Monday 27th June 2011
PROF AMI MAZAR (Hebrew University Jerusalem)
The lecture will survey developments in Israeli archaeological research over the past fifty years. From its modest beginnings during the 1920s, when research subjects were mainly related to Jewish antiquities from the Roman and Byzantine periods, Israeli archaeology has developed immensely in recent decades. Five university departments of archaeology, and the dynamic Israel Antiquities Authority, annually carry out hundreds of surveys, excavations and other archaeological studies. New approaches to studying the past incorporate major developments in archaeological science and the expertise of colleagues with a variety of specialist skills. The integration into archaeology of the social and exact sciences, and new approaches to understanding the relationship between texts and material culture, have opened up new avenues for understanding and interpreting aspects of past cultures in the land of Israel.
The lecture will present examples of achievements over the past fifty years, indicating those debates which remain open and those for which a solution can now be suggested.
Professor Mazar, who has been Vice-Chairman of the Society since 1997, has been a lecturer and professor at the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University since 1980; in 2010 he became Professor Emeritus. His main fields of research are the archaeology of the Levant in the Bronze and Iron Ages, and the relationship between archaeology and Old Testament history. He has directed archaeological excavations at Tell Qasile, Tel Batash (biblical Timnah), Tel Beth Shean, Tel Rehov and various smaller scale sites. Author of Archaeology of the Land of the Bible (New York 1990), he has written or edited eight volumes of archaeological reports and numerous research papers in biblical archaeology. He was Chairman of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (1995-1998) and editor of Qadmoniot (1994-1995), and he has been co-editor of the Israel Exploration Journal since 2010. In 2009 he was awarded the Israel Prize for archaeological research.