Institute of Archaeology Institute of Archaeology
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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Prehistoric Archaeology
Archaeology of the Biblical Period
Classical Archaeology
Civilizations of the Ancient Near East
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  The Area Study of Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

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Department of Civilizations of the Ancient Near East

The Sun God' Eye, Bangle of King Sheshonk I
The Sun God' Eye, Bangle of King Sheshonk I

The department of Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations is comprised of two divisions: Egyptology and Assyriology, which offer independent full BA, MA and Ph.D programs.

Isis and Horus
Bronze figure of Isis and Horus. From North Saqqara, Egypt. Late Period, after 600 BC

Queen of the Night
The 'Queen of the Night' Relief, Old Babylonian, 1800-1750 BC. From southern Iraq

Research and teaching in the department focuses on the early civilizations of the Ancient Near East and Egypt. The roots of Western civilization are found no less in the dust of the extinct cultures of Western Asia and of  Egypt than in the Greco-Roman culture. The kingdoms of Egypt and Mesopotamia, from the dawn of history to the Hellenistic period effected their neighboring societies in later eras in the domains of religion, art and literature, as well as in mathematics, astronomy, political structures, economy and law. The study of these two great cultures of the past is therefore indispensable for an in-depth analysis of later history until the present.

The many layers of society in the Fertile Crescent  and  in the Land of the Nile were far from being monolithic. These two great cultures were dynamic and complex, based on writing and learning, hierarchic bureaucracy, presenting sophisticated propaganda and intricate expression of political and religious  power. The amount of material that emerge from the timeworn landscapes of  nowadays Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, and Iran is enormous, growing literally by the day, constantly widening the horizons of our knowledge, and offering new research possibilities.

Within the department, Egyptolog aims to advance the study and scholarship of Ancient Egyptian civilization from the First Dynasty to Coptic Egypt, focusing on Ancient Egyptian writing systems, the different phases of Egyptian Language, as well as the history of Ancient Egypt and its culture. Assyriology advances the study of cuneiform texts from ancient Mesopotamia, focusing on the two main languages of this culture - Sumerian and Akkadian. The studies include political and social history of Mesopotamia, its religion and literature in earlier and later periods, and a systematic survey of the various dialects of Akkadian.

Assyriology and Egyptology are demanding fields of study,  requiring years of painstaking philological, historical and cultural research, but this long path is rewarding indeed. Very few other fields in the Humanities are so gratifying.

The Dying Lion
The Dying Lion, a stone panel from the North Palace of Ashurbanipal,
Nineveh, northern Iraq, Neo-Assyrian, around 645 BC

All the photos, except of Sun God Eye, used under the British Museum's permission.