Archaeology in Jerusalem: Digging Up Trouble

Yoray Liberman — Getty for TIME

Contested ground Workers at a site in East Jerusalem have uncovered bones and other evidence of early habitation

Correction Appended: Feb. 8, 2010

The Jerusalem syndrome is a psychological disorder in which a visit to the holy city triggers delusional and obsessive religious fantasies. In its extreme variety, people wander the lanes of the Old City believing they are biblical characters; John the Baptist, say, or a brawny Samson, sprung back to life.

Archaeologists in the Holy Land like to joke that their profession is vulnerable to a milder form of the syndrome. When scientists find a cracked, oversize skull in the Valley of Elah, it can be hard...

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