Curriculum 2018-19

​​​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 our excavation sites.

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

Please note, that the following information is subject to change.
 


 

ACADEMIC CURRICULUM 2018-19

 

Announcing the curriculum for the upcoming academic year of 2018-2019:

► Mandatory courses (2 credit points per course):

► Seminars (4 credit points per seminar):

Academic workshop for first-year students

► Ancient Language: Ancient Hittite for beginners (4 credit points)

 

 


 

Course Listing:

An Introduction to Field Archaeology: Theory and Method 
1671-4075   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. 

     

The archaeology and history of the land of Israel throughout the periods:
Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age I
1671-4043  Dr. Omer Sergi
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.
     

The archaeology and history of the land of Israel throughout the periods:
Iron Age I-II
16714044  Dr. Omer Sergi
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.
     

The archaeology and history of the land of Israel throughout the periods:
Iron Age I - Persian period
16714044  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. 

   

The archaeology and history of the land of Israel throughout the periods:
Late Persian and Hellenistic periods
1671-4046   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.
   

Objects in Context
0671  Dr. Ido Koch
In this course we will explore various types of objects and their meaning in order to understand the social practices in the southern Levant during the Bronze and Iron Ages. Among the object types to be discussed are pottery vessels, figurines, amulets, stamps and sealings, and spinning and weaving implements. We will track the origin of each type, its development, and its function. We will further investigate the transformative capacity of these objects stemmed from the interplay between material forms, iconic decorations, social practices and intercultural relations.
   

Botanical Archaeology: A View from the Southern Levant during the Bronze and Iron Ages (Course and Lab)
1671-4086   Dr. Dafna Langgut
The course will present the different methods and proxies which can be used to reconstruct past vegetation based on the identification of botanical remains (such as fossil pollen grains, seeds, as well as phytolith and wood and charcoal remains). The field of archaeobotany deals with the following questions: ancient vegetative diet, plant usage (construction, fuel etc.), the reconstruction of past vegetation and climate, agricultural practices, migration of plants and long distance trading, ancient gardens, utilization patterns for living spaces, symbolic and cultic usage of plants and seasonality of site occupation. Examples will be given from the Bronze and Iron Ages of the Southern Levant. The archaeobotanical information presented through the course will be evaluated in light of settlement patterns and archaeological and textual evidence from the region. The course will include microscopic training at the laboratory of Archaeobotany and Ancient Environments (TAU). Visits to the Botanical Gardens and to the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History (TAU), are also planned.
   
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The Archaeology of Animal Bones (Course and Lab)
1671-4087  Dr. Lidar Sapir Hen
Animal remains are amongst the most common archaeological finds in any excavation. This course offers an introduction to archaeozoology, the study of the relationships between human societies and animals in the past. We will explore how the study of animal remains allows us to reconstruct ancient human-animal- environmental interactions. The course will introduce the work frame of this field, focusing on case studies from ancient Israel, and will include an introduction to animal bones using comparative collections of modern specimens and faunal remains from archaeological sites in Israel.
   
 
The Intermediate Bronze Age in the Southern Levant
0671-2484  Karen Covello Paran
The Intermediate Bronze Age follows the breakdown of urban society and a return to a more egalitarian, rural lifestyle. Recent radiocarbon dating present a new chronology for the end of the 3rd millennium BCE extending the span of the IBA over a period of 500 years in the Southern Levant. The aim of this course is to reevaluate the Intermediate Bronze Age from an archaeological perspective of regional material culture. During this course we will learn about regional domestic and mortuary related aspects of life and settlement patterns with emphasis on the social-economic and political structure of the population.
   

The History of the Ancient Near East
1671-4065  Dr. Shai Gordin  
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.
   
 
 

 
Seminar Listing:
 
Cities and Districts in the Biblical Period- Between Text and Archaeology
1671- 4089 Prof. Oded Lipschits
In this seminar we will deal with the methodology of reconstructing the history of sites and regions from the Biblical Period through a careful study of all the available sources: The Biblical text, the other historical sources and the archaeological material. We will deal with many case-studies of the past and current research in different regions of Biblical Israel and Judah from different periods in the history of the land.
   
 
Central Issues in the Archaeology and History of Jerusalem: the first and second Millennium BCE
1671-4091  Dr. Yuval Gadot & Dr. Joe Uziel 
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 center ruling over its direct hinterland, or periods when it served as the capital of a territorial kingdom. The same sources also leave gaps in our knowledge of the city’s history and status. The aim of the course is to discuss the history of Jerusalem from an archaeological perspective. The seminar will open discussions relating to major issues in Jerusalem’s development, including issues of the city's character, including discussions on its topography, natural resources and geographical position and how these factored into the way in which the site behaved over time. Issues of the site’s economy and environment will also be put forth. We will then discuss in details current debates in the archaeology of the city such as Jerusalem’s rise to urbanism, its regional and inter-regional connections, the people behind the construction of its water systems and fortifications, the position and extent of the site in different periods, and many other questions.
 
 
The Transjordan in History and Tradition
1671-4090  Prof. Israel FinkelsteinDr. Omer Sergi 
The geographical designation “Transjordan” refers to the highland rising east of the Jordan Valley, stretching from the Yarmukh River in the North to the Arabah in the south. In spite of the rather arid nature of this region, it inhabited one of the most important trade routes crossing the Levant connecting Egypt and Mesopotamia through Damascus. The inhabitants of this region, whether mobile-pastoralist, rural peasants or urban population played, accordingly, a prominent role in the social and economic life of the southern Levant. There is no wonder therefore that this region is well commemorated in biblical traditions. During the Iron Age the Transjordanian highlands saw the formation of three territorial polities – Ammon, Moab and Edom – who were the immediate neighbors to the biblical kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Accordingly, many biblical traditions refer to these kingdoms and thus may attest to their complex relations with Israel and Judah. Moreover, there is substantial material in the Hebrew Bible which places the origins of Israelite identity in the Transjordanian highlands and locates within it the origins of at least some of the Israelites. In order to clarify these traditions and their historical context, the seminar will be dedicated to the study of the history of the Transjordanian highlands throughout the Bronze and Iron Age, through a thorough review of the relevant archaeological finds and historical sources. Special attention will be given to the social and political formations of the Transjordanian highlands polities and their relations with Israel and Judah. On this basis we shall also discuss some of the biblical traditions relating to this region, and their origin.
 
 

Archaeology Research Workshop for First Year Students
1671-4076-01  Nitsan Shalom
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.
   
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: Hittite
1671-4051  Dr. Amir Gilan
Hittite is the earliest attested Indo-European language and belongs to the Anatolian branch of these languages. It is one of the major languages of the ancient Near East, along with Akkadian and Sumerian. It was spoken in Anatolia in the second millennium BCE and served as the main literary language of the Hittite Empire. More than 30 thousands fragments, written in Hittite in cuneiform script, were excavated in Hattusa, the ancient Hittite capital as well as in other Hittite centers. The course will offer a comprehensive introduction to the Hittite language. After learning the basic grammar, we will read selected historical, religious and mythological texts.
 

 
 
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