and Carmi, I. 1994. Masada IV: Addendum: Human Skeletal Remains. Michigan
  • Foerster, G. 1995. Masada V: Art and Architecture. Michigan
  • Talmon, S. 1999. Masada VI: Hebrew Fragments from Masada. Michigan
  • Bar-Nathan, R. 2006. Masada VII: The Pottery of Masada. Michigan
  • Stiebel, G. and Magness, J. 2006. Masada VII: The Military Equipment from Masada. Michigan
  • Reich, R. 2006. Masada VII: Spindle Whorls and Spinning at Masada. Michigan
  • Reich, R. 2006. Masada VII: Stone Mugs from Masada. Michigan
  • Reich, R. 2006. Masada VII: Stone Scale-Weights from Masada. Michigan

Current News

For information on the current excavations at Masada, see the blog: Masada. "The Strongest of them all".

The excavation is a Tel Aviv University project directed by Dr Guy Stiebel. The blog is posted by Joshua Errington, a team member of the Masada excavation and Macquarie University research student.

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