Forthcoming Lectures

Here is where you will find the schedule of AIAS lectures for the coming months.

As you will be aware, all charities are going through hard times during the Covid-19 pandemic and the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society is no exception. Although we do not charge for our lectures, any contribution to the general costs of the Society would be more than welcome, particularly from non-members.

Anyone who would like to make a donation, large or small, can send an email to:  se*******@ai**.uk for details as to how to pay by credit card.

Our regular lectures are currently being held online, via Zoom, but we are also now hosting some in-person events at various locations in London and elsewhere. Check the lecture notices below for details.

Home Sweet Home: Ancient Israelite Households in Context

Wednesday, 22 May 2024, at 5:00 pm (online, via Zoom)
Archaeologist in a trench at Tel Abel Beth Maacah, Israel
Dr. Cynthia Shafer-Elliott excavating at Tel Abel Beth Maacah, Israel, 2019. Photo courtesy of Cynthia Shafer-Elliott.

Archaeology has traditionally focused on monumental places of prestige, such as palaces and temples. Household archaeology seeks to shift our attention to more everyday locations — the home — and the activities of those who lived there.

Recent excavations at Tell Halif have enabled us to explore dwellings of the 8th century BCE, and through them, the cultural and social context of ancient Israelite households.

In this presentation, Dr. Cynthia Shafer-Elliott will highlight Halif’s most recently excavated house and show how it illustrates the daily lives of the average ancient Israelite man, woman, and child. Particular attention will be paid to the domestic activity of food preparation and gender.

Dr. Cynthia Shafer-Elliott is an Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible / Old Testament at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Her research emphasizes household archaeology and issues of food, gender, religion, and social memory. An experienced field archaeologist, she is part of the excavation teams at Tel Halif and Tel Abel Beth Maacah in Israel.

Origins and Resilience: The Vitality of Judaism in Archaeology, Art and Texts

Wednesday, 26 June 2024, at 5:00 pm (online, via Zoom)
Pottery bowl with Aramaic inscription
Pottery incantation bowl with Aramaic inscription, from southern Iraq, 6th-8th centuries CE. © Trustees of the British Museum.
Silver coin
Silver coin minted during the Bar Kochba Revolt of 132-135 CE. © Trustees of the British Museum

The origins of Judaism in the period 900 BCE to 700 CE can be explored through a combination of archaeology, art and texts.

It is a story of a Jewish world immersed in and imprinted by the peoples among whom they lived — Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans and Arabs — and out of which emerged concepts fundamental to the development of early Christianity and Islam.

The result was an outpouring of extraordinary architecture and visual art as well as astonishing literature, poetry and theology. 

The story has never been told through a public exhibition and this talk will explore early thinking about how it might be made a reality, challenging misconceptions about Judaism and its place in antiquity.

Paul Collins is Keeper of the Middle East Department at the British Museum, and Professor Hindy Najman is Oriel & Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture at Oriel College, University of Oxford.

Ancient Judaism: a Nation, an Ethnicity, or a Religion?

Monday, 22 July 2024, at 5:00 pm (online, via Zoom)

The talk asks the question of how the Jews defined themselves in antiquity.

Did they regard themselves as a descent group, stemming from Abraham and thus related by blood?

Did they see commonality as a nation, through shared territory, a collective name, and at least a claim on an autonomous existence?

Or were they united by religion, i.e. not just belief but common ritual, practice, and tradition?

This lecture will explore each of these alternatives, not only in terms of the Jews’ self-awareness but the perception by others – using evidence from the Second Temple period and Greco-Roman world.

Erich Gruen is the Gladys Rehard Wood Professor of History and Classics Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of several books, including Heritage and Hellenism: The Reinvention of Jewish Tradition (1998), Diaspora: Jews Amidst Greeks and Romans (2002), Rethinking the Other in Antiquity (2011), Ethnicity in the Ancient World: Did it Matter? (2020), and the forthcoming Scriptural Tales Retold: The Inventiveness of Second Temple Jews.

Professor Erich Gruen, of the University of California at Berkeley.