Immanuel Dunayevsky


Immanuel Dunayevsky was born at Odessa in 1906. After completing his studies as construction engineer at the Technical High School of Prague, he immigrated to Palestine in 1936. From 1934 to 1956 he was active in various engineering projects, including a spell with the Royal Air Force (1940-1944). From 1956 onwards he served as archaeological architect and teacher at the Hebrew University. He died on November 8th, 1968.

Although until the time he became a member of the University faculty Dunayevsky had to depend for his living on his work as engineer, archaeology had taken up an ever growing part in his life. He was introduced into the world of excavations at Beth She’arim in 1936; from that date onwards he served on practically every expedition of any standing undertaken by local archaeologists. The roll call of his work is identical with all serious excavations in this country since 1936 from Beth She’arim to Hazor, Masada and Jerusalem. In all these undertakings Dunayevsky served not only as surveyor and draughtsman, but as consultant on problems of stratigraphy. His extraordinary flair for grasping the most confused evidence and bringing forth an orderly and rational explanation served to determine the succession of strata and the interpretation of the archaeological evidence in one expedition after another. In his work Dunayevsky displayed a devotion which verged on the absolute—as long as the problem was unsolved he knew no rest. Nor was he obstinately wedded to any opinion; however seducing a theory might be, as soon as new facts were brought to light he started anew. In such way his name, although it appeared in the normal course of events in a modest place, stood for unnumbered achievements of Israel archaeology in the last thirty years.

In his personal life Dunayevsky (or 'Munya as he was affectionally called by his colleagues and students) was distinguished by sterling qualities of character. His genuine modesty and lack of affectation endeared him to his fellow archaeologists and to his students, who were quick to feel the almost puritanical integrity of the man. He has left a gap in our ranks which will not be filled for many years to come.

Published in Israel Exploration Journal 18: 200