Prof. Lidar Sapir Hen

ארכיאולוגיה סגל אקדמי בכיר


Lidar Sapir-Hen is head of  the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures. Lidar studied Life Sciences at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (B.Sc.), and Ecology/Zoology and Archaeology at Tel Aviv University (B.A., M.Sc, Ph.D.). She is the head of the Laboratory of Zooarchaeology, and curator of Zooarchaeological Collections of the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History. Specialized in the study of animal remains, Lidar’s main research interests include: the interaction between humans and animals in the past, social complexity of ancient populations, and identity and cultural aspects as reflected in food production and consumption. Lidar is currently involved with several excavations that date from the early Neolithic through to the Islamic period. 

More on the Laboratory of Zooarchaeology, research and people:


Research interests

  • Zooarchaeology (Archaeozoology)
  • Interaction between humans and animals in the past
  • Social complexity of ancient populations
  • Identity and cultural aspects as reflected in food production and consumption. 


Vardi, J., Parow-Souchon, H., Nagar, Y., Cipin, I., Rosenberg, D., Sapir-Hen, L., Galmor, S., Schehter, H., Caracuta, V., Paz, Y., and Shemer, M. 2024. The Early Pre-Pottery Neolithic B site of Aḥihud (western Galilee Israel): Preliminary observations. Paleorient 49(2): 19-42.

Namdar, L., Zimni, J., Lernau, O., Vieweger, D., Gadot, Y., and Sapir- Hen, L. 2024. Identifying Cultural Habits and Economical Preferences in the Islamic Period, Mount Zion, Jerusalem. Journal of Islamic Archaeology 10(2):175-194  

Sapir-Hen, L., Namdar, L., 2024. Animal Management. In: Rehren, T., Nikita, E. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Archaeology, 2nd Edition, vol. 2, pp. 785–792, London: Academic Press.

Sapir-Hen, L., Uziel, J., Maeir, A.M., Ilan, D., Susnow, M. 2023. A cache of astragali from Tel Nagila. ‘Atiqot 112: 35-52

Sapir-Hen, L. 2023. Animal subsistence economy during the Late Bronze - Iron Age I: Continuity vs. Change. In: Koch, I., Sergi, O. and Lipschits, O. (eds.), From Nomadism to Monarchy? A Thirty-Year Retrospective (Mosaics: Studies on Ancient Israel 3). Tel Aviv and University Park, PA. Pp. 39-49.

Spiciarich, A., Gadot, Y., Shalev, Y., Lipschits, O., Har-Even, B., Sapir-Hen, L. 2023. Continuity and change: animal economies of Jerusalem and its hinterland during the Persian and Hellenistic periods. ZDPV 139 (2): 193-217.

Kleiman, A., Hall, E., Kalisher, R., Dunseth, Z.C., Sapir-Hen, L., Homsher, R.S., Adams, M.J., Finkelstein, I. 2023. Crisis in motion: the final days of Iron Age I Megiddo. Levant DOI: 10.1080/00758914.2023.2230039​

Namdar, L. and Sapir-Hen, L. 2023. Animal Economy in the Chalcolithic of the southern Levant: From Meat Source to Marketable Commodity. In: Ben-Yosef, E. and Jones, I.W.N. (eds.), And in length of days understanding” (Job 12:12) - Essays on Archaeology in the 21st Century in Honor of Thomas E. Levy. Springer: Cham (Switzerland). Pp. 59-83.

Sapir-Hen, L. and Fulton, D.N. 2023. A dog’s life in the Iron Age of the southern Levant: Connecting the archaeological and textual evidence. Oxford Journal of Archaeology. 42(2) DOI: 

​Spiciarich, A., Sergi, O., Covello-Paran, K., Tsur, Y., Bezzel, H., Sapir-Hen, L. 2023. Strategies of Animal Exploitation in Late Iron Age IIA Ḥorvat Tevet (the Jezreel Valley) Reveal Patterns of Royal Economy in Early Monarchic Israel. Palestine Exploration Quarterly. DOI: 10.1080/00310328.2023.2184088  

Spiciarich, A., Stripling, S., and Sapir-Hen, L. 2023. Fauna. In Stripling, S. and Hasler, M.A. (eds.): The Excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir, 1995-2000 and 2009-2016. Archaeopress Publishing Ltd, Oxford. Pp. 342-350.

Spiciarich, A., and Sapir-Hen, L. 2023. Faunal remains found near the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount. In Baruch, Y., Reich, R., Hagbi, M., Uziel, J. (eds.): The southern wall of the Temple Mount and its corners: past, present and future. University Park, PA: Eisenbrauns. Pp. 191-200.

Sapir-Hen, L. 2022. The future of studying Ancient Israel: insights from the Archaeological Sciences, with a focus on studies of food and society. In: Pierce, G., and Keimer, K. (eds.), The Ancient Israelite World, Part VII. Routledge Press. Pp. 731-740

Sapir-Hen, L. and Shalev, Y. 2022. Animal rituals from the Persian period at Tel Dor. In: N. Yahalom-Mack, U. Davidovich and S. Matskevich (eds.), Material, Method, and Meaning: Papers in Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology in honor of Ilan Sharon. Ägypten und Altes Testament 110. Münster: Zaphon. Pp. 117-130.

Sapir-Hen, L. 2022. Always a hunter: the role of wild animals during the Late Bronze and Iron Ages of the southern Levant. Near Eastern Archaeology 84(5): 288-295.   

Della Casa, R. and Sapir-Hen, L. 2022. The environment we share: Human-non-Human Animal Interactions in the Ancient Near East. Near Eastern Archaeology 84(5): 244-247.

Sapir-Hen, L. and Ben-Yosef, E. 2022. The emergence of a desert polity: the archaeozoological perspective. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 14:332 10.1007/s12520-022-01694-0

Munro, N., Lebenzon, R., Sapir-Hen, L. 2022. Revisiting Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene mountain gazelle (Gazella gazella) body size change in the Southern Levant: A case for anthropogenic impact. PLoS One 17(8): e0273024.     

Namdar, L., Gadot, Y., Mavronanos, G., Gross, B., Sapir-Hen, L. 2022. Frozen in time: Caprine pen from an Early Islamic earthquake complex in Tel Beth Shemesh. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 45:103555

Sapir-Hen, L. 2022. The Late Bronze animal economy. In Finkelstein, I., Martin, M. & Adams, M.J. (eds.): Megiddo VI: the 2010–2014 Seasons. Tel Aviv, Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology. Pp. 1481-1511.​

Sapir-Hen, L., Fulton, D.N., Adamas, M.J., Finkelstein, I. 2022. Temple and the town at Early Bronze Age I Megiddo: faunal evidence for the emergence of complexity. Bulletin of American Schools of Oriental Research 387: 207-220.​

Sapir-Hen, L. 2022. The Post-Ghassulian and Middle Bronze Age Faunal Assemblages. In Paz, Y. & Nativ, A. (eds.): Yesodot: A Lodian, Wadi Rabah, Post-Ghassulian and Middle Bronze Age Site. Emery and Claire Yass Publications in Archaeology. Pp. 241-249 (Salvage Excavation Reports; no. 11)

Sapir-Hen, L. 2022. Rise and Fall: Changes in the Symbolic Perception of Donkeys during the Bronze and Iron Ages. In Stiebel, G.D., Ben-Ami, D., Gorzelzani, A., Teper, Y., Koch, I. (eds.): In Centro.  Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University: Tel Aviv. Pp. 9-18. (in Hebrew).   

Spiciarich, A. and Sapir-Hen, L. 2022. Faunal remains. In Gadot, Y. (ed.): The Landfill of Early Roman Jerusalem: The 2013–2014 Excavations University Park, PA: Eisenbrauns. Pp. 195-234.

Spiciarich, A., Lernau, O., Sapir-Hen, L., Shalev, Y., and Gadot, Y. 2022. Fish in ancient Jerusalem: trade and consumption of fish in an inland site from the Iron Ages to the Early Islamic Period. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 43:103430      ​

Spiciarich, A., Stripling, S., and Sapir-Hen, L. 2023. Khirbet el-Maqatir Faunal Remains. In Stripling, S. and Hasler, M.A. (eds.), The Excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir, 1995-2000 and 2009-2016. Archaeopress Publishing Ltd, Oxford. Pp. 342-350.

Namdar, L., Paz, I., Vardi, J., Sapir-Hen, L. 2021. Variation in economic specialization as revealed through the study of Pottery Neolithic faunal assemblages from the Southern Levant. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 13: 207 

​Sapir-Hen, L., Uziel, J., Chalaf, O. 2021. Everything but the oink: On the discovery of an articulated pig in Iron Age Jerusalem and it’s meaning to Judahite consumption practices. Near Eastern Archaeology 84 (2): 110-119.

Sapir-Hen, L. 2020. Human-animal relationship with work animals: donkeys and camels during the Bronze and Iron Ages in the southern Levant. Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins 136(1): 83-94.

Pines, M. and Sapir-Hen, L. 2020. The animal economy of Byzantine Sozousa and its immediate hinterland (areas M, O, AA1 and CC). In Tal, O. (ed.) Apollonia-Arsuf: Final Report of the Excavations, Volume II: Excavations outside the Medieval Town Walls. University Park: Eisenbrauns & Tel Aviv: Emery and Claire Yass Publications in Archaeology of the Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University. Pp. 305-320

Gopher, A., Eirikh-Rose, A., Ashkenazi, H., Marco, E., May, H., Makoviychuk, Y., Sapir-Hen, L., Galmor, S., Schechter, H.C., Ackerfeld, D., Haklay, G., Zutovski, K. 2019. Nahal Yarmuth 38: A new and unique PPNB site in central Israel. Antiquity 93(371): 1-8.

Sapir-Hen, L. 2019. Late Bronze and Iron Age livestock of the Southern Levant: Their economic and symbolic roles. Tel Aviv 46(2): 227-236.

Sapir-Hen, L. 2019. Food, pork consumption and identity in Ancient Israel. Near Eastern Archaeology 82(1): 52-59.

Finkelstein, I., Gadot, Y. and Sapir-Hen, L. 2018. Pig frequencies in Iron Age sites and the biblical pig taboo: once again. Ugarit-Forschungen 49: 109-116.

Koch, I. and Sapir-Hen, L. 2018. Beersheba–Arad Valley during the Assyrian Period. Semitica 60: 427-452.

Munro, N.D., Bar-Oz, G., Meier, J., Sapir-Hen, L., Stiner, M., Yeshurun, R. 2018. The Evolution of Animal Domestication in the Southern Levant. Scientific Reports 8:9279;   DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-27647-z.

Sapir-Hen, L., Lernau, O., Ben-Yosef, E. 2017. The diet of ancient metal workers: the Late Bronze – Iron Age at the Timna Valley. In Ben-Yosef, E., Goren, Y. (Eds.): Mining for Copper: Essays in Memory of Professor Beno Rothenberg. Tel Aviv: The Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University. Pp. 64-80.

Sapir-Hen, L. 2017. Pax Assyriaca and the animal economy in the southern Levant: regional and local-scale imperial contacts. In: Lipschits, O., Gadot, Y., Adams, M.J. (eds.), Rethinking Israe: Studies in the History and Archaeology of Ancient Israel in honor of Israel Finkelstein. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns. Pp. 343-355.

Sapir-Hen, L., Gadot, Y., Lipschitz, O. 2017. Ceremonial donkey burial, social status and settlement hierarchy in the Early Bronze III: The case of Tel Azekah. In: Lev-Tov, J., Wapnish, P., Gilbert, A. (eds.): Taking A Broad View of Zooarchaeology in Honor of Brian Hesse's Contributions to the Field. Atlanta: Lockwood Press. Pp. 281-292.

Finkelstein, I., Langgut, D., Meiri, M., Sapir-Hen, L. 2017. Egyptian imperial economy in Canaan: reaction to the climate crisis at the end of the Late Bronze Age. Egypt and the Levant 27: 249–259.

Pines, M., Sapir-Hen, L., Tal, O. 2017. Consumption and disposal practices in the southern Levant in Late Antiquity: animal bones from Apollonia/Sozousa’s hinterland as a case study. Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins 133: 186-204.  

Sapir-Hen, L., Martin, M.A.S., Finkelstein, I. 2017. Food Rituals and their Social Significance in the Mid-Second Millennium BC: A View from Megiddo. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology DOI: 10.1002/oa.2629.   

Pines, M., Sapir‐Hen, L. and  Tal, O. 2017. Crusader Diet in Times of War and Peace: Arsur (Israel) as a Case Study. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 36 (3): 307-328.

Spiciarich, A., Gadot, Y. and  Sapir-Hen, L. 2017. The Faunal Evidence from Early Roman Jerusalem: The People behind the Garbage. Tel Aviv 44 (1): 98-117.

Meiri, M., Stockhammer, P. W., Marom, N., Bar-Oz, G., Sapir-Hen, L., Morgenstern, P., Macheridis, S., Rosen, B., Huchon, D. and  Maran, J. 2017. Eastern Mediterranean Mobility in the Bronze and Early Iron Ages: Inferences from Ancient DNA of Pigs and Cattle. Scientific Reports 7:

Sapir-Hen, L., Sharon, I., Gilboa, A., Dayan, T. 2017. Wet sieving a complex tell: implications for retrieval protocols and studies of animal economy in historical periods. Journal of Archaeological Science 82: 72-79.

Ben-Yosef, E., Langgut, D., Sapir-Hen, L. 2017. Beyond Smelting: New Insights on Iron Age (10th c. BCE) Metalworkers Community from Excavations at a Gatehouse and Associated Livestock Pens in Timna, Israel. Journal of Arcaheological Science: Reports 11: 411-426.

Sapir-Hen, L. 2016. Pigs as an ethnic marker? Biblical Archaeology Review. Nov/Dec pp. 41-43. (invited paper).

​Sapir-Hen, L., Dayan, T., Khalaily, H., Munro, N.D. 2016. Human Hunting and Nascent Animal Management at Middle Pre-Pottery Neolithic Yiftah'el, Israel. PLoS ONE 11(7): e0156964. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0156964.

​Sapir-Hen, L., Gadot, Y., Finkelstein, I. 2016. Animal Economy in a Temple City and its Countryside: Iron Age Jerusalem as a Case Study. Bulletin of American Society for Oriental Research 375: 103-118.

Sapir-Hen, L., Sasson, A., Kleiman, A., Finkelstein, I. 2016. Social stratification in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages: an intra-site investigation at Megiddo. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 35(1): 47-73.

Sapir-Hen, L., Meiri, M., Finkelstein, I. 2015. Iron Age pigs: new evidence on their origin and role in forming identity boundaries. Radiocarbon 57(2): 307-315.

Sapir-Hen, L. 2015. Not so supportive. Biblical Archaeology Review special issue: "40 futures: experts predict what's next for biblical archaeology". Pp. 56-58.​ (invited paper).

​Sapir-Hen, L. 2015. The faunal remains. In Borowski, O. (Ed.): The Tel Halif Excavations PHASE IV. 2014 Field Season Field V. Atlanta Georgia: Emory University. Pp. 167-181.

Sapir-Hen, L. 2015. Animal bones: possible evidence for death rituals. In Tal, O., and Taxel, I. (Eds.): Samaritan Cemeteries and Tombs in the Southern Coastal Plain: The Archaeology and History of the Samaritan Settlement outside Samaria (ca. 300–700 CE). Münster: Ugarit-Verlag. Pp. 123-127.

Raban-Gerstel, N., Agha, N., Sapir-Hen, L., Bar-Oz, G. 2015. Dog burial from the City of David:  zooarchaeological, taphonomic, and pathological analysis. In Mazar, E. (ed.): The Summit of the City of David Excavations Seasons 2005-2008: Final Reports Volume I. Jerusalem: Shoham.  Pp. 487-496.

Sapir-Hen, L., Gadot, Y., Finkelstein, I. 2014. Environmental and historical impacts on long term animal economy: the southern Levant in the Late Bronze and Iron Ages. Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient 57(5): 703-744.

Sapir-Hen, L., Pines, M, Tal, O. 2014. Animal economy and social diversity in Byzantine Apollonia/Sozousa. Levant 46(3): 371-381.

Sapir-Hen, L. and Ben-Yosef, E. 2014. Socioeconomic status of Iron Age metal workers: animal economy in the “Slaves’ Hill”, Timna, Israel. Antiquity 88 (341): 775-790.

Sapir-Hen, L., Bar-Oz, G., Sharon, I., Gilboa, A. Dayan, T. 2014. Food and culture at Tel Dor, Israel: a diachronic study of faunal remains from 15 centuries of continuous occupation. Bulletin of American Society for Oriental Research 371: 83-101.

Meiri, M., Huchon, D., Bar-Oz, G., Boaretto, E, Kolsk,a L, Maeir, A, Sapir-Hen, L., Larson, G, Weiner, S, Finkelstein, I. 2013. Ancient DNA and population turnover in southern Levant pigs – a signature of the Philistine migration? Scientific Reports 3, 3035; DOI:10.1038 srep03035 .

Sapir-Hen, L. and Ben-Yosef, E. 2013. The introduction of domestic camels to the southern Levant: evidence from the Aravah Valley. Tel Aviv 40(2): 278-285.

Sapir-Hen, L. 2013. Appendix: the faunal remains. Pp. 119-122. In: Tal, O., Taxel, I. Khirbet al-Adra: More on Refuse Disposal Practices in Early Islamic Palestine. Strata 31: 91-122.

Sapir-Hen, L., Bar-Oz, G., Gadot, Y., Finkelstein, I. 2013. Pig husbandry in Iron Age Israel and Judah: new insights regarding the origin of the “taboo”. Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins 129(1): 1-20.

Sapir-Hen, L., Bar-Oz, G., Sharon, I., Gilboa, A., Dayan, T. 2012. Understanding faunal contexts of a complex tell: Tel Dor, Israel, as a case study. Journal of Archaeological Science 39: 590-601.

Finkelstein I., Ben Dor Evian S., Boaretto E., Cabanes D., Cabanes M., Eliyahu A., Feigenbaum S., Gadot Y., Langgut D., Martin M., Meiri M., Namdar D., Sapir-Hen L., Shahack-Gross R., Shaus A., Sober B., Tofollo M., Yahalom-Mack N., Zapassky L., Weiner S. 2012. Macro and micro archaeology as tools in reconstructing the history of ancient Israel. Biblical History and Ancient Israel 1: 133-150.

Sapir-Hen, L. 2011. Dog burials at Dor. In: Nitschke. J.L., Martin. S.R., Shalev. Y. Between the Carmel and the Sea. Tel Dor: The Later Periods. Near Eastern Archaeology 74(3): 132-154.

Sapir-Hen, L., Bar-Oz, G. Khalaily, H., Dayan, T. 2009. The last of the gazelle hunters in the southern Levant: the faunal remains from the Neolithic site of Motza, Israel. Journal of Archaeological Science 36: 1538-1546.

Sapir-Hen, L., Bar-Oz, G., Hershkovitz, I., Raban-Gerstel, N., Marom, N., Dayan, T. 2008. Palaeopathology survey of ancient mammal bones in Israel. Veterinarija ir Zootechnika 42(64): 62-70.    

Khalaily, H., Bar-Yosef, O., Barzilai, O., Boaretto, E.,  Bockuentin, E., Eirikh- Rose, A., Greenhut, Z., Goring-Morris, A.N., Le-dosseur, G., Marder, O., Sapir-Hen, L., Yizhaq., M. 2008. Excavation at Motza at the Judean Hills and the Early Pre-Pottery Neolithic B in the southern Levant. Paleorient 33(2): 5-37.

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