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Masada: Herod's Fortress and the Zealots' Last Stand
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Masada: Herod's Fortress and the Zealots' Last Stand

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  124 ratings  ·  23 reviews
This is the account of Yadin's excavation of the hill fort of Masada. What he found there confirmed Josephus' account of the siege. The spectacular discoveries included Herod's 3-tiered palace, the earliest-known manuscript of Ecclesiasticus & potsherds that may have been suicide lots used in 73 C.E.
The challenge
The task
Getting to work
The site
The northern
Hardcover, 1st, 272 pages
Published September 12th 1966 by Random House (NYC) (first published January 1st 1945)
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Erik Graff
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 1st Roman War fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
This is a popular, illustrated summation of the findings made by archaeological teams led by Yadin at the Masada fortress of Herod the Great, the last refuge of Jews in rebellion during the First Roman War. The text describes not only the excavations and the interpretation of data but also, with substantial reference to Josephus, attempts to reconstruct the events of 73 C.E.
De Wet
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating account of the first major archaeological excavation at Masada in the sixties.
Jul 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended by a friend while on a visit to Masada in Israel. I added the book to my list and finally checked it out from the library, a year after my trip. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this read and looked like a textbook, detailing the initial archeological dig of Masada several decades ago. There are many fantastic photos, and all major discoveries of the dig are highlighted, such as scrolls, coins, building structures, etc. It was also very interesting to read of the ...more
Jennifer Zartman
This book recounts the archaeological excavation of the Judean rock fortress of Masada that took place in 1963-1965, and I found it interesting on many levels. The archaeological staff was joined by thousands of volunteers who endured primitive conditions and a lot of heat to help uncover the foundations of the palatial fortress built by King Herod the Great as well as traces of the Jewish Zealots who defied Rome from this spot from 66 to 73 AD. The story of the archaeologists and volunteers ...more
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Masada. En bog der rammer forbi, det jeg plejer at læse, det er en meget detaljeret beskrivelse, af udgravningerne, der igennem tiden er blevet fortaget på Masada.
Meget lang og til tider temmelig tør.
En god bog for den der har en særligt interesse i Arkæologi.
Det bedste kapitel efter min mening er det sidste.
En hyldest til de frivillige.
Så det kan kun blive til en stjerne fra min side.
Masada. A book that hits past, what I usually read, it is a very detailed description of the excavations, which
Sarah -  All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
I have been intrigued by Masada for quite some time but this is the first book I've read about the subject. The story of the excavation is first and foremost, and where appropriate Yadin includes excerpts of Josephus' account of the Zealots and the Roman siege. The text is well-written for it's intentions, which Yadin makes clear from the start. This is not a scientific, scholarly work, but a record of the excavations, the finds, and what he interpreted them to mean.

I liked the inclusion of the
Early on in this book Yigael Yadin shares his purpose. He did not wish to write a boring scholarly book on the excavation of Masada, but a book that would allow readers to understand the thrill of discovery. It seems he accomplished his goal.

This book is not about the history of Masada as much as the archeology, although Yadin does quote from Josephus and other authors. The book has many pictures, maps and building plans to aid in understanding the excavations.

The excavation occured in
Mark Hiser
Jun 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the Roman siege of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, Judea fell to the Romans. Most Jews were either killed, sold to slavery, or forced to flee their land. Of course, some few remained to rebel against the new rulers, but these were few in number.

One such group took the Herodian fortress, Masada, and conducted raids on the Roman occupied land for almost three years. Finally, after a long and amazing seige, 10,000 Romans broke into the fortress only to find that the
Chuck Shorter
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The year 73 marked the end of the Zealot Rebellion in Israel against Rome. General Silva's troops finally breached the wall of the seemingly impenetrable, wilderness fortress of Masada only to find 966 men, women and children laying dead.

Yigael Yadin was the archeologist chosen by Israel to excavate this honored ground. Based on his findings Yadin presents a vivid picture of both the grandeur of Herod the Great's former palace- villa and also the struggles and final moments of the Jewish revolt.
James Christensen
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
00 - thorough review and pictography of the archeological excavation of Masada 1963-65. Quite interesting as it reveals the life lived then, Herod's feats of engineering, the accuracy of Flavius Josephus' "Jewish Antiquities" and "The Jewish War" in describing the place, the seige and the demise of the Jewish Zealots. The discoveries of Scrolls of scripture which verified such texts as Ecclesiasties, Ezekiel, Leviticus & Psalms is quite fascinating. I had no idea the place was so fully ...more
Robbie Evans
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a terrific follow-up to The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman.
It is the story of the real life excavation from 1963-1965 of the Judean desert rock-fortress of Masada that is the location of the Jewish Zealot's story told in the Dovekeepers.
It is filled with pictures (many in color), diagrams, maps and aerial shots of the actual place where 960 Zealot defenders preferred to kill themselves rather than surrender to the Romans in 73 A.D.
Daniel Chaikin
This was actually entertaining and an important work - but, and it's not surprising having read it, it was not scientific, and maybe somewhere around completely unprofessional. I just started a book called Sacrificing Truth, which is not debunking Yadin's work here, but a study into what led Yadin to publish such an unscientific work as other words it apparently begins with the assumption that it's already been proven that Yadin's work is bunk.
Dec 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ordered the book prior to going to Masada, but it wasn't delivered until after my trip. I actually think reading it after was a better way to do it because I understood the geography better. Amazing place.
Robin Warden
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are going to Israel, have been, will be, or just interested in...this is a great book on Masada & one of the very first archaeological digs (includes fascinating "before" pics). Great tales for the Indiana Jones in all of us...okay, maybe just me, but humor me.
Meirav Rath
Dec 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History fans, Israelies (it's a must)
I enjoyed this book, though it's not a history book as much as it's a book about the early Masada excavation. The pictures are stunning and the description of the early conditions for the excavation team are endearing. It's a gift book, really, but a good gift book.
Apr 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Provides detailed information about the excavation of Masada and shares the historical references.
Aug 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really good documentation of an archaeological dig in Israel. Wonderful pictures too.
Jo Christian
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating learned a lot
Steven Kent
You can feel a connection to something that happened two thousand years ago.

Some of this book achieves that connection through time, most of it is academic and insightful.
Bob Lundquist
A good overview of the excavation and restoration of Masada. Archeological perspective.
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A thorough relating of the archaeological dig at Masada in 1963 and 1964. Profuse illustrations. Excellent review of the edifice and its history.
Jeffrey Gilfix
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May 31, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Sep 15, 2013
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Feb 27, 2008
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Dec 19, 2012
Thom Dunn
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Dec 22, 2009
Michael Smith
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Nov 17, 2014
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