The Nabataean Temple at Khirbet et-Tannur: Volume 1--Architecture and Religion. Final Report on Nelson Glueck's 1937 Excavation. By JUDITH S. MCKENZIE et al. Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research, vol. 67. Boston: AMERICAN SCHOOLS OF ORIENTAL RESEARCH, 2013. Pp. xxvii + 340, illus. $89.95. [Distributed by ISD, Bristol, Conn.]
The Nabataean Temple at Khirbet et-Tannur: Volume 2--Cultic Offerings, Vessels, and Other Specialist Reports. Final Report on Nelson Glueck's 1937 Excavation. By JUDITH S. MCKENZIE et al. Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research, vol. 68. Boston: AMERICAN SCHOOLS OF ORIENTAL RESEARCH, 2013. Pp. xx + 329, illus. $89.95. [Distributed by ISD, Bristol, Conn.]
After a long hiatus, the publication of Nelson Glueck's excavation of the temple complex at Khirbet et-Tannur in 1937 is now a reality. Glueck never achieved a final publication of the excavations due to the interruption of WWII and his tenure as president of the Cincinnati Hebrew Union College after 1947. What was known about the excavation was from a series of preliminary reports he published, and from a popular account he produced in Deities and Dolphins: The Story of the Nabataeans in 1965 (hereafter DD), aided by his loyal assistant Eleanor K. Vogel. The inspiration for publishing a final report was the preparation for the Petra exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York in 2003. The exhibit marked the uniting of the sculpture from the Cincinnati Art Museum with that from the Semitic Museum of Harvard University. Judith McKenzie's study of the assemblage exposed her to the complete archive of Glueck's excavation, which she recognized needed publication.
Some of the stimulus also was Jean Starcky's perceptive and exacting critique of Glueck's popular account in DD, which raised concerns about the chronological phases of Glueck's analysis (1968: 212-25). Faced with the complex archive and artifacts, McKenzie astutely assembled an array of specialists to examine the remains. McKenzie provides the more general treatment of the architecture and art, but is also prominently involved in the Specialist Reports. The result is an impressive two volumes, lavishly illustrated, which are destined to be the guiding work on Khirbet et-Tannur in the future.
Volume I: Architecture and Religion is primarily the contribution of Judith McKenzie. In the introduction (chapter 1) the background of the Tannur excavations is rehearsed, from the initial exploration of the site in 1936, the seven weeks of excavation in the spring and fall of 1937, and the shipping of some of the artifacts and remains to Harvard's Semitic Museum and Cincinnati's Art Museum in 1939. As Director of the American Schools of Oriental Research from 1936...