TEL AVIV (Aug. 2)
The archaeological excavation at Caesarea halted last week by pressure from ultra-Orthodox zealots was resumed without incident Sunday morning.
But the dig was being conducted by Israeli archaeologists instead of the American volunteers headed by Prof. Robert Bull, of Drew University in Madison, NJ. The excavation was halted by Drew University president Paul Hardin because of pressure exerted on him by ultra-Orthodox elements in the U.S.
A small force of police was present at the dig site but was not called on to take any action, as no representatives of the Atra Kadisha (protection of Jewish burial sites) group appeared.
The work was resumed under a special licence issued by the government’s Department of Antiquities, following a visit to the site last week by Education and Culture Minister Yitzhak Navon.
While the U.S. archaeologists are now working on another site some 500 meters away from the area of the controversy, the Israelis were Sunday completing operations to ensure the safety of the dig during the winter rains.
The archaeologists, both Americans and Israelis, insist there are no Jewish graves at the Caesarea site. The religious zealots insist they know that there are.