Lecture about Masada, Yigal Yadin, 1965
The poster is an advertisement for a lecture that was given by Professor Yigal Yadin, the lead archaeologist, on the completion of the archaeological excavations of Masada. The lecture took place twice on April 18, 1965 in the auditorium of the Tel Aviv Cultural Centre (known today as Heichal HaTarbut or the Charles Bronfman Auditorium).
Masada is an ancient fortress located in the Judean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. First constructed by the Hasmoneans, Herod later (73–74 BCE) fortified Masada and built a palace as a retreat in the event of a revolt. According to the first-century Jewish-Roman historian, Josephus, at the beginning of the war between the Jews and Rome (66 CE), a group of Jewish rebels overtook the Romans who were garrisoned on Masada and began living there. After the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, others who were fleeing Jerusalem, referred to as the Zealots, arrived at Masada. The Zealots lived on Masada for three years, until the Romans laid siege to the fortress, built a ramp up the side of the mountain, and commenced a breach of the walls. Elazar ben Yair, the leader of the Zealots, decided that instead of being captured by the Romans, they should commit suicide on Masada. When the Romans finally entered the fortress, they discovered 960 dead men, women, and children.
Professor Yigal Yadin (1917–1984) was an archaeologist and military leader. He was a member of the Haganah and was the IDF chief of staff from 1949 to 1952. He was also the deputy prime minister of Israel from 1977 to 1981. After leaving the military, Yadin began studying and working in the field of archaeology. His major excavations were in the Qumran Caves, Hazor, Tel Megiddo, and Masada. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls for which he was awarded the Israel Prize in Jewish Studies in 1956.
Masada became a symbol of the Jewish people’s desire to be free in their own land. IDF swearing-in ceremonies have taken place there, ending with the declaration: “Masada shall not fall again.” In recent years, there has been much debate over what actually happened on Masada, the concept of suicide in the face of defeat, and the place of the Masada story in the imagination of the Jewish people; some see it as a symbol of nationalism gone awry, while others see it as an example of great heroism.
Masada was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.
In Archaeology classes this poster can be used to teach about the life of the influential archaeologist, Yigal Yadin, and to illustrate the importance of archaeology.
Israel Studies or Jewish Studies teachers can use the poster when teaching about the history of Israel and the Jewish struggle against the Romans before and after the destruction of the Second Temple.
The poster can also be used as an introduction to Masada and its historical and cultural importance either in Jewish Studies lessons or before a trip to Israel.
Which Israeli tourist attraction is mentioned in the poster?
What is the name of the professor giving the main lecture?
In what year does this take place?
Where is the lecture taking place?
How many times will the lecture be given on that same night?
What is the topic of the lecture?
What is going to accompany the lecture?
Who are the people who will introduce the main speaker? What are their positions?
What then innovative technology will be used in the lectures?
Reading Between the Lines
Who was Yigal Yadin?
What were Yigal Yadin’s most famous discoveries?
Which do you think is the most important of his discoveries? Why?
What are some of his other accomplishments?
This poster is advertising lectures to be given by Yigal Yadin about his excavations at Masada.
What is the significance of Masada in Israeli history?
How did the early Zionists relate to the message of Masada?
Masada and its message has become controversial over the last few years.
Why do you think this is so?
The lecture took place in a location called Heichal Hatarbut, which was a major centre for cultural events.
What does the choice of venue tell you about the expected size of the crowd?
What does this tell you about the topic?
Masada was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.
Read the selection criteria for World Heritage Sites.
How does Masada fit the selection criteria?
There are archaeological excavations all over Israel, many dating back thousands of years. Think about the country that you live in.
How old are the buildings?
If you have visited Israel, how did you feel when you visited sites that were thousands of years old?
If not, how do you think it would feel to visit ancient ruins?
What archeological ruins have you visited in your country?
Read about the actions of the Zealots on Masada.
What do you think about their response to the historical events of the time?
How does it make you feel to hear about their situation and response?
Masada is a very popular tourist site in Israel.
Have you been there? If not, search for information and photographs from the site.
If so, what were your impressions or feelings about Masada?
What are some of the sites that you would most like to visit in Israel and why?
Yigal Yadin’s lecture was accompanied by a slide presentation.
Using online creation tools, create a presentation that he could have used to accompany his lecture about Masada.
Write an imaginary interview with Yigael Yadin about his life as an archaeologist.
Act out the interview and record it.
Masada is today a must-see for tourists to Israel.
Some trip providers are beginning to question, however, whether Masada exemplifies Israel today. Make a list of the pluses and minuses of making Masada a focal point of Israel trips.
Choose a site that you think best exemplifies Israel today.
Create a presentation about the site to show to tour directors.
Include what can be seen at the site, a short history of the site, and why, in your opinion, it exemplifies Israel today.
Israel Exploration Society Office of the Prime Minister
Centre of Public Affairs
Municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa
Sunday, 16 Nissan 5725 (18.4.65)
In the auditorium at the Tel Aviv Cultural Centre
A lecture by Prof. Yigal Yadin
The Completion of the Masada Excavations
The lecture will be accompanied by a slide presentation from two simultaneous projectors
First lecture Second lecture
At 6:30 in the evening At 9 in the evening
Introduction: Introduction: Mr. Yosef Burstein Mr. Mordechai Namir
Member of the Board Mayor of the City Council
Proceeds are going to the Masada Foundation
Tickets may be purchased at ״Sha’ashuon,” “L’An,” “HaKastel,” or any other office in the city