The University of Haifa is establishing the first-of-its-kind School of Archaeology in Israel, which will integrate all archaeological activities and endeavors undertaken by the university—on land and at sea. Prof. Israel Finkelstein, member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and a world-renowned, leading scholar in the study of the ancient Levant will serve as the head the school. “Our main goal is to strengthen further a field that is already quite strong at the University. Establishing the new School of Archaeology and recruiting a renowned scholar such as Prof. Israel Finkelstein is evidence of the strength of the field of archaeology at the University,” said Prof. Gur Alroey, Rector of the university.
The new school was founded with the aim of strengthening and increasing further the extensive archaeological activity that is currently undertaken at the University, and it will include the existing Department of Archaeology and Department of Maritime Civilizations—a unique department in Israel, which focuses on underwater archeological excavations. These departments will be joined by two additional ones, also unique in the Israeli academic scene: the Department of Archaeological Sciences—focusing on the interface between traditional archaeology and knowledge in the disciplines of natural and life sciences, such as the studies of metals, sediments and animal bones—which will award its graduates a bachelor’s or master’s degree in science (MSc or BSc), and the Department of Conservation, Curation and Museology. There are currently programs for either conservation or curatorial and museum studies, but there is no full academic program incorporating all three. These four departments will allow the students to combine courses in different disciplines in the framework of their studies.
As part of the establishment of the School of Archaeology, emphasis will be placed upon strengthening research of the Bronze and Iron Ages and the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods in the Levant, as well as on existing research in the fields of prehistory, the Middle Ages, zooarchaeology and more.
As mentioned, the new school will be headed by Prof. Israel Finkelstein, a world-renowned researcher in the field of Bronze and Iron Ages archaeology of Israel. Finkelstein combines archaeological research with branches of life sciences and exact sciences. “The University of Haifa already has several unique foci of leading archaeological research, and I believe that with the newly established departments we will be able to increase further our academic excellence. Focusing on archaeological sciences and on the study of Mediterranean cultures, along with the anticipated collaboration with the Hecht Museum, we may turn into a unique, leading academic power in archaeological research—in Israel and worldwide,” said Prof. Finkelstein.