Classical Archaeology Department

rachel barkay

Dr. Rachel Barkay
Office hours: By appointment

Teaching fellow at at the Institute of Archaeology, in the classical department.

Rahel Barkay

Dr. Rahel Barkay
Office Hours: By appointment

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Research Interests: Numismatics.

Ongoing Projects:

  • Coins from the Roman baths of Hammat Gader
  • Coins from Ramat Hanadiv excavations
  • The coinage of Nysa-Scythopolis (Beth-Shean)
  • Coins from the excavations at Marissa
  • Coins from the excavations at Beth-Govrin
  • Catalogue of city-coins
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asaf ben haim

Asaf Ben-Haim

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M.A. thesis topic: Architectural Decoration at Herodium

Advisor: Dr. Orit Peleg-Barkat

My M.A. thesis focuses on the architectural decoration found at Herodium, the first century BCE palace of king Herod and on the sources of cultural influence, which can be inferred from the analysis and the context of the architectural elements at the site. At the focal point of my research stands the architectural decorative assemblage which was revealed in the mountain palace-fortress. Those items, the vast majority of which has never been scientifically analysed, are presented in detail and several aspects are examined, such as the stone types and the carving techniques, typology and their archaeological and architectural context. My methodology includes an on-site 3D-scanning and following computational analyses, together with more traditional research methods. The long-run excavation project at Herodium has identified several construction phases at the site, which can be aligned in a relative stratigraphy. Thus, examining the architectural items in their archaeological context helps us trace stylistic changes in the decoration that stretches across a chronological scale, and to identify accordingly trends of progress and development in Herod’s building program. Additionally, the project seeks to suggest a reconstruction for some of the architectural units and their decoration at the site. This reconstruction will help in understanding the architectural characteristics of Herodium in particular and King Herod’s architecture in general. Equipped with such knowledge, many unsolved questions that the sheer architectural plan cannot answer, might be addressed, such as: which architectural units had the most elaborate decoration? How did the upper parts of the towers look like? etc.

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Rotem Cohen

Rotem Cohen

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M.A. Thesis Topic: Graffiti between Gentiles and Jews: Graffiti Art as an expression of the identity in Jerusalem and its Environs during Hellenistic and Roman Periods

Advisor: Dr. Orit Peleg-Barkat

Abstract: Graffiti, i.e. texts and/or images that are engraved or painted by people who are not professional artists in public or private environments, buildings, objects, and natural sites, are nowadays viewed as an act of vandalism. In antiquity, however, graffiti was considered a legitimate tool for expressing ideas, messages, or attitudes of the makers of the graffiti. The study examines the appearance of graffiti in the region of Jerusalem and its environs during the Hellenistic and Roman periods (second century BCE to the fourth century CE), relying on the approach of anthropology of art, which is sub-field within Social Anthropology, that considers every work of art, even the most simple and ordinary ones, as a meaningful creation. The graffiti will be also examined in its environmental–architectural context, since graffiti should be seen as an active intervention of the person in his environment. The purpose of this study is to study both cultural differences between different ethnic groups and changes in their use of this medium over time.

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Katia Cytryn-Silverman

Dr. Katia Cytryn-Silverman

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Katia Cytryn-Silverman specializes in Islamic archaeology, and is a lecturer at both the Institute of Archaeology and the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, teaching undergraduate and graduate studies.

She directs the excavations at Tiberias at the Sea of Galilee ( since 2009. Her project, focused on the Islamization of the classical city and the study of its monumental Friday mosque, has been supported by various funds, including Van Berchem Foundation, Hirschfeld Memorial Fund, Amiran Fund of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University, Israel Science Foundation (as part of the collaborative project headed by R. Amitai – The Formation of the Islamic Society in Palestine ( and Thyssen Foundation.

She has co-directed excavations at Khirbat al-Minya (2005-2006) with M. Rosen-Ayalon and architect G. Solar, apart from participating in other archaeological digs, often as a specialist in ceramics of the Islamic period, a topic she commands since her MA studies (The Settlement in Northern Sinai during the Islamic Period, summarized in J.-M. Mouton (ed.), Le Sinaï – de la conquête arabe à nos jours, IFAO, Cahier des Annales Islamologiques 21, 2001, pp. 3-36). She has written various articles and chapters on the ceramics of various excavations (including Jerusalem and Ramla), apart from teaching and advising on the subject.

She has surveyed and researched the road-inns in Palestine towards her PhD thesis (1998-2004), and the results have been published in Cytryn-Silverman, K. The Road Inns (Khãns) of Bilãd al-Shãm, BAR International Series 2130, Oxford 2010. She has also written various articles on the subject of roads and road-inns during the Islamic period, and remains involved in the research on the topic. She will contribute an entry on this subject to Oxford’s Handbook of Islamic Archaeology, being edited by B. Walker.

Cytryn-Silverman has participated in various conferences and workshops in Israel and abroad, and also organized local and international events. Soon the results of the international workshop co-organized with D. Talmon-Heller at Ben-Gurion University in 2009 will come to light at in Material Evidence and Narrative Sources: Interdisciplinary Studies of the History of Islamic Societies, Proceedings of the 14th Annual Workshop of the Department of Middle East Studies at Ben-Gurion, University of the Negev, June 30th – July 2nd 2009 (Brill: Leiden, forthcoming in 2014). The proceedings of the international seminar co-organized with K. Damgaard and held under the auspices of the W.F. Albright Institute for Archaeological Research at the École biblique et archéologique in Jerusalem, 7th-8th February 2013, will be published in collaboration with D. Whitcomb by Chicago’s Oriental Institute Publications Office.

Cytryn-Silverman is also on the editorial board of the Journal of Islamic Archaeology (chief editor, B. Walker), and often acts as an external reader for the Israel Antiquities Authority publication department. In the past she has also worked as an assistant curator at the Collections Hall of the Institute of Archaeology (1988-1993), in charge of the Islamic study collection, but also involved in the organization of exhibitions.

During the last three years (2011-2013) she co-directed a hands-on summer course together with R. Milstein, also of the Hebrew University. This practical course, subsidized by the Council for Higher Education and Yad HaNadiv, was first conducted at Ashqelon (excavations by L. Staeger and D. Master) and then at Tiberias. The course attracted students from various universities in Israel and from abroad.

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Yael Eldar

Yael Eldar
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Advisor: Dr. Orit Peleg-Barkat
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Tali Erickson-Gini

Dr. Tali Erickson-Gini

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Research Interests: Nabataean culture and archaeology, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine ceramic assemblages from Southern Israel, Earthquakes in the archaeological record in the classical period of Southern Israel, The Eastern trade in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, Roman military installations, The archaeology of roads in Southern Israel from the Early Bronze age to the present.


  • The Nabataean Unguentaria Project in cooperation with Dr. B. J. Dolinka, the Albright Institute - Jerusalem, Prof. S. Ben Yehoshua (emeritus), The Volcani Center, Prof. L. Hanus, Faculty of Medicine, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
  • The Beerotayim Beduin Encampment Project in cooperation with Dr. B. A. Saidel, Department of Anthropology, Eastern Carolina University - Greenville, NC.
  • The Central Negev 'Shiniyot' Survey in cooperation with Dr. B. A. Saidel, Department of Anthropology, Eastern Carolina University, Greenville, NC.
  • The Rudolph Cohen Excavations along the Nabatean Incense Road.
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adi fenster

Adi Fenster
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Topic of research (m.a.): Provenance of mosaic tessera from the Classical periods in Israel

Advisors: Prof. Zeev Weiss, Prof. Naomi Porat (Geological Survey of Israel)

Research Summery:

Much has been written about mosaics from an artistic and iconographic point of view. I would like to look at mosaics from a geological point of view: from finding out what kind of stone was used, I shall try to understand where the stone was brought from, and learn through that how much effort and money was put into the building. In my research I will compare the tessera from various mosaics whether synagogue floors, church floors or other buildings from the Roman and Byzantine periods.   

Areas of interest:

  • Geoarchaeology- archaeological research using geological tools.
  • The classical periods


  • Research on the provenance of mosaic tesssera
  • Taking part in a paleomagnetic research project, headed by Dr. Ron Shaar- reconstructing earth's magnetic field in the past, based on archaeological material which has been heated.
  • Sepphoris excavation team
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Jan Gunneweg

Dr. Jan Gunneweg

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Research Interests: Provenance studies of ancient pottery by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) and of textiles by Synchrotron Radiation and High Power Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) at the ESRF at Grenoble’s ESRF.

Ongoing Projects:

  • The identification of parchment by computed tomography (CT) at the ALS in the Ernst Lawrence Lab, Berkeley California USA and with the Oak Ridge Lab at Tennessee, USA.
  • The identification of Frankincense of the Dead Sea area, the Negev, and Greece by Fourier Transformed Infra-Red (FTIR) synchrotron light at the newly built SESAME Synchrotron at Allan, Jordan.
  • The study of the Activation set of NAA Data from 1966-1996 performed at the Ernst Lawrence Laboratory under the direction of I. Perlman (Manhattan Project), Fr. Asaro, and Helen Michel (KT Boundary iridium project, the extinction of the Dinosaurs).
  • Further ongoing Neutron Activation research together with Dr. Marta Balla at the Nuclear Center of the University of Technology and Economics in Budapest, Hungary.
  • Member of two COST Actions of the European Community: COST Actions-G-8 Cultural Heritage (CH), and D-42 on Restoration and Preservation of CH.

Other Activities:

  • Member of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS, 2007-2008) together with the Technical University in Delft, and the Lorentz Institute of Physics and Mathematics at the University of Leiden while organizing the “Holistic Qumran and the Dead Sea Scroll” Congress (April 2008).
  • Author, co-author, and co-editor of over hundred scientific papers and seven books during the years 1984-2020.


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Oren Gutfeld

Dr. Oren Gutfeld

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I am honored to have received most of my training as a field archaeologist and researcher at the Hebrew University's Institute of Archaeology, with additional guidance given from such esteemed research facilities as the Dumbarton Oaks Library and Archives of Harvard University; the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Research Library in Rome; and the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where I also completed my post-doctoral studies (2008–2010).

At the start of my journey, I participated in the excavations of the late Prof. Ehud Netzer at the Hasmonean Palaces and Herod's Palaces at Jericho (1993–1994), as well as at his excavations at Masada (1995) and Herodium (1997–2000). It was from Prof. Netzer that I first gained real field experience and a deep understanding and appreciation of Hasmonean and Herodian architecture. During this time I also served as his research assistant, benefiting greatly from his mentorship in learning to conduct my own research.

Alongside the above-mentioned projects, I also took part in fourteen annual excavation seasons (1992–2005) in Netzer's Sepphoris excavations, co-directed with Prof. Zeev Weiss. Here I both honed my skills as a field archaeologist and sharpened my knowledge of the Roman-Byzantine archaeology of the Land of Israel.

My first chance to direct an excavation on my own came in 1996, at the site of Ramla's White Mosque. With it came the challenges not only of overseeing a large-scale project—42 excavation squares and 50 laborers—but also being exposed to Islamic archaeology for the first time. And, indeed, this excavation uncovered remains dated to the very founding of the city in the Umayyad period. In 2010 I published the results of this excavation in the Institute of Archaeology's Qedem monograph series, a report that has come to be viewed as a milestone in the scholarship of the Islamic period in the Land of Israel in general, and of ancient Ramla in particular.

In 1998 my study of the Islamic period continued with my collaboration with the late Prof. Yizhar Hirschfeld in an excavation at the southern outskirts of Tiberias. Our work uncovered the largest Islamic-period metal vessel hoard known in the world—numbering some 1000 items—along with 52 of the rare anonymous folles coin type, which depicts the bust of Jesus and features an inscription praising his name. These extremely rare coins thus far constitute the sole examples that have been discovered in an orderly, scientific excavation, which is what has enabled their secure dating to the 10th century. The results of this excavation were also published in the Qedem series (2008).

Following the Tiberias excavations, I reverted to the Second Temple period by beginning a project at another exceptional site: the hewn tunnels of Nahal Sekhakha, at the foot of Hyrcania in the Judean Desert (2000–2006). Dated to the Hasmonean or Herodian period, these deep, narrow tunnels comprise a unique phenomenon in the archaeology of the Land of Israel. Six years, however, after the last excavation season, their purpose has yet to be fully understood. The entrances to two more such tunnels were recently uncovered in a survey I carried out in the vicinity of the original tunnels, and their excavation, planned for the coming year, will hopefully resolve the mystery. It was also over the course of the six years of excavation of the original tunnels that I began and neared completion of my doctoral dissertation (2007).

Under the guidance of Prof. Yoram Tsafrir, I chose to examine two massive building enterprises undertaken by the Emperor Justinian in Jerusalem during the 6th century CE: the Cardo and the Nea Church. These two monuments were originally exposed by the late Prof. Nahman Avigad of the Hebrew University in his excavations in the Old City's Jewish Quarter. His work continued for over fifteen consecutive years, but produced no final report.

Within the framework of my research I gathered and organized the massive amounts of unpublished field reports and plans, processing and analyzing the varied finds, filling in missing details and updating architectural plans and sections. In addition to a straightforward stratigraphic and architectural analysis based upon the physical remains, I also undertook a thorough discussion of the various contemporaneous (Late Byzantine and Early Islamic) literary sources, written by Christian, Muslim and Karaite authors, which contained mention of the Cardo or Nea. I wish to stress that these sources, together with a comparative analysis of other churches in the Byzantine Empire, also aided me in proposing a new, more balanced reconstruction of the Nea Church.

I believe, however, that my dissertation's main contribution to our knowledge of Byzantine-period Jerusalem lies specifically in matters of dating and function. In attributing without a doubt the construction of the southern branch of the Cardo to Justinian, a topic long under dispute, I have also changed what we know of the city layout as a whole during the Byzantine period—as well as in the time of Aelia Capitolina. I was also able to determine the dating of the final abandonment of the church, adding to what we know of the state of Jerusalem's Christian community during the Early Islamic period. My research would become the basis for the fifth volume of the Jewish Quarter Excavations Final Report series (2011).

As part of my work on Avigad's material, and together with Mr. Hillel Geva, editor of the Jewish Quarter Excavation series, I carried out a salvage excavations at the sites of the "Hurvah" and "Tiferet Israel" Synagogues in the Jewish Quarter (2003–2005, 2012-2014). The excavation areas constituted an island of sorts in Avigad's original excavation site, and provided a rare opportunity to literally reexamine his stratigraphic conclusions.

Reverting again to the earlier Classical periods, since 2005 I have excavated at the site of Horbat Beit Loya in the southern Judean Lowland, uncovering the remains of a prosperous Idumean village from the Late Hellenistic period. The site is dotted with finely hewn subterranean agricultural and industrial installations, and also features an imposing watchtower. Also exposed were traces of a conflagration layer attributed to the Hasmonean conquest of Idumea toward the end of the 2nd century BCE, after which the settlement seems to have transitioned into a thriving Jewish village. Evidence of this new demographic—or of the conversion of the existing residents—is reflected in the numerous ritual baths, stone vessels, graffiti of seven-branched candelabra and defaced pagan symbols discovered at the site.

The topic of the Judaization of the Judean Lowland in the early Hasmonean period was at the heart of my research during my post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan. I have presented my findings in a number of conferences both in Israel and the United States, with an article presently in an advanced stage of preparation.

The nearly twenty years of fieldwork that I have been involved in have exposed me to sites richly varied in their dating and nature. I would also like to note that years of heading excavation teams has also given me a great deal of expertise in the area of financial management, as well as knowledge of fund-raising for both excavations and finds publication.

Alongside my research and fieldwork, I have always been involved in teaching—be it at the Hebrew University, the University of Michigan, or as a guest lecturer at various institutions. The high marks that I consistently received in student questionnaires reflect the great importance that I have always placed on instruction and on my ability to convey ideas and encourage discussion. But instruction is not limited to the classroom, and I had always supplemented the formal instruction with fieldwork and fieldtrips. Indeed, already as a graduate student, I helped organize a number of trips for the Institute of Archaeology to various archaeological destinations in Israel, Jordan, Greece, and Turkey. Moreover, my excavations themselves have attracted students from universities both in Israel and abroad.

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Lihi Habas

Dr. Lihi Habas

Teaching in the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University and in Shenkar College of Engineering and Design on various subjects

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related to the Archaeology and Art of the Ancient, Classic, Roman and Byzantine Eras.

Researches the inter-relationships among architecture, mosaics, furnishings and ceremonial objects in the Byzantine Empire in general, with particular emphasis on the Holy Land. Researches and publishes findings from archaeological sites in Israel. Occasional Curator and Advisor for exhibitions at the Bible Land Museum and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

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Mustafa Hossin

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M.A. Thesis Title: Animals in private and public spaces: the case of Tiberias during the early Islamic period, 7th to

11th centuries.

Advisors: Katia Cytryn-Silverman & Rivka Rabinovich

Abstract: Tabariya, the capital of Junnd al-Urdun (Jordan Province) since the 7thcentury, located in the west coast of the sea of Galilee, served as a fundamental metropolis in the fertile crescent between the Mediterranean Sea and Damascus. Since its foundation in the early first century, the city continued to flourish during the geo-political changes until the 12thcentury, when the Crusaders moved the city center to the north ( Old city/Ottmanid City). Archaeological excavations in the last two decades have revealed the Roman, Byzantine and Early Islamic city, including monumental public buildings, such as the city gates, Cardo street, perimeter Wall, Theater, Bath house, Churches and Mosque. The mosque, which served as “Jamii” (Friday mosque) is located between the east and west cardos, main streets with shops. The mosque and its purity may be offended due to the shops and their leftovers, which may be the reason why the prestigious building is bound by open dirt areas. Tiberias mosque is a rare case due the fact that it is the only mosque in to be excavated in the 21th century and dating back to the early Islamic period (7th till 12th century). This mosque is the most valuable building concerning the daily-life religious, cultural and political affairs. Research on any factor relating the mosque is bound to lead to new, yet unknown, information. The archaeological excavation directed by D. Katia Cytryn since 2009 revealed private homes south to the mosque (Area M4) and shops west to the mosque (Area M1), which share the same wall. In both areas a large quantity of zoological finds, mainly animal bones were collected and are yet to be analyzed.

It should be noted that live animals or animal bones are considered as impure in Islam. Thus, monumental mosques since the 9th century in Iraq and Egypt have a Zyiadaa, an extra frame enclosing the mosque, to keep it pure and clean. The zoological finds found in context with the Tiberias mosque, also Known as Masjid al-Yasmin (Jasmin Mosque), may therefore reveal the nutrition, economical level, sanitation and mobility of people at the city center. This type of study has not been conducted before.


  • Field Assistant to Khirbat al-Minya Project - October 2015-present  
  • Staff Member of the New Tiberias Excavations Project - 2016-present
  • Staff Member of Khirbat Midras Excavations Project - 2018-present
  • Field Assistant to Eraq al-Ahmar, Nahal Kamos and Nahal Mamshit projects - 2017-present
  • Staff member in Mongolia Wall (Chinggis Road) project - July 2019


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Bar Kribus

Bar Kribus

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PhD research: The Monasteries of the Betä Ǝsraʾel (Ethiopian Jews)

Advisors: Prof. Joseph Patrich and Prof. Steven Kaplan.

Research description: The Betä Ǝsraʾel (Ethiopian Jewish) monastic movement is the only Jewish monastic movement known to have existed in medieval and modern times. Betä Ǝsraʾel monks lived in monasteries, practiced celibacy and devoted themselves to the worship of God. They were considered the supreme religious leaders of the Betä Ǝsraʾel community and were charged with the training and consecration of the Betä Ǝsraʾel priests. In the second half of the nineteenth century, this monastic movement began to decline. In the second half of the twentieth century, the last active Betä Ǝsraʾel monasteries were abandoned.

My research focuses on Betä Ǝsraʾel monasteries and on the physical lives and practices of Betä Ǝsraʾel monks. As part of this research, written sources shedding light on these monks and monasteries are being examined, and interviews focusing on these issues are being conducted. A central aspect of the research is an archaeological survey, aimed at locating and documenting the remains of the monasteries in Ethiopia. In this way, it is possible to shed light on the characteristics of the monasteries, on the way of life of the monks and on characteristics that distinguish Betä Ǝsraʾel monasticism in comparison to other monastic movements.

The ability to locate the remains of Betä Ǝsraʾel monasteries and correctly identify their different components is based primarily on information provided by informants who witnessed the monasteries prior to their abandonment. Thus, comprehensive research on Betä Ǝsraʾel monastic material culture will only be possible as long as such informants are accessible. One of the aims of this research project is to document a maximum amount of information regarding Betä Ǝsraʾel monasticism and its material remains while such a thing is still possible.

Academic Publications

Kribus B. (forthcoming) The Layout and Architecture of the Monasteries of the Betä Ǝsraʾel (Ethiopian Jews) – Preliminary Observations, Ityop̣is.

Kribus B. (forthcoming) The Creation of an African Sheba? The Impact of Pre-Christian Cult and Culture on Aksumite Christianity, Proceedings of the 19th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies.

Kribus B. and Krebs V. (2018) Betä Ǝsraʾel (Ethiopian Jewish) Monastic Sites North of Lake Ṭana: Preliminary Results of an Exploratory Field Trip to Ethiopia in December 2015, Entangled Religions 6: 309-344.

Kribus B. (2018) Shedding light on Medieval Betä Ǝsraʾel (Ethiopian Jewish) Monasticism: An Examination of Sources and Suggestions for Future Study, Africana 15/02/2018,

Kribus B. and Cytryn-Silverman K. (forthcoming) The Ceramic Evidence: The Islamic Period, in: I. Bordowicz (ed.), Horvat Yattir: The 1995 – 1999 Seasons.

Habtamu Makonnen, Phillipson L. and Sernicola L. with contributions by Marco Barbarino, Alfredo Carannante, Michela Gaudiello and Bar Kribus (2013) Archaeological Expedition at Aksum (Ethiopia) of the Università degli Studi di Napoli “L'Orientale” 2011 Field Season: Seglamen, Newsletter di Archeologia CISA 4: 343-439.

Fattovich R., Hiluf Berhe, Phillipson L. and Sernicola L. with contributions by Bar Kribus, Michela Gaudiello and Marco Barbarino (2011) Archaeological Expedition at Aksum (Ethiopia) of the University of Naples “L’Orientale” -2010 Field Season: Seglamen, Napoli.

Popular Publications

Kribus B. (2016) Arabia or Africa: Where Is the Land of Sheba? Biblical Archaeology Review 42: 27-36, 60-61.

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Uzi Leibner

Prof. Uzi Leibner

Head of the Institute of Archaeology
Mandel Building, Room 232. Office Hours: Monday 14:30-15:30

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Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology  

Research Interests: The archaeology of Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Palestine, Archaeological Surveys: Theory and Practice, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine pottery, Settlement patterns and Demographic trends in the Southern Levant during the Classical periods, Ancient Synagogues, Ancient Jewish Art, Ancient economy, Talmudic realia.


Current Projects:

  • Hellenistic Galilee Project:  Our knowledge about the Galilee in the Hellenistic period is extremely limited. Very few historical sources refer to this region between the Assyrian conquest in the eighth century B.C.E. and the Roman conquest in the mid-first century B.C.E. Archaeological data from the interior of the Galilee are scarce, comprising mainly of survey data or sparse finds from beneath massive Roman and Byzantine layers. In fact, the only substantial data used today to study Hellenistic Galilee come from sites outside the region or on it borders, such as Beth Shean to the south, Akko to the west and Tel Kedesh to the north—the latter belonging to the Phoenician realm. As a result, much remains unclear about key matters, such as the material culture or settlement patterns of Hellenistic Galilee. The ethnic identity of the local population—a subject of interest for nearly two centuries of modern scholarship—is also far from clear. While we have ample evidence for a dense Jewish population in the region in the Early Roman period, we do not know if and how this population relates to that of the Hellenistic period. This matter is imperative for understanding the ethnic and cultural background against which early Christianity, and, later, to a large degree rabbinic Judaism, developed in the Galilee. In an attempt to deal with these gaps in knowledge and to answer the above questions, in 2014 the Hebrew University of Jerusalem launched the Hellenistic Galilee Project. The purpose of the research is to study the material culture of the region, settlement patterns and the economy and above all, to try to shed light on the ethnic and religious identity of the population. The project is based on two complementary field studies. The first includes an archaeological survey of a strip of the Lower Galilee from the Akko Plain in the west eastward via the large valleys in the region’s center and as far as the Sea of Galilee. The survey aims to study the duration of settlement at Hellenistic period sites and discern differences in material culture between sites in the Western and Eastern Galilee. The second element is extensive excavation at a Hellenistic site named Kh. el-'Eika in the Eastern Lower Galilee, with the goal of characterizing the material culture, construction methods and materials, plans of dwellings, water supply and trade ties as well as to identify the typology and chronology of the small finds, particularly the pottery.

Previous Projects

Graduate Students:

Pablo Betzer

Nili Ahipaz

Danit Levi
Shahar Puni
Roi Sabar
Hadas Shambadal
Shahar Zur
Hillel Zilberklang

PhD Students:

Roi Sabar

Azriel Yechezkel

Roi Porat


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Prof. Lee Israel Levine

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Research Interests: The ancient synagogue, Jewish art in antiquity, The history and archaeology of Jerusalem, The Patriarchate in Late Antiquity, Judaism and Hellenism, The Rabbinic Class in Roman Palestine.

Ongoing Projects:

Visual Judaism: Art, History, and Identity in Late Antiquity. The project attempts to explain the dramatic and extensive appearance of Jewish art in Late Antiquity (third–seventh centuries CE), particularly in light of the triumph of Christianity.

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Sandra Mermelstein
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PhD Dissertation: Hellenistic Hemispherical Moldmade Relief Bowls found in Israel: Production, Exchange and Consumption

Advisor: Prof. Ilan Sharon

Research Summery: Hellenistic Hemispherical Moldmade Relief Bowls (MMBs) have been identified at many sites in Israel. They were not produced however, in Israel but in different locations around the Mediterranean and Black Sea. I am researching how and where the bowls were produced, exchanged and used. In addition to traditional visual analysis, I am also utilizing Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) to determine the provenience of the bowls.


  • Registrar of Tel Dor, creating catalog of Hellenistic moldmade pottery for Area D4



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Shulamit Miller

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Broadly speaking, her research focuses on intercultural interactions between the Roman and Late Antique Eastern Mediterranean, particularly the Levant, and the broader Mediterranean world. Based in the study of archaeology and material culture, her work draws upon several related disciplines, including history of art, social, cultural and economic history, Jewish studies, and anthropology. Her research interests include domestic architecture and domesticity, urban planning and development, mosaic art, Jewish and Christian cultural connectivity, as well as material expressions of cult and religion.

Her doctoral dissertation, Luxury, Prestige and Grandeur: The Mansions and Daily Life of the Social Elite of Judaea-Palestine during the 1st c. BCE-6th c. CE, was a study of mansions and elite domestic practices in the southern Levant, using architectural and decorative analyses to address topics of social history from the domestic perspective, allowing for a comparative study of the local elites in relation to peers throughout the Mediterranean basin.

Her current project, under the auspices of Z. Weiss’ research funded by the Israel Science Foundation, focuses on the Christianization of the cities of the Galilee, particularly from the perspective of the transformations of urban space in the Jewish-majority cities of Sepphoris and Tiberias. She concurrently working on the preparation of the final report of Y. Hirschfeld’s excavations at Tiberias, including finds spanning the entire first millennium CE.


Assistant instructor – Introduction to Greek and to Roman Archaeology. Instructor – A Matter of Routine: Daily Life in Pompeii, Herculaneum and Ostia.

Excavations: She is currently the assistant director of the excavations at Sepphoris. Past excavations include: co-director of the excavations at Tiberias; assistant director of The New Tiberias Excavation Project; area supervisor at the excavations at Tiberias, Kh. Wadi Hamam and Ramat Hanadiv.

Select Publications:

Miller, S. and Leibner, U. 2018. “The Synagogue Mosaics,” in: U. Leibner (ed.) Khirbet Wadi Ḥamam: A Roman-Period Village and Synagogue in the Lower Galilee, Qedem Reports 13 (Jerusalem: The Institute of Archaeology, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem), 144-186.

Miller, S. 2017. “Markers of Pagan Cults in a Jewish City: Rethinking the Hadrianeum of Tiberias” in: O. Tal and Z. Weiss (eds.) Expressions of Cult in the Southern Levant in the Greco-Roman Period: Manifestations in Text and Material Culture, (Turnhout: Brepols), 95-107.

Miller, S. 2016. “The Urban Plan of Tiberias from its Foundation until the Islamic Conquest in Light of New Discoveries,” in: J. Patrich, O. Peleg-Barkat, and E. Ben-Yosef (eds.) Arise, Walk the Land – Studies in the Archaeology and History of the Land of Israel in Memory of Yizhar Hirschfeld at the Tenth Anniversary of his Demise. (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society), 221-232, 255* (Hebrew with an English abstract).

Miller, S. 2015. “The Late Antique Mosaics of Tiberias: Artistic Trends and Architectural Contexts,” Eretz-Israel 31, 247-255 (Hebrew with an English abstract).

Leibner, U. and Miller, S. 2010. “A Figural Mosaic in the Synagogue at Khirbet Wadi Hamam,” Journal of Roman Archaeology 23, 238-264.


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Joseph Patrich

Prof. Joseph Patrich

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Research Interests: Greco-Roman and Byzantine archaeology, The archaeology of the Near East in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods.

Ongoing Projects:

  • Excavations and Study of Caesarea Maritima
  • Survey and excavations of caves in the Judaean Desert
  • Monasteries and churches of the Holy Land
  • Nabataean archaeology
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