What follows is an annotated list of links to websites of institutions and organizations that specialize in the archaeology of Israel and the ancient Levant. This list is not complete—rather it is designed to lead you to the large, inclusive sites that will be useful and direct you to other sites. We have not elected to include specific excavation websites—these are often found within the institutional websites.
Archaeology in Israeli Universities
- Hebrew University, Institute of Archaeology: The Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem is one of the oldest in Israel, founded in 1934. Research projects and teaching curriculum include all periods from prehistory to medieval times. Members of the institute are conducting excavations at Hazor, Tel Rehov, Tel Tsaf, Tel Dor, Tiberias, Sepphoris and Kfar Hahoresh. The Institute now includes a unit that executes digital 3D illustration of artifacts; this is a service that can be contracted.
- Tel Aviv University, Institute of Archaeology: The Tel Aviv University’s Nadler Institute of Archaeology was founded in 1969 by Y. Aharoni, as the second institute of archaeology in Israel. The Alkow Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures includes the study of Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Aegean and Hittite languages and cultures. Research projects and teaching curriculum cover prehistory to the classical periods, though the department has emphasized the Iron Age in the last decades. The department/institute has excavations continuing at Megiddo, Beth Shemesh, Ramat Rahel, Tel Beth Yerah, Apollonia-Arsuf on the coast and Nahal Hadera.
- The Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology: The institute boasts ten active researchers dealing with the Bronze Age through Classical periods. Their flagship project is Prof. Aren Maier’s excavation at Tell es Safi, biblical Gath.
- Haifa University, Department of Archaeology: The Zinman Institute of Archaeology at Haifa University was established in 1988. Their main focus of work is on prehistoric, biblical and classical archaeology. The institute also does salvage excavation. Presently, excavations are being carried out at Hippos (Sussita), Tel Dor and the Rakefet and El-Wad caves (prehistory).
- Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science: The Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science is located in Rehovot, as part of the Weizmann Institute of Science. The institute works only with graduates, primarily in using scientific tools in a multi-disciplinary program.
- Ben Gurion University, Dept of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Archaeology Division: The department maintains a full study and research program, with an emphasis on arid zone archaeology. The website is somewhat “spartan”.
Levantine Archaeology at universities, instititions and websites abroad
- The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago is a research organization and museum devoted to the study of the ancient Near East. Founded in 1919 by James Henry Breasted, it is an internationally recognized pioneer in the archaeology, philology, and history of early Near Eastern civilizations.
- The Harvard University Semitic Museum houses collections of archaeological materials from the Ancient Near East. Its current exhibits explore everyday life in ancient Israel during the Iron Age; a 2nd millennium BCE Hurrian city, located in modern-day Iraq; and the history of ancient Cyprus through ceramics and metal objects. You will find links to these exhibits, as well as other information about the Museum.
- The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology contains a great deal of material from the university’s excavations in the Middle East. It carries out further research and laboratory study and sponsors exhibitions, lectures and field trips.
- University of California at San Diego Levantine Archaeology Lab: UCSD has lately become one of the premier research institutions for the archaeology of the ANE. This includes the application of advanced scientific methods for documentation and analysis. Principle projects include excavation at sites in Jordan and south-eastern Turkey. Chalcolithic sites excavated in Israel (Nahal Tillah, Gilat and Shiqmim) by Prof. T.E. Levy, formerly of the NGSBA, are now also under UCSD auspices.
- University of California at Los Angleles archaeological field school
- Johns Hopkins University Department of Near Eastern Studies
- Texas A&M Nautical Archaeololgy Program
- Kelsey Museum of Archaeology at the University of Michigan
- Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology at UC Berkeley
- Doc Savage’s Old World Archaeology website (affiliated with Arizona State University)
- Bryn Mawr Graduate Program in Classics and Mediterranean Archaeology
Non-university institutions with archaeological programs in Israel
- The W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research was founded in 1900 as the American School of Oriental Research. The Albright and related programs sponsor a large number of research grants, lecture programs, scientific meetings and field trips as well as facilitating archaeological field work.
- The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) is the organization that is responsible for protecting antiquities in Israel and for licensing excavations conducted anywhere in the country. They also excavate more than everyone else put together (mostly salvage excavation), do a great deal of restoration and reconstruction of archaeological sites, and publish frequent reports, both preliminary and final, in paper and online.
- The German Protestant Institute of Archaeology in Jerusalem was founded in 1900. The present director, Dieter Vieweger is also the director of the Biblical Archaeology department at the University of Wuppertal. This site is in German.
- The Council for British Research in the Levant, and the Kenyon Institute in Jerusalem are the new research arms of the British Academy, formed from the British School in Jerusalem and Amman. The British School was founded in 1919, after the start of the British Mandate, by John Garstang.
- The École Biblique et Archéologique Française was founded by Marie-Joseph LaGrange in 1890 as the École Biblique of the Dominican Friars. The most important archaeological project is the final publication of Roland de Vaux’s Khirbet Qumran excavations, associated with the Dead Sea Scrolls.
- The Terra Sancta Museum of the Franciscan Order displays finds from the holy places it administers and from its own excavations. The Fransiscan Order has been the representative of the Latin Church since the early thirteenth century. Today, the scholars of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum work on issues related to the Christian presence in the Holy Land from Roman to Crusader periods.
- Yad Ben Zvi is a non-profit organization established in honor of Israel’s second president, following his death in 1963. Ben Zvi was a great lover of the Land of Israel and the organization honors his memory by sponsoring lectures, field trips and public meetings in archaeology, history and geography. Yad Ben Zvi publishes the scholarly journal Cathedra. The site is in Hebrew as are all the organization’s activities.
- The Israel Exploration Society was established by a group of Jewish intellectuals in 1914 to encourage Jewish exploration of the Land of Israel. It is instrumental in fundraising for archaeological fieldwork, organizing international conferences and field trips and most importantly, it publishes and distributes publications. The IES publishes the Israel Exploration Journal (in English) and Qadmoniot (in Hebrew) If you want to order a book or journal concerning the archaeology of Israel, this is a good place to look.
- The American Schools of Oriental Research supports and encourages the study of the peoples and cultures of the Near East, from the earliest times to the present. Founded in 1900, ASOR is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization. It is apolitical and has no religious affiliation. ASOR publishes the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research and Near Eastern Archaeology, a semi-popular magazine.
- The Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS) was founded in 1974 as a nonprofit, nondenominational, educational organization dedicated to the dissemination of information about archaeology in the Bible lands. BAS educates the public about archaeology and the Bible through magazines, books, visual materials and seminars. BAS publishes the popular Biblical Archaeology Review which has great graphics and an annual roundup, usually in the winter issue, of most excavations that accept volunteers.
A number of Powerpoint presentations have been posted here for educational use. They are mainly end-of-semester projects put together by HUC grad students for Dr. David Ilan’s course The Archaeology of the Holy Land.
- Byzantine Jerusalem (Carl Pace)
Powerpoint presentation 5.8 Mb
- Crusader Jerusalem (Russ Mack)
Powerpoint presentation 5.6 Mb
- Water in Jerusalem (Tom Beyl)
Powerpoint presentation 3.2 Mb
- Jewish and Christian Relations in the Byzantine Period (James Pate)
Powerpoint presentation 6.1 Mb
Slide and Digital Image Archive
The school’s archive contains nearly 4,000 images from Tels Dan, Aroer and Ira, in digital, print and transparency form. These images are used for public lectures and scientific presentations, in addition to their being a useful tool for stratigraphic analysis and typological illustration. We often find that color pictures contain information that black and white photos taken at the same time don’t. In the publication of the future, many more color images will be included—either in an online or DVD format. We are presently in the process of cataloguing the archive with keywords to create a searchable index. Digital images, prints and slide transparencies will be available to interested parties for a fee or in exchange.
The initial scanning was executed at low resolution to facilitate easy storage and manipulation. These are already convenient for public presentations. Images for publication, once selected, can be scanned to much higher resolution.
Slide transparencies are stored in trays and numbered according to the sequence in the digital archive.
Black and white prints are stored in photo albums. One series contains field photos and another series contains images of artifacts. They are organized by site, excavation field and year. These prints are now scanned and archived according to the organization of the albums. The next step will involve cataloging with keywords to enable topical searches. Again, high-resolution scans will be conducted for those items designated for publication or upon request.