The Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures

The Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures at Tel Aviv University offers a variety of courses covering the archaeology, cultures, history and languages of the Land of Israel and of the ancient Near East from the prehistoric to the end of the Classical periods. During their studies in the Department, students become thoroughly acquainted with the complex and unique world of people and civilizations that inhabited the area in the past, and are afforded new perspectives on the present-day world.

The topics of our research and courses span a wide range and include the appearance of the first humans in the ancient Near East through the emergence of the great civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the Aegean; the rise of Ancient Israel; archaeology and the Bible and the cultural history of biblical times; archaeology through the lens of the microscope; and Greece and Rome in the Mediterranean and in the Land of Israel.

Students in the Department are presented with two main study routes: The Archaeology of the Land of Israel and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures. Classes offered in the first route are aimed at providing knowledge of the archaeology of the Land of Israel and of other parts of the Levant (Transjordan, Syria and Lebanon) from prehistoric times to the Classical periods. During their studies, students also participate in excavations where they are trained for archaeological field work, gaining hands-on experience.

Students enrolled in the second study route obtain in-depth acquaintance with the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the Aegean. Courses offered introduce the histories, languages, religions, societies and material culture of Pharaonic Egypt and the Assyrian, Babylonian and Hittite empires, as well as pre-Classic Greek societies. By learning ancient languages students are enabled direct access to ancient texts and are provided with insights to the administrative, political and spiritual worlds of those who wrote them.

The Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures offers a unique combination of archaeological theory and practice, field work and lab work and analysis of texts and of finds. In addition to offering regular frontal lessons and seminars, the Department conducts archaeological excavations at sites from various periods. Students play an active and significant role in these research projects. The Department also organizes a series of excursions to archaeological sites in Israel (and occasionally abroad).