M.A. Students

Nili Ahipaz

Nili Ahipaz

M.A. thesis topic: The Custom of Concealing Coins in Synagogue Foundations in the Byzantine period in Israel-The Synagogue at Dir 'Aziz as a Test Case. Advisor: Dr. Uzi Leibner

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Numismatic expertise for archaeological excavations from academic institutions in Israel

  • Herodium (Prof. E. Netzer
  • Cypros (Prof. E. Netzer)
  • Dir 'Aziz (Dr. H. Ben Daviv)
  • The Twins Cave (Dr. B. Zisso)
  • H. Jomjom (E. Mair)
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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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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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neta friedman

Neta Friedman

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M.A. Thesis Topic: GIS Analysis of Subsistence Strategies and Mobility Patterns during the Middle and Late Epipaleolithic in the Negev and Sinai

Advisor: Prof. Nigel Goring-Morris

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Shlomo Greenberg

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Thesis topic (M.A.): The Iron I stratum of Khirbet el-Rai

Advisor: Prof. Yosef Garfinkel


  • Hazor excavations (since 2017)
  • Khirbet el-Rai excavations (since 2019)
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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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toam meir weil

Toam Meir-Weil

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Advisor: Prof. Arlette David

M.A. thesis topic: Egyptian Governors Residencies in the Late Bronze.

Thesis summery: Egyptian Governors Residencies is an architectural type found in the southern Levant during the LBIIb period. The type was first introduced by petrie in 1930, and since than it has become the main architectural type to be recognized with the Egyptian occupation of the southern Levant in the Late Bronze period (parallel to the New Kingdom in Egypt). Our understanding of the Egyptian presence in the southern Levant during the New Kingdom is still very basic, and there are many unresolved questions revolving the matter. My research aims to dismantle and reassemble this architectural type, using parallels from Nubia and Egypt. In doing so, I hope to reach a better understanding of some of the questions concerning the Egyptian occupation of our region.

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קרן נבנהויז

Keren Nebenhaus

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M.A. thesis topic: In many Prehistoric sites, there is evidence that people have been collecting "unusual" natural objects from the environment. Since these objects are rarely modified and were not used as tools, there is currently no established methodology for studying them. In my research, I attempt to establish a framework for defining. identifying, documenting, studying and interpreting this type of objects. The research also includes two case studies from the late Natufian period in the Southern Levant.

M.A. Advisor: Prof. Leore Grosman 

Research interests:

  • Prehistoric art
  • Anthropology of religion 
  • Epipaleolithic cultures in the Southern Levant
  • 3D analysis of archaeological artifacts


  • The Nahal Ein-Gev II Excavation Project
  • The Computational Archaeology Laboratory - research staff


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תמנע רז

Timna Raz

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M.A thesis: Building a methodology for the identification of ancient agricultural fields in the Jordan Valley

Advisor: Prof. Leore Grosman

Abstract:  The transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture is one of the most profound and transformative changes in human history. Currently the evidence for this transition are either secondary, or indicate the end of the process, hence domesticated cultivars. This research aims to develop a new methodology for the direct identification of ancient agricultural activity in the soil. This research is based on ethnography of traditional dryland agricultural practices, building a model for geographical analysis of potential sites for ancient agriculture, and testing of Geo-archaeological methods used for the identification of agriculture in later periods and different geographical settings, on selected sites in the Jordan Valley.

Research interests:

  • The beginning of agriculture and transition to complex societies
  • Public archaeology and prehistoric tourism
  • Geo-archaeology
  • The Natufian culture
  • Prehistoric mining

Current projects:

Nahal Ein Gev II Excavation Project  since 2015

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Shai Scharfberg

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M.A. thesis subject: Settlement Complexity and Site Catchment Analysis of Early Bronze Age Cities in the Southern Levant: The Case of Tel Qedesh in the Upper Galilee.


Advisor: Dr. Uri Davidovich

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Mordechai Wolfson

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M.A. Research Topic: Dice and Board Games in the Private Sphere in Palestine During Late Antiquity

Advisor: Prof. Zeev Weiss

Abstract: In my research, I plan to examine various aspects of dice and board games, in both the practical and cultural aspects. This research will include an analysis of the archaeological findings from Sepphoris in order to characterize and define the different games and comparing the Sepphoris findings to those from other sites. I will also examine the historical sources which have information about games in the Roman world in order to determine if the findings in Sepphoris match the sources. In addition, I will examine the Rabbinic sources concerning dice and board games. The goal of the research is twofold. First, to provide information about the games themselves, and second, to examine the attitude of the Sages toward these games and those who played them. Of special interest is to determine whether in a city like Sepphoris, with a mixed Jewish and Pagan population, is it possible to define specific games which were played by only one of the populations and not the other? Or were these games a meeting place between the Pagan population to the Jewish one? These are just some of the questions which arise from the research I would like to carry out.

Research Interests:

  • The Classical periods in Israel.
  • The relation between texts and Archaeology, especially Rabbinic texts (“Talmudic Archaeology”).
  • The relationship between the Jewish and Gentile population in Israel during the Roman-Byzantine period.


  • Thesis about dice and board games in Palestine during Late antiquity.
  • Sepphoris excavation team.




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Talia Yashuv

Talia Yashuv

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M.A. Thesis topic: Perforated items and perforating tools – reconstructing Late Natufian crafts at Nahal Ein-Gev II

Advisor: Prof. Leore Grosman


At the late Natufian site of Nahal Ein-Gev II, flint perforators are highly abundant. Alongside them, several groups of perforated items are evident as being crafted on site. Among them drilled shell disc beads are known in the Natufian ornamentation tradition. A group of perforated stones, however, does not appear in a Natufian context, and their function is not clear. The current study focuses on the stone items, on describing their morphology, analysing the early drilling technology, and illuminating functional aspects.

Research methodology uses 3-D scans that extract high-resolution geometrical data, and processing it with analytical tools developed at the Computerized Archaeological Laboratory (Hebrew University). Together, practical experimentation is designed to answer technological questions, and the experimental items are scanned for comparison. Consequently, it is possible to approach the technology of early hole-making, quantify the variation between different drilled holes, compare between perforating tools and perforated items, and identify details regarding the perforated stones use-wear and function. More generally, this study is an attempt to reconstruct a variety of crafts held at the Natufian village, and to shed light upon new daily life aspects of a complex culture in the transition to agriculture.

Research interest

  • The transition to agriculture
  • The Natufian and Early Neolithic cultures
  • Ground stone tools
  • Evolution of drilling technology and crafts
  • 3D analysis of archaeological artefacts

Current projects

  • The Computational Archaeological Laboratory - research staff since 2016
  • Nahal Ein-Gev II excavation project – excavating from 2013, staff from 2017
  • Motsa PPNB excavations – Israel Antiquities Authority, since 2018


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Chen Zeigen

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Advisor: Prof. Erella Hovers, Dr. Ron Shaar


M.A. Thesis summery: In my research I attempt to retrieve paleomagnetic intensity and directional data from two types of common Middle Paleolithic artifacts; burnt chert and burnt sediments remaining from hearths. In the absence of polar reversal events after 760 Ky Bp, archaeomagnetic studies rarely focus on late Pleistocene sites and there is little knowledge of archaeological artifacts from this period that can provide a point-in-time recording of the earth’s magnetic field. My research therefore has two focal point. First, establishing the utility of the aforementioned materials as paleomagnetic recorders; and second, exploring ways in which paleomagnetic data can contribute to our understanding of formation processes in Amud cave.

Current Projects:


Tinshemet cave excavations, since 2018



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