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Tales of Heroes For families like Finkelstein’s, Palestine was all about pushing the reset button: One set of Finkelstein great-grandparents, from Belarus, helped establish the region’s first proto-Zionist agricultural settlement in 1878 in Petah Tikva, today a working-class neighbor of Tel Aviv.

Another set, fleeing the Bolsheviks, came to farm the same land around 1920. A decorated Canaanite pottery stand (right), used for holding a bowl to burn incense, dates to the 11th century B. The family resembled other Ashkenazi Jews fleeing pogroms and later the Holocaust, set on validating their roots and reclaiming their ancient, storied home.

Toward that end, he wields the revolutionary tools of microarchaeology — the reconstruction of history from elements invisible to the eye.The Hebrews were the Canaanites, who had never left.” A Story in Question Finkelstein the skeptic discovered microarchaeology for himself at Shiloh, a biblical-era city in today’s West Bank.There, in the 1980s, he set out to retrace the construction of a solid ancient fort that appeared to have no apparent way for water to drain.“Without drainage, the whole thing would have gone kaput,” notes Finkelstein. Finkelstein recruited a soil expert, who found chemically distinct, porous building material just where the water should flow.Born in 1949, Finkelstein grew up in the family compound among orange growers and packers, in a “totally secular atmosphere, but very warm and sweet.”An ivory box (left) decorated in high relief with lions and sphinxes was excavated at Megiddo. But with many Ashkenazi so blond and light-eyed — so -looking — it was hard to stake their homeland claim on appearance alone.Instead, to create a narrative for the nation they hoped to build, the founders zoomed in on archaeology.

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The father and son duo likely ruled some 3,000 years ago, between 1010 and 931 B.

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