Ph.D. Students

itai abadi

Itai Abadi

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Ph.D dissertation topic: The End of the Upper Palaeolithic and the Begining of the Epipalaeolithic in the Southern Levant

Advisor: Prof. Nigel Goring-Morris


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Lena Dubinsky

Lena Dubinsky

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Advisors: Prof. Leore Grossman (archaeology) and Dr. Gal Ventura (art history)


In my doctoral research I aim to develop methods for analyzing archeological engraving techniques through studying the "Chariots" engraving at the Timna site.

The goal of the study is to formulate criteria paving the way for characterizing the engraving techniques used in ancient times. This will be done by clarifying the methods, tools and skills required for making specific rock engravings. The study will couple examining the creative process with digital analysis methods.  This will be accomplished by understanding the way in which the localized craft technology including skills, techniques and material conceptions can be used as a research tool in the effort to examine, analyse and decode archaeological findings.

  • Presidential stipend 2017-2018 at Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities


Lena Dubinsky studied ceramic design at Bezazel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. Upon graduation, she opened her own design studio.  She shortly returned to Bezalel as an instructor, where she still teaches.  While lecturing at Bezalel, she earned a master's degree with honors at Tel Aviv University.  Her thesis discussed the aesthetic and political implications of city plans developed by the Jerusalem Committee formed to modernize architecture and municipal design in Jerusalem after 1967. Additionally, she curates exhibitions concerning craft in the modern world, and is included in international exhibitions and collections.


  • "העשייה והתעשייה: המקרה של מפעלי הפורצלן באירופה בראשית המאה ה-21", בתוך: 'מחשבות על קראפט', עורכים: ערן ארליך, אורי ברטל, ראובן זהבי, הוצאת רסלינג: ירושלים, 2015.

  • "תהליכי ייצור בכבישה יבשה ויישומם בתעשיית האריחים: סיור במפעל נגב", '1280ºC' כתב עת לתרבות חומרית, חורף 2011.

  • "רב שיח: קראפט, עיצוב וטכנולוגיה" בשיתוף עם פרופ' גד צ'רני, עינת לידר, הדס רוזנברג-ניר, טל גור, דב גנשרוא ושלומית באומן, קטלוג תערוכת "עיצוב קרמי: כלים טכנולוגיים", מוזיאון ארץ ישראל, תל אביב, 2011.
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Hadas Goldgeier

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PhD Thesis topic: Technology and style in Prehistoric Architecture

Advisor: Prof. Leore Grosman

Abstract: The development of durable stone structures within the context of incipient villages in the late Epipalaeolithic unto the early Neolithic is a major innovation, as they are the physical manifestations of developing group dynamics and changes in human-environment relationships. Changes in the physical characteristics of structures, new building materials and methods reflect changes in the social dynamics and usage of the landscape, alongside the ‘invention’ and developments of technical knowledge. The large-scale building efforts go hand-in-hand with other massive cultural and economic shifts – mainly the settling of substantial, sedentary villages and the gradual domestication of plants and animals. These early structures echo another domestication process, that of the landscape, and the increase and sophistication in the utilization of natural resources.

Many structures have been excavated and described throughout the Levant, and many studies have attempted to infer social structure and dynamics. Yet there is a paucity of studies concerning a more direct approach to the analysis of structures, the materials of which they are made, how they were built, and their role in understanding long-term neolithization processes.

This project aims to address several key-questions regarding the architectural remains of the Natufian culture and the early Neolithic in the southern Levant. I aim to investigate several aspects of construction such as building techniques, roofing methods and the advent of building materials (such as the early employment of mud and lime-plaster), as well as stylistic choices involved in the construction of prehistoric buildings. These issues will be addressed with a novel set of tools, both computational and micromorphological. Computational tools include GIS and new tools developed at the Computational Archaeology Laboratory at the Hebrew University. Micromorphological tools include phytolith, chemical and micromorphological analyses of sections and materials. This combination of tools is unique and has yet to be employed to better study the role of architecture and built environments in the development of sedentary villages.

My research endeavors to expand the understanding of this important transition in human history, from hunter-gatherers to the sedentary village life of the Neolithic populations, and to develop a comprehensive set of tools that will be widely applicable to the analysis of architectural remains.

Research Interests:

  • Burial customs and ritual practice in Prehistory
  • Landscape archaeology and spatial analysis
  • Origins of agriculture
  • Architectural style and technology
  • The Natufian Culture and Early Neolithic of the Levant
  • Computational applications in archaeology


  • Nahal Ein Gev II Excavation Project since - research assistant – since 2015.
  • Hilazon Tachtit Cave project digitization and documentation – research assistant – since 2014.
  • Computational Archaeology Laboratory - research assistant – since 2017.


  • Goldgeier, H., Munro, N.D., & Grosman, L. 2019. Remembering a Sacred Place – The Depositional History of Hilazon Tachtit, a Natufian Burial Cave. Journal of Anthropological Anthropology 56:1-9.
  • Birkenfeld, M., Kolska Horwitz, L., Bar-Yosef Mayer, D., Cummings, L.S., Goldgeier, H., Krakovsky, M., Natalio, F., Nebenhaus, K., Neumann, F., Porat, N., Scott, L., Simmons, L., Yashuv, T. & U. Avner. 2019. Investigations at Naḥal Roded 110 - a Late Neolithic ritual site in the Southern Negev. Antiquity 93(367).
  • Grosman, L., D. Shaham, F. Valletta, I. Abadi, H. Goldgeier, N. Klein, L. Dubreuil & N.D. Munro. 2017. A Human Face Carved on a pebble from the Late Natufian Site of Nahal Ein Gev II. Antiquity 91(38).




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Halely Harel

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PhD thesis topic: “Loanwords as “Cultural Goods”: Contextualizing lexical borrowing from Semitic languages during Second Intermediate Period and New Kingdom Egypt.

Supervisor: Prof. Orly Goldwasser

My doctoral research revolves around the reconstruction of the social and cultural contexts of language transfer between Semitic and Egyptian.



  • Researcher in “Classifying the other: The classification of Semitic loanwords in the Egyptian script.”  Sponsored by ISF (Israel Science Foundation), PI Prof. Orly Goldwasser.
  • Grantee of the ‘Project for the Development of Bohairic Dialect,’ at Polis institute, Jerusalem. Teaching Coptic and creating a course book for "Speaking Bohairic Coptic as a Living Language."
  • Editor of



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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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Netta Mitki

Netta Mitki

M.A. thesis topic: The Chaine Operatoire at Nahal Lavan 1021: A Pre-Pottery Neolithic B Knapping Site, Israel. Advisor: Prof. Nigel Goring-Morris.

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Areas of Interest:

  • Lithic refitting
  • Neolithic
  • Craft Specialization
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Antoine Muller

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Ph.D. dissertation topic: Exploring spatiotemporal variability in three-dimensional biface morphology: implications for hominin dispersal, cognition, skill, and cultural evolution

Advisors: Prof. Leore Grosman and Prof. Gonen Sharon (Tel Hai Collage)

Research Interests:

Bifacial stone tools, primarily handaxes and cleavers, are the hallmark of the Acheulean period. Despite more than a century of research exploring these bifaces from a growing number of sites, their morphological variation in time and space remains enigmatic. This PhD project seeks to quantify the degree of variability of bifaces from sites in Africa, the Levant, South Asia and East Asia. Typical analyses of bifaces rely on two-dimensional measurements which oversimply their complex three-dimensional variability. For this project, three-dimensional scanning and analysis methods are used to better capture this variability as well as extract key technological variables, such as centre of mass, axes of symmetry, outline morphology, volumetric variation and scar segmentation. Key questions to be addressed include whether biface morphology is better explained by cultural or technological factors, as well as whether diffusion or convergence was responsible for their wide geographic spread.

Additional research interests include experimental investigations into the evolution of lithic technology, with a particular emphasis on cognition, skill, efficiency and standardisation. Other work includes lithic analysis at Boncuklu, an early Neolithic site in Turkey, as well as improving methods and applications of measuring lithic reduction intensity.


  • Muller, A., C. Clarkson, D. Baird and A. Fairbairn 2018 Reduction intensity of backed blades: blank consumption, regularity and efficiency at the early Neolithic site of Boncuklu, Turkey. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 21:721-732.

  • Muller, A., C. Clarkson and C. Shipton 2017 Measuring behavioural and cognitive complexity in lithic technology throughout human evolution. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 48:166-180.
  • Muller, A. and C. Clarkson 2016 Identifying major transitions in the evolution of lithic cutting edge production rates. PLoS ONE 11(12):e0167244.
  • Muller, A. and C. Clarkson 2016 A new method for accurately and precisely measuring flake platform area. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 8:178-186.
  • Muller, A. and C. Clarkson 2014 Estimating original flake mass on blades using 3D platform area: problems and prospects. Journal of Archaeological Science 52:31-38.


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maya oron

Maya Oron

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PhD. disseration topic: Variability in the Middle Paleolithic of the Negev, technological, chronological and spatial aspects. 

Advisor: Prof. Erella Hovers


Analysis of finds from NMO (along with Prof. G. Sharon).

Analysis and publication of IAA excavations of various Middle Paleolithic sites in the Negev.

Analysis and publication of material from a flint mining site in Mitzpe Ramon.

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Roi Porat

PhD Dissertation: Herodium and its surroundings during the Jewish Revolts against Rome in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE, in light of the archaeological finds
Advisor: Prof. Uzi Leibner
alla rabinovich

Alla Rabinovich
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PhD. Research: Transition from Late Bronze Age to Iron Age in the Southern Levant: A Metallurgical Perspective
Supervisors: Dr. Naama Yahalom-Mack, Prof. Yosef Garfinkel
My research focuses on the transition from Bronze Age to Iron Age as reflected in the metal industries of the Southern Levant. It is based on the metal assemblages from a number of sites, including the first complete publication of the finds from Tel Miqne-Ekron. Through typological analysis, analysis of the chemical composition and ware etc. I will study the development of the bronze and iron working and the way the transition from bronze to iron influenced or was influenced by the socio-political changes in the beginning of the Iron Age.
Abel Beth Maacah (since 2017)
Tel Asawir (University of Haifa) (since 2017)
Giv'at Ze'ev (2015-2016)
Tel Lachish (2014-2015)
Ein el-Jarba (2013-2016)
Khirbet Qeiyafa (2013)
Preparing the final report of the metal assemblages from Khirbet Qeiyafa, Khirbet A-Rai, Tel Shiloh, Tel Rehov (with N. Yahalom-Mack), Tel Miqne-Ekron, Tel Azekah.
2019 (accepted for publication) Rabinovich A., Yahalom-Mack N., Garfinkel Y., Ganor S., Hasel M. G. The Metal Assemblage from Early Iron Age IIA Khirbet Qeiyafa and Its Implications for the Inception of Iron Production and Use. In: Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research.
2018 Farhi Y., Rabinovich A. The Late Persian – Early Hellenistic Finger Rings and Seals. Pp. 321-331 in: Y. Garfinkel, S. Ganor, and M. G. Hasel, ed. by M. G. Klingbeil. Khirbet Qeiyafa Vol. 4. Excavation Report 2009–2013: Art, Cult and Epigraphy. Jerusalem.
2018 Rabinovich A. An Iron Dagger from the “Far House” in the Ophel. P. 369 in: E. Mazar and T. Lang. The Fortified Enclosure at the Ophel - The “Far House” (2 Sam 15:17): Architecture and Stratigraphy. Pp. 325–393 in: E. Mazar, The Ophel Excavations to the South of the Temple Mount 2009–2013. Final Reports Volume II. Jerusalem.
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Guilia Roccabella

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Ph.D. Dissertation Topic: Early Ottoman Galilee: Regional and Inter-Regional Networks through Ceramic Evidence. An Analytic Study of Pottery Production, Distribution and Consumption Patterns within the Liwā of Ṣafed between the 16th and the 17th centuries. 

Advisor: Dr. Katia Cytryn-Silverman.

Abstract: In the aftermath of the Ottoman conquest, wilāyat -Šarīf - sub-province of Damascus- experienced a cultural shifting encompassing economic and social growth. Historical sources testify that urban and rural settlements flourished around the province, while economic and cultural connections were held on different scales. Liwā Ṣafed, Safed district, represents the perfect case study for an in-depth archaeological investigation of the Early Ottoman renaissance in the region for several reasons: a) it held a prominent economic and cultural role within the region; b) it was setting of numerous archaeological investigations; 3) the retrieved pottery assemblages are large, variegated and from stratigraphic contexts, enhancing quality and purposes of the studies. This material must be approached through a multidisciplinary methodology involving visual analysis, petrography, quantitive analysis, GIS/A mapping and ultimately comparative discussions, in order to obtain a strong chrono-typology and better understand production, distribution and consumption patterns, their extents and the socio-economic implications.   

Research Interests:

  • Material culture of the Islamic periods
  • Ottoman pottery – chrono-typology, production, distribution and consumption
  • Pottery database
  • GIS and GIA
  • Economic and social history of the Late Islamic periods
  • Historical sources in the archaeological research


  • National Treasures, Israel Antiquities Authority - Curator of the archaeology collection of Islamic and Crusader periods (2015-currently)
  • Mamluk-Early Ottoman pottery from Kafr Kanna. In progress
  • Mamluk and Ottoman pottery from Mughrabim, Jerusaelm. In Progress
  • Mamluk and Ottoman pottery from Ohel Yitzchak, Jerusalem. In Progress
  • Crusader, Mamluk and Ottoman Pottery from excavations in Safed. In Progress
  • Islamic pottery from Bethlehem of Galilee. In progress
  • The Ancient Jerusalem Sifting Project - Publication staff member, expert for the Crusader and Late Islamic periods pottery (2014-2015)
  • Qara Qorum Archaeological Excavations - Field archaeologist and ceramic found illustrator (August 2014)
  • Tiberias Archaeological Excavations - Field archaeologist (July 2012 and February 2013)
  • Giv’ati Parking Lot Archaeological Excavation, Area M4 and M5 - Field archaeologist and staff member participant in publication for area M4 and M5 (2012-2014)
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Roi Sabar

Roi Sabar

PhD Dissertation Topic: Northern Israel During the Hellenistic Period (4 – 1 c. B.C.E): Geopolitical Changes and Settlement History in Light of the Fortified Sites
Advisor: Prof. Uzi Leibner

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Hellenistic Galilee project, research assistant

Khirbet El-Eika, area supervisor

Nahal Aviv Caves excavations 2015, 2017

Acco Train-station project

Tel Qedesh



Sabar, R. (2018) ‘Josephus’ “Cydasa of the Tyrians” (Tel Qedesh) in eastern Upper Galilee’, Journal of Roman Archaeology 31: 387–405.

Sabar, R., Leibner, U., Davidovitch, U. and Langford, B. (2018) ‘The Mount Nitai Cave Survey,’ In: U. Leibner (ed.), Khirbet Wadi Ḥamam: A Roman Period Village and Synagogue in the Lower Galilee, Jerusalem: 286–303.

Wachtel, I., Sabar, R. and Davidovitch, U. (2017) ‘Tell Gush Halav during the Bronze and Iron Ages’, Strata 35: 115–134.

וכטל, ע', צבר, ר' ודוידוביץ', א' (2018). 'גוש חלב בתקופת המקרא', ארץ ישראל, 33: 129-140.

צבר, ר', ליבנר, ע', דוידוביץ', א', ולנגפורד, ב' (2015). 'סקר המערות במצוקי הר ניתאי', קדמוניות, 149. עמ' 46- 50.


In preperation: 

Sabar, R. ‘The Hellenistic Pottery’, in: Streit, K. (ed.) in prep. Ein el-Jarba: Excavations in the fields of Hazorea, Jezreel Valley. From the Pottery Neolithic to the Hellenistic Period. Austrian Academy of Sciences.



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Heeli Schechter
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PhD dissertation topic: The Social, Economic and Symbolic Uses of Marine Mollusks in the Neolithic of the Southern Levant.

Advisor: Prof. Nigel Goring-Morris, with Dr. D. Bar-Yosef Meyer, Tel Aviv University.

Abstract: The shells of marine molluscs are among the oldest ornaments used by humans. Shells were instrumental in past economic life, as a component in exchange networks, connecting individuals and communities from distant regions. They carry symbolic meaning as artefacts of personal adornment and act as social and personal identity agents. During the Neolithic period in the Levant, shells were used as beads, pendants and inlays, produced by different technological manufacturing procedures, and used in various ways. 

The aims of this project include composing a comprehensive overview and synthesis of shells in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B of the Mediterranean Levant, focusing on the use of shells in different life situations – private, public, mortuary, and intra-site context. An additional aim is to incorporate microscopic methods in the study of manufacturing technology and use-wear, never before carried out in this region.
The materials for this study include both newly excavated shell assemblages and reanalysis of published material. The sources to be used include previous reports on mollusc assemblages; different guides to taxonomic research; published methodological research concerning bead-making technology and macro- and microscopic use-ware analysis; theoretical literature concerning personal adornment, use of space, social and economic interaction, identity and more.


  • Schechter, H.C., Gopher, A., Getzov, N., Rice, E., Yaroshevich, A. and I. Milevski. 2016. The Obsidian Assemblages from the Wadi Rabah Occupations at Ein Zippori, Israel. Paléorient 42(1): 27-48.
  • Agam, A., Walzer, N., Schechter, H.C., Zutovski, K., Milevski, I., Getzov, N., Gopher, A. and R. Barkai. 2016. Organized waste disposal in the Pottery Neolithic? A Bifacial Workshop Refuse Pit at Ein Zippori, Israel. Journal of Field Archaeology 41(6): 713-730. 
  • Schechter, H.C., Marder, O. Barkai, R., Getzov, N., and A. Gopher. 2013. The obsidian assemblage from Neolithic Hagoshrim, Israel: pressure technology and cultural influence. In: F. Borrell, J. J. Ibñáez, M. Molist (eds.) Stone Tools in Transition: From Hunter-Gatherers to Farming Societies in the Near East. Bellaterra (Barcelona): Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Pp. 509-528.
  • Gopher, A., Lemorini, C., Boaretto, E., Carmi, I., Barkai R., and H.C. Schechter. 2013. Qumran Cave 24, a Neolithic-Chalcolithic site by the Dead Sea: a short report and some information on lithics. In: F. Borrell, J. J. Ibñáez, M. Molist (eds.) Stone Tools in Transition: From Hunter-Gatherers to Farming Societies in the Near East. Bellaterra (Barcelona): Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Pp. 101-114. 
  • Schechter, H.C., Zutovski, K., Agam, A., Wilson, L. and A. Gopher. 2018. Refitting Bifacial Production Waste – the Case of the Wadi Rabah Refuse Pit from Ein Zippori, Israel. Lithic Technology 43(4): 228-244. DOI: 10.1080/01977261.2018.1514723


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dana shaham

Dana Shaham

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PhD dissertation: Pleistocene/Holocene Linear Art in the Mediterranean Basin

The research aims to establish an expanded, detailed, cross-cultural corpus of linear style artworks derived from Terminal Pleistocene Mediterranean cultures (c. 15,000 years BP). This research is supposed to contribute new criteria for assessing cultural dynamics recognized and defined in the Natufian unique phenomena. Those new criteria will also enable innovative pan Mediterranean cross-cultural comparisons and may contribute actual data on the phenomenology of art and aesthetics, under the particular circumstances of the unique turnover in human history – the transformation from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic lifeways.

Advisor: Prof. Anna Belfer-Cohen

Areas of interest

  • Art Prehistory
  • Terminal Pleistocene – Early Holocene cultures of the Mediterranean basin
  • Archaeomusicology
  • Archaeomalacology
  • Stone tools (typology, hafting)


Teaching assistance, "Introduction to Human Evolution" (Prof. A. Belfer-Cohen), since 2015.

Nahal Ein-Gev II, Late Natufian (Prof. Leore Grosman), since 2010.

Satsurblia Cave (Georgia), Upper Paleolithic (Dr. Tengiz Meshveliani, Prof. Ron Pinhasi and Prof. Anna Belfer-Cohen), excavation 2013-2015.

Kfar Hahoresh, PPNB (Prof. Nigel Goring-Morris), excavation 2009-2011; lithic analyses 2009-2014.

Agia Varvara-Asprokremnos (Cyprus), PPNA (Dr. Carole McCartney), excavation 2008, 2009, 2012.

Hilazon Tachtit Cave, Late Natufian (Prof. Leore Grosman), excavation and analysis of the mollusk assemblage 2008.

Tel Tsaf, Middle Chalcolithic (Prof. Yosef Garfinke), excavation 2005-2006.

Gesher, PPNA, hafting technology project 2006-2007.

Nahariya Bronze Age Temple, the mollusks assemblage 2007.


Shaham, D. and L. Grosman. In press. Engraved stones from NEG II – portraying a local style, forming cultural links. Proceedings of the 8th Conference on PPN Chipped and Ground Stone Industries of the Near East, Nicosia, Cyprus, November 2016.

Shaham, D. and A. Belfer-Cohen. 2017 The Natufian Audio-Visual Bone Pendants from Hayonim Cave. In: D. E. Bar-Yosef Mayer, D.E., Bonsall, C. and A.M. Choyke (eds.) Not Just for Show: The Archaeology of Beads, Beadwork and Personal Ornaments. Philadelphia: Oxbow Books. Pp. 95-102.

Grosman L., Shaham D., Valletta F., Abadi I., Goldgeier H., Klein N., Dubreuil L. and Munro N.D. 2017 A human face carved on a pebble from the Late Natufian site of Nahal Ein Gev II. Antiquity 91 (358) e2: 1–5.

Grosman, L., N.D. Munro, I. Abadi, E. Boaretto, D. Shaham, A. Belfer-Cohen and O. Bar-Yosef. 2016. Nahal Ein Gev II, a Late Natufian Community at the Sea of Galilee. PloS one 11(1): p. e0146647.

Shaham, D. 2014. Art Research Tools for Reading Natufian Art: A Methodological Approach and Selected Case Studies. Unpublished MA Thesis, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem (in Hebrew).

Shaham, D. and A. Belfer-Cohen. 2013. Incised slabs from Hayonim cave: a methodological case study for reading Natufian art. In: F. Borrell, J.J. Ibáñez, and M. Molist (eds.) Stone Tools in Transition: From Hunter-Gatherers to Farming Societies in the Near East. Barcelona: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona Press. Pp. 407-419.

Shaham D. 2012. The Articulation of Music and Visual Arts during the Natufian Culture in the Levant. In: E. Anati (ed.) The Intellectual and Spiritual Expressions of Non-Literate Peoples, UISPP, CISENP, Atalier, Capo di Ponte, Giugno. Pp. 197-213.

Shaham, D., L. Grosman and N. Goren-Inbar. 2010. The red-stained flint crescent from Gesher: new insights into PPNA hafting technology. Journal of Archaeological Science 37: 2010-2016.


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