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The International Program’s blog

Archaeology and Conservation: a Tour of Old Acre

Posted by on May 3, 2016

Archaeology and Conservation: a Tour of Old Acre

One of the latest archaeological tour conducted by the International MA program was a trip to the old city of Acre (also known as Akko). The Old City of Akko is a UNESCO world heritage site, and is a major hub for tourists. The city, which has elements dating back to the Early Bronze Age, is built upon Crusader ruins from almost 1,000 years ago. The Crusaders, on their way to wrest control of Jerusalem and the Holy Land from the Muslims, built and fortified the port city of Akko and made it one of their most important cities. After the fall of Jerusalem Akko became the capital of their...

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The Second Annual Thesis Conference of the International MA Program in Archaeology and History of the Land of the Bible

Posted by on Apr 10, 2016

The Second Annual Thesis Conference of the International MA Program in Archaeology and History of the Land of the Bible

About a week after being acknowledged as the leading archaeology department in Israel and as one of the leading research centres in the world, the International MA program of the Archaeology Department at Tau held its second annual thesis conference.   Students of the program, who pursued a second year thesis track, presented their research work to peers, staff and guests, with each of the presenters showcasing their process from identifying a topic and research question, to conducting an investigation of previous research, developing their own tools and techniques to address the issues...

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Excavating in the Desert: The Central Timna Valley Project

Posted by on Mar 16, 2016

Excavating in the Desert: The Central Timna Valley Project

Recently I was privileged to participate in an excavation at the site of Timna, the ancient copper mines of the Aravah. Located approximately 20 kilometers north of Eilat, Timna, known in the public sphere as the site of King Solomon’s Pillars, is an extensive area where copper mining and smelting has been conducted for the last 3000+ years. The most recent excavations, led by Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef of Tel Aviv University, began in 2012, and run every year during the winter. The reason it happens during the winter is because it is located deep in the desert, where work conditions in the intense...

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The End of Days: An Archaeological Tour of Tel Megiddo

Posted by on Jan 25, 2016

The End of Days: An Archaeological Tour of Tel Megiddo

Recently we had a field trip to Megiddo, the site of the last battle between the forces of heaven and the forces of evil. While going on a tour of literal Armageddon is pretty cool in and of itself, this tour was special because we went with Prof. Israel Finkelstein, the man in charge of the excavations there. This gave us an insider’s, detailed look at the site, the finds, and stories of the excavations, following the seminar we had recently taken about Megiddo, with Prof. Finkelstein.   A taste of the tour:   Walking the geographical path Part of the importance of Tel...

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The First Months: Living in Tel Aviv, Studying at TAU

Posted by on Dec 9, 2015

The First Months: Living in Tel Aviv, Studying at TAU

With the beginning of classes behind us, now is the perfect time to look back at the launch of the school year, from living in Tel Aviv to classes at TAU. Living in Tel Aviv Tel Aviv is truly a city that never sleeps. Every day, from before sunrise to well after sunset the streets are full, busy, and loud. Waking up for classes is easy. The Sun is shining, people are walking about on their daily routine, and the streets are full of cars, taxis, buses and motorbikes honking at each other to get out of the way. After classes your time is yours to do with as you wish, and Tel Aviv offers a...

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Teaching on the Fly: Rain Doesn’t Have to Ruin your Day

Posted by on Nov 11, 2015

Teaching on the Fly: Rain Doesn’t Have to Ruin your Day

This past Friday we were supposed to go on our first field excursion with Dr. Yuval Gadot to Tel Gezer and Tel Afek to learn about Canaanite city-states in the Bronze and Early Iron Ages. At this point I’d like to bring to mind the old adage, “Man plans and God laughs”, as we woke up at 5:30am to major rain storms. We couldn’t go on our planned outdoor tour, and everyone was disappointed since it was going to be our first hands-on experience with the material we have been studying. Instead, we had an impromptu, hands-on lesson in pottery typology for those same...

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A Sum Up of My Year in Tel Aviv University’s International Program of Archaeology and History of the Land of the Bible

Posted by on Sep 3, 2015

A Sum Up of My Year in Tel Aviv University’s International Program of Archaeology and History of the Land of the Bible

The school year has just finished, and I’m left reflecting on what a transformative year this has been. Exactly one year ago I was staying with friends (I met on an excavation in Israel!) in an apartment in Amsterdam when I received an email from Tel Aviv University and in an instant my coming year, career and life was changed! I had been admitted into the university’s International Program of Archaeology and History of the Land of the Bible and, with the excitement I can imagine only to be shared with those admitted to Hogwarts. Twelve months later, I am writing this post sitting upon my...

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Digging at Azekah – Summer of 2015

Posted by on Aug 18, 2015

Digging at Azekah – Summer of 2015

So the day had come for me to set out to the Valley of Ellah where legend held that the shepherd boy David fought against the giant Goliath. Although Goliat is long since gone and there are no more giants to fight, the site itself presents a “gigantic” mystery. According to ancient sources, the Assyrians had captured and destroyed the fortified city in 701 BCE. Enigmatically, so far no real evidence of the Assyrian had been found in Azekah. The set out goal for the 2015 expeditions was to try and identify what had been suggested to be a siege ramp, similar to the one that had been exposed...

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Behind the Scenes: an Interview with Prof. Israel Finkelstein

Posted by on Jul 15, 2015

Behind the Scenes: an Interview with Prof. Israel Finkelstein

Prof. Israel Finkelstein is a leading archaeologist who has been active in the field of Biblical archaeology for more than 40 years. He has co-directed the Megiddo excavations since 1994 and has been teaching in the International MA Program since it opened in 2011.  I recently had the pleasure of meeting Prof. Finkelstein and interviewing him about his work as a Biblical archaeologist and as co-director of the Megiddo excavation: You have been active as an archaeologist for over 40 years.  I’d like to talk to you about how the field has changed or remained the same – during...

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Behind the Scenes: an Inteview with Lecturer Ido Koch of the International MA Program in Archaeology

Posted by on Jun 10, 2015

Behind the Scenes: an Inteview with Lecturer Ido Koch of the International MA Program in Archaeology

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Ido Koch, a lecturer in the International MA Program, who has been teaching and escorting its students from its very first year. We chatted about his journey into the archaeological world, his field of study, and his experience teaching our program. Here is a glimpse into our conversation: Congratulations Ido for having just submitted your PhD thesis. Your study has been on the archaeology of the Judean lowlands, you work in the field at Tel Azekah, study and teach archaeology at Tel Aviv University. Do you remember the defining moment...

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The Life and Times of Jerusalem: A Tour to Israel Museum

Posted by on May 28, 2015

The Life and Times of Jerusalem: A Tour to Israel Museum

Our class continues our field trip adventures around Israel to physically see what we are learning in the classroom. This month our field trips have centered on Jerusalem, in connection with our second semester seminar Archaeology of Jerusalem taught by the archaeologist of Jerusalem, Prof. Ronny Reich. In the beginning of this month our class went on a walking tour of old Jerusalem, touring Herodian period houses, and walking the old Roman Cardo; and later this month we went to the Israel Museum to view small finds found in Jerusalem and Israel. Once again our tour guide was the wonderful...

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Tel Avivian Hot Spots for the International Archaeology Student

Posted by on May 20, 2015

Tel Avivian Hot Spots for the International Archaeology Student

If you’re feeling bold enough to venture out onto the streets, beyond the walls of the university, there is a world of history and culture waiting for you in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is known for its overflowing beaches, youthful residents, and edgy nightlife, but the ocean-side metropolis is not only a Mediterranean party hub. Between the coffee houses and beachside clubs, one can find vestiges of Tel Aviv’s long and multifarious history. After enjoying an Israeli breakfast at one of Tel Aviv’s hip cafes, meander your-cappuccino-fueled-self towards an enlightening cultural and historical...

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Alexander, Etruscans and a Field Trip to Beit Shean

Posted by on Apr 13, 2015

Alexander, Etruscans and a Field Trip to Beit Shean

Each month our class of the international program of biblical archaeology and history heads off around the country to see the sites we have been studying in our classes. In the last few weeks of the first semester we immersed ourselves in the ‘later periods’ with our lecturer Meir, who taught us about the Persian Period, the period following the conquest of Babylon by King Cyrus of Persia in 540 BCE, through to the end of the Late Roman Period circa third century CE. For our last trip of the semester there was no better place to go than beautiful Beit Shean in Israel’s north, a site...

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On the Road to Jerusalem’s Historical Past: A Field Trip to the City of David and Ramat Rachel

Posted by on Feb 9, 2015

On the Road to Jerusalem’s Historical Past: A Field Trip to the City of David and Ramat Rachel

The Medieval poet Alain de Lille once coined the famous sentiment “A thousand roads leads men forever to Rome”. If Rome once reflected glory to the ancient world, Jerusalem has dazzled the world for millennia with its eternal past tied to the religious roots of the Jews, Christians and Muslims. It has been conquered, destroyed and rebuilt time and again, and every layer of its ground tells a different story of it´s past.   On the Road to Jerusalem Millions of people over thousands of years have travelled on foot on the roads that lead to Jerusalem. In antiquity the main road to...

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The Divided Kingdom: A Field Trip to Tel Beth Shemesh and Tel Azekah

Posted by on Feb 4, 2015

The Divided Kingdom: A Field Trip to Tel Beth Shemesh and Tel Azekah

On a beautiful Friday, this past December, our group of international archaeology students made history, well… memories of our own! With our lecturer and guide, Dr Omer Sergi, we took to the road and toured archaeological sites that we’ve been studying in our classes. We visited Tel Beth Shemesh, and Tel Azekah in the Shephelah (“the lowlands”), relevant to our studies of Iron Age II (or ‘the Divided Kingdom’ in biblical terms).  We’ve all heard the biblical story of the Divided Kingdom; King Solomon ruled the glorious ‘United’ Kingdom of Israel from Jerusalem, but...

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The International Program at the ASOR Conference

Posted by on Jan 8, 2015

The International Program at the ASOR Conference

Each year around the third week in November the world of Near Eastern archaeology packs its bags and heads to a designated city in the United States to convene, present, consume, discuss, and celebrate research happening worldwide at the annual ASOR (The American Schools of Oriental Research) Conference. It is an international affair. This year the ASOR conference was held in sunny San Diego, California, a desirable place to be in late November. Students from the international program, as well as professors and lecturers from the department, presented their research among a multitude of...

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Living in Tel Aviv, Where East Meets West

Posted by on Dec 8, 2014

Living in Tel Aviv, Where East Meets West

Tel Aviv is a city of wonderful diversity and beautiful contrasts. It is the city where East meets West, old become new, and sandbanks become urban centers. The City is a composite of people of multi-ethnic backgrounds, liberal attitudes and variance of architecture which makes up the unique fabric of Tel Aviv. They say that Istanbul connects the East with the West, but its Ottoman imprint is totally different from the Arabic / Jewish exoticisms of Tel Aviv. Ahead of you the colorful Mediterranean and behind you, the romantic Middle East. Israel as a whole is the full embodiment...

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Studying in the International Program: Laura Farkas Sums Up Her Year

Posted by on Sep 1, 2014

Studying in the International Program: Laura Farkas Sums Up Her Year

When I applied to the program from Hungary, I was excited, but I never expected such a wonderful experience. I landed in Ben Gurion airport in the beginning of October, and after a short Taxi ride through the beautiful city of Tel Aviv, I arrived to the Einstein student dorms, which was my home for the next year, where I was admitted quickly and smoothly. In the flat I met my new roommates from different countries and cultures. On the first day of orientation week we arrived to the beautiful Tel Aviv University Campus, where I first met Prof. Oded Lipschits, the director of the program, the...

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Four and a Half Weeks at Megiddo – A Summer’s Summary 2014

Posted by on Aug 25, 2014

Four and a Half Weeks at Megiddo – A Summer’s Summary 2014

After four and a half weeks at Megiddo, my time here has sadly come to an end; but the memories and the experiences from the excavation will be treasured forever.  This being my first excavation ever, I was uncertain of what to expect. I figured that since I enjoy both the outdoors and archaeology – the excavation will be fun. However, it really was so much more than I could ever have imagined.  There were of course sacrifices that had to be made such as waking up very early and the intense physical labour. These however added to the experience, and in hindsight were even very enjoyable...

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My Top 5 Archaeological Related Experiences at TAU

Posted by on Aug 14, 2014

My Top 5 Archaeological Related Experiences at TAU

It’s been almost two years since I arrived in Tel Aviv in order to pursue an MA in Archaeology of Ancient Near Eastern Cultures. During this time I have trekked near and far throughout Israel, the Middle East, and Europe in pursuit of archaeological knowledge and adventure.  I must admit I am incredibly jealous of those of you who grew up in countries with a documented history older than a handful of centuries. Eastern and Western Europe and the Middle East have been like historical and archaeological playgrounds for me in the past two years and it is hard to choose only five things I’ve...

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