Curriculum 2017-18

Over the course of the first two semesters of theoretical practicum, students will explore the periods between the late-second millennium BCE through the Roman Period. This will be done through the study of archaeological finds, biblical text and Ancient Near Eastern texts that illuminate the economic and social structures, diplomatic and political relations and religious practices of the inhabitants of ancient Israel, as well as tours of archaeological sites.

During the third (summer) semester, students will actively participate in four weeks of fieldwork at one of the following excavation sites*: Azekah** or Megiddo.

To reach the 36 academic hours needed for the Master’s degree (in the regular track), each student will participate in:

  • 10 mandatory courses (20 credit points in total)
  • 3 Seminars (12 credit points in total)
  • Ancient language course (4 credit points in total)
  • Academic writing workshop***
  • 6 Field trips
  • 4 Weeks of excavation
  • 2 Excavation courses***
*The program’s tuition includes four weeks of excavations, paid separately to the expeditions in which the students will participate.
In some of the excavations, the student will be given the option to extend their participation beyond the mandatory requirement.
However, extending participating involves an additional fee, also paid directly to the expedition.
**Excavations may change. Other excavations may become available instead of the ones listed above.
*** Not calculated in the overall final average grade of the degree, but will appear in the transcript.




► Mandatory courses (2 credit points per course):

► Seminars (4 credit points per seminar): 

► Academic workshop for first-year students

► Ancient Language: Ancient Egyptian (4 credit points)

Please note that the program may be subject to changes.



Course Listing:

An Introduction to Field Archaeology: Theory and Method 
1671-4075-01  Boaz Gross 
The course will introduce the disciplinary foundations of archaeology: the essence of archaeology as a scientific discipline, the nature of archaeological data, archaeological field methods and approaches to archaeological interpretation. We will also explore how archaeology attempts to reconstruct the social and economic organization of ancient societies, as well as their cognitive world. 
The focus of the course will be on field excavation methods, terminology, documentation and scientific methodology and approaches, all of which comprise the multi-disciplinary toolkit that every modern archaeologist must be acquainted with and utilize. The course will also discuss the role of archaeology in modern society and its intricate relationship with different areas of life, such as religion, politics, environment, and development.
Fall Semester 30/10/17 -19/12/17 MON 10:00-12:00 TUE 16:00-18:00 *  TOUR DATE: 7 December 17
* On November 13th there will be held a double class from 10:00-14:00 Instead of the class of November 14th. 
* On November 14th, 20th and 21st there will be no class.

The archaeology and history of the land of Israel throughout the periods:
Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age I
1671-4043-01  Dr. Ido Koch 
The rise of Early Israel is currently viewed as a process within the wider framework of the history of the Land of Israel. A meaningful understanding of Iron Age Israel requires, therefore, familiarity with the history of the land in earlier periods. The course will deal with the archaeology of Canaan during the Late Bronze Age and the early Iron I period (ca (1550 BCE until 1100 BCE). This period saw the flourishing and decline of Canaanite culture as well as the growth and collapse of the Egyptian empire that ruled the country. It is also the time in which both Philistine and Israelite cultures were formed.
Fall Semester 24/10/17-28/11/17 TUE 10:00-14:00  TOUR DATE: 30 November 17

The archaeology and history of the land of Israel throughout the periods:
Iron Age I-II
1671-4044-01  Dr. Ido Koch 
The rise of Early Israel is currently viewed as a process within the wider framework of the history of the Land of Israel. A meaningful understanding of Iron Age Israel requires, therefore, familiarity with the history of the land in earlier periods. The course will deal with the archaeology of Canaan during the Late Bronze Age and the early Iron I period (ca (1550 BCE until 1100 BCE). This period saw the flourishing and decline of Canaanite culture as well as the growth and collapse of the Egyptian empire that ruled the country. It is also the time in which both Philistine and Israelite cultures were formed.
Fall Semester 5/12/17-9/1/18 TUE 10:00-14:00  TOUR DATE: 30 November 17

The History of the Ancient Near East
1671-4065-011  Prof Yohram Cohen   
This course will offer a survey of the history of the ancient Near East from the birth of civilization in Egypt and Mesoptamia to the fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire to the Persians. The lessons will discuss the beginning of writing, the urbanization of the Near East, the rise of Egypt, the Amorite dynasities of the second millennium, Canaan and Syria in the Late Bronze Age, the expansion of the Neo-Assyrian Empire and more.
Textbook: Marc van de Mieroop, A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000 – 323 BC, 2nd Edition (2006). Blackwell.
or: Amelie Kuhrt, The Ancient Near East, c. 3000-330 BC (1997). Routeledge.
Fall Semester
TUE 14:00-16:00

Archaeological Science: Recent Contribution to the Archaeology of the Southern Levant
1671-4064-01 Prof Erez Ben-Yosef
The course deals with the integration of methods from the natural and exact sciences in archaeological research by presenting various case studies from the Levant, with a focus on the Bronze and Iron Ages.  The students will be exposed to methods from the forefront of current research, including analyses of ecofacts (archaeo-zoology, archaeo-botany), advanced dating techniques (archaeo-magnetism, radiocarbon, OSL), and various methods for analyses of inorganic archaeological materials (petrography, XRF, XRD and more). The course demonstrates the substantial contribution of integrative studies to key topics in the archaeology of ancient Israel and beyond.
Spring Semester TUE 10:00-12:00

The Archaeology of Jerusalem in the Bronze and Iron Ages
1671-4081-01 Dr. Yuval Gadot
The city of Jerusalem has a long and complex history that began more than 5000 years ago. Archaeological finds coupled with written sources serve as testimonies for periods during which Jerusalem was a small kingdom or served as the capital of a territorial kingdom. The same sources also leave gaps in our knowledge of the city history and status. The aim of the course is to discuss the history of Jerusalem from an archaeological perspective. During the course we will learn about the city’s natural setting and how they shaped the city’s character. We will get to know Jerusalem’s many explorers and discuss the nature of the city during the Bronze and Iron Ages (the 3rd-1st millenniums BCE)
Fall Semester
WED 10:00-12:00

The archaeology and history of the land of Israel throughout the periods:
Iron Age I - Persian period
1671-4045-01 Dr. Omer Sergi
Historically speaking, the Iron Age II (ca. 980–586 BCE) was the period that saw the rise and fall of the territorial kingdoms in the Levant. As early as the Iron Age IIa (ca. 980–800 BCE) territorial-political entities ruled by local dynasts were formed throughout the Levant, among them also the Biblical kingdoms of Judah and Israel. By the Iron Age IIb-c (ca. 800–586 BCE), these kingdoms dissolved and integrated into a larger imperial system of different successive imperial powers: Assyria, Egypt, and Babylonia. By the time, the Persian Empire took over the Levant (ca. 539 – 330 BCE) the territorial kingdoms no longer existed, and the imperial provinces formed the political – territorial organization of the region.
The main goal of the class is to discuss and to reconstruct the rise and fall of the southern Levantine territorial kingdoms in the land of Israel, by focusing on the archaeology and history of Israel and Judah. In order to do that, we shall review the archaeological record from excavations and surveys throughout Israel, trying to clarify the settlement trends, urbanization process and material culture indicating centralization of political power. Consequently, we shall study the important ancient Near Eastern historical documents that may shed light on the historical circumstances for the rise and fall of the local kingdoms. On this ground, we will be able to examine also some Biblical texts in order to assess their date, their historical point of view and accordingly, their contribution to the historical reconstruction of the period.
Spring Semester 05/03/18 – 24/04/18
MON 10:00-12:00 TUE 16:00-18:00

The archaeology and history of the land of Israel throughout the periods:
Late Persian and Hellenistic periods
1671-4046-01  Dr. Meir Edrey
This part of the course will introduce you to the archaeology of the Southern Levant during the classical periods. Throughout the course, we will learn basic concepts of classical archaeology and examine the material culture of the Persian and Hellenistic periods through a survey of notable sites in the southern Levant.
Spring Semester 3/5/18 - 7/6/18
THU 10:00-12:00

The Roman Army Wants You!
0671-2459-01  Dr. Guy Stiebel 
The course will be devoted to the study of the Roman army, most notably in the Roman East as it emerges from the archaeological and historical sources. We will examine the various forces that comprise the Roman army and their equipment. Themes, such as the daily routine and the conduct in battle, will be discussed as well the enemies of Rome and relations between the oppressor the native population in Roman Judaea will be further explore.
Spring Semester  TUE 12:00-14:00

Early 'Israelite' Religion - an Archaeological Perspective
1671-4083  Shua Kisilevitz
Traditionally, the study of early ‘Israelite’ religion has primarily centered on the biblical accounts, which are laced with later additions and religious agenda, and remain heavily debated among scholars. This eventuality is a combination of the everlasting popularity of religious studies, and the paucity of contextualized cultic finds unearthed in the region. However, with the recent discovery of an Iron IIA temple at Moẓa, less than 7 kilometers from ancient Jerusalem, complete with cult vessels, figurines and sacrificial remains, the time has come for a reassessment of the archaeological finds in the study of ‘Israelite’ religion. 
This course will focus on the formation of early ‘Israelite’ religion, approaching the topic from a primarily archaeological standpoint. We will review cultic remains found in various contexts in the Southern Levant, such as at Arad, Beer Sheba, Moẓa, Lachish, Megiddo, Ta’anach, Rehov and Dan, examining the cultural influences they represent, against the backdrop of the Iron IIA as a formative period during which several political entities, including the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel, emerged in the region. 
Spring Semester  MON 16:00-18:00

Seminar Listing:
State Formation in the Ancient Near East and the Early Monarchy in Israel
1671-4079-01   Dr. Omer Sergi
The retreat of imperial powers from the Late Bronze Age Levant (13th–12thcenturies B.C.E.) and the demise of the city-state system resulted in a re-formation of political organization: during the early Iron Age new political entities emerged on the scene with the formation of independent, territorial, kin-based polities. This was not only a political change but also an important socio-economic and cultural change, which had a long lasting effect. Among the new kingdoms emerged to power in this period are also Israel and Judah, whose story of formation and growth is detailed mainly in the Book of Samuel.In this seminar we will explore the formation of territorial kingdoms by discussing different aspects of material culture and settlement process, analyzing ancient Near Eastern historical documents and studying some of the related Biblical texts. Accordingly we shall try to reconstruct not only the territorial-political formation but also its historical and cultural consequences. A special emphasize will be given to the formation of Israel and Judah, in light of archaeological finds and the biblical historiography.
Fall Semester  WED 12:00-16:00
The Geopolitical Landscape of Northern Canaan in the Late Bronze Age
1671-4080 Dr. Mario Martin
During the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1500–1130 BCE) the northern regions of the land of Israel functioned as a buffer zone between the great empires—Egypt in the south and the Mitanni and subsequently the Hittites in the north. The political reality of the Canaanite city states was a blend of foreign influence, hegemony and occupation, diplomatic alliances and an ongoing fight for independence. The geographical landscape of this area was diversified, shaping economic subsistence, strategic locations, trade network and interregional interconnectedness in general. As a result, the polities on the Mediterranean coastal plain, in the Highlands and in the large intersecting valleys (Jezreel and Jordan Valleys) were faced with different circumstances.
This course is a fusion of the textual and archaeological evidence from this period. It covers the main historical events and elaborates on the regional nuances. The textual sources are fascinating but at times sketchy. The highlight are the Amarna letters. Beyond that, it is mainly the archaeological finds at key sites, such as Megiddo, Beth-Shean and Hazor that complement the picture and reveal the true story of what the political life was like in the period under review.
Spring Semester  WED 10:00-14:00
Judah in the Persian Period and the Book of Ezra-Nehemiah as a Historical Source
1671-4082-01  Prof. Oded Lipschits
The seminar will focus on one biblical-historiographical source – the Book of Ezra and Nehemiah, which usually considered by scholars as the most important source for reconstructing the history of the days of the Return. The discussion in the seminar will be focused on the structure of the book, its composition and the history of its creation, and in the different views in the research regarding its credibility as a historical source. Further on, we will consider the ideological, political and religious intentions of its composition and the tendencies of the different composers and editors.
Spring Semester  MON 14:00-16:00 WED 16:00-18:00

Archaeology Research Workshop for First Year Students
1671-4082-01  Prof. Oded Lipschits
The workshop aims to introduce the students to work with different types of archaeological publications and practice academic writing. The students will practice critical reading of academic articles, work with excavation reports, formulation of research questions and presentation in class. Attendance is mandatory. A written assignment will be handed in at the end of the semester.
Fall Semester  MON 14:00-15:00
Archaeology Research Workshop for Thesis Year Students
The workshop aims to assist the students with the process of writing their theses. The students will be introduced to the structure of a thesis and to methods of data processing and presentation of research results. Attendance is mandatory
Ancient Language: Egyptian
1671-4078-01  Dr. Deborah Sweeny, Galit Tal (practice)
During the first term and the first part of the second term, students in the course will learn the basic principles of Classical Egyptian and read some simple common Egyptian texts, such as offering formulae, which are found on Egyptian objects in museum collections worldwide. In the second term, the students will read a more complex text, such as ״King Cheops and the Magicians, or the ״Shipwrecked Sailor.״
Fall Semester  MON 14:00-16:00     WED 16:00-17:00
Spring Semester MON 12:00-15:00  WED 15:00-16:00


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