News & Upcoming Events
AUGUST 20, 2018
When the programming year at the Albright concludes in May, a new crowd is ushered in with the summer excavation season. A busy period, seemingly every spare nook is converted into space for processing finds, the hostel fills to maximum occupancy on Fridays with weekend dig defectors, and the interns arrive after their exhausting excavations. Summer is a time for the Albright to focus on large projects, and the interns are a vital help. This summer we have five interns in residence.
Two of them, students Elizabeth Dowker and Michael Stewart, were supported by the Biblical Archaeology Society of Northern Virginia (BASONOVA), spending a month at Tel Aviv University’s Megiddo Expedition, and a month in residence at the Albright. BASONOVA provides annual grants to students as part of its mission to invest in the future of biblical archaeology. Dowker and Stewart, as participants in an Albright-affiliated excavation, are now spending an additional internship month at the Albright involved in a variety of projects.
We asked them to reflect on their experiences this summer.
Where and what are you currently studying right now?
Elizabeth Dowker: I am studying at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. I am an Art History major with a minor in Data Science, concentrating in Spatial Information.
Michael Stewart: I am currently an incoming junior studying archaeology at the California State University Sacramento.
How did you become interested in participating in an archaeological dig?
ED: My interest in attending an archaeological dig was stirred through the classics courses I took at William & Mary and through learning about the work of ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives. I was particularly interested in learning about the application of spatial analysis programs such as Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing in archaeology.
MS: I became interested in working on an archaeological dig during my freshman year of college. I had heard stories from many professors of their experiences and when I spoke to one professor about starting a career in archaeology, she recommended that I join a field school.
What was your first impression upon arriving at the excavation?
ED: My first impression of the dig was characterized by the extremely early and long mornings. Waking up at 4 am and conducting manual labor for seven hours was certainly a different experience, but one that I grew accustomed to and even enjoy over the course of the excavation. Additionally, I was struck by the deep interest exhibited by both staff members and students for the region and periods we studied at Megiddo.
MS: My first impression upon arriving to the Tel Megiddo excavation was that I felt like I was somewhere that I belong. I loved how knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful the staff were and the whole student group was great as well.
Any memorable moments?
ED: One particularly memorable moment was finding and then carefully excavating a nearly complete vessel. It was incredibly rewarding to carefully articulate the vessel and to learn how it would be processed in the lab.
A second strong memory is an instance when I realized how applicable GIS is for archaeological analysis. Dr. Adams and Zach Dunseth, the Area S supervisor were discussing the problem of how to find the volume between two layers of loci. Because of my knowledge of GIS, I was able to propose a workflow system that would allow them to efficiently calculate the volume. It was rewarding to realize that knowledge and tools that I gained in a classroom setting could be used to solve real problems facing field archaeologists. I will continue this project in the fall to establish a standardized workflow.
MS: There were many memorable moments from this summer, but some of my favorites have to be getting to know, and working with, my supervisors and Dr. Adams during pottery reading, hiking up Gamla, traveling across Israel with my friends, and the great going away party that the Tel Megiddo team hosted on behalf of all of their volunteers and staff.
Describe what you’re doing at the Albright Institute.
ED: My primary work at the Albright Institute consists of digitizing photos from trips and lectures held at the Albright Institute during the 1980’s. I scan the photographs, then transcribe the associated information into a metadata ED: sheet. The librarians of the Albright will then upload the photographs and information into the Albright’s library system. Afterwards, these photographs can be included on the Albright’s website.
MS: I am currently working on helping the Albright organize and clean up their collection of periodicals for the digitization project as well as doing research for an article that I plan on helping publish.
Had you heard of the Albright Institute? What is your impression and experience of living at AIAR?
ED: Yes, I had learned of the Albright Institute through the website of ASOR. It has been a delightful experience to reside and work at the Albright. Even after three weeks, it’s amazing to realize that I am living in Jerusalem. The evening dinners help form a sense of camaraderie between interns and fellows as we share about our varying research projects. I feel greatly supported and immensely grateful to be living at the Albright.
MS: I had heard about the Albright Institute before through lectures and books, and knew that it was a very well esteemed center of research for Near Eastern Studies. AIAR has left an outstandingly good impression on me during my time here. They have a wonderful library, amazing food, a helpful and kind staff, and provide a top tier environment for academic research.
Plans for the future? Academic or career-wise?
ED: I intend to pursue a career path in spatial data, hopefully in connection to archaeology. Though I do not know in what specific manifestation, I do intend to pursue graduate school shortly after completing my undergraduate studies.
MS: After this summer, I plan on finishing my undergrad at Sacramento State. I also plan on continuing to do field work in Israel in the coming summers as well as moving on to graduate school. After all of that, I hope to start a career in Near Eastern Archaeology.
Any other impressions or comments on your experience this summer?
ED: Middle Eastern cuisine has always been my favorite, so enjoying a summer filled with falafel and hummus has been a delight! I would like to express my deepest gratitude to BASONOVA and to the Albright Institute for their generous support of my work in Israel. My experiences here have helped confirm my interest in working to support archaeological research, particularly that of the Levant. This summer has been an unforgettable experience that will continue to shape my life far afterwards.
MS: This summer in Israel has been one of the most enjoyable experiences in my life and has solidified my plans of moving on to graduate school to start a career in archaeological research. I want to convey my sincere gratitude to BASONOVA and the Albright Institute for taking me in and allowing me to further my education and experience in the field of archaeology. I also want to thank Dr. Adams especially for notifying me of the opportunity and for having me work on a great project this summer.
The W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research is pleased to announce the newest addition to our staff, Aaron Greener. Aaron is joining us as the Program and Office Manager and will develop, coordinate, and produce our annual program of field trips, workshops, lectures, and special events at the Albright. He will also be responsible for our Destination Albright events for groups holding special lectures, dinners, tours, and receptions on premises, and for our Archaeological Services, which include rental of storage, labs, and equipment.
While Aaron is new to our staff, he has been a part of the Albright community for several years. He has held fellowships at the Albright, including a U.S. State Department Educational and Cultural Affairs Fellowship in 2015. He was also the Ernest S. Frerichs Fellow and Program Coordinator for the 2015-2016 academic year, and a 2017-2018 Albright Associate Postdoctoral Fellow. Since 2016 he has been a postdoctoral fellow at the Laboratory for Ground Stone Tools Research at the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa. His research focuses on the study of ground stone tools at Bronze and Iron Age sites, among them the copper production sites in the Timna Valley and at Tel Megiddo East. Aaron completed his Ph.D. at the Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology Department at Bar-Ilan University about imported pottery during the Late Bronze Age. During his studies, he spent a year as an associate member at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. He has participated in and staffed many excavations in Israel including at Tel ‘Eton and the Timna Valley. He is also involved in educational archaeology endeavors for children and popular audiences (www.digthepast.org).
MARCH 9, 2018
The William F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem is pleased to announce the winner of the seventeenth annual competition for the Sean W. Dever Memorial Prize. This award offers $650 for the best published article or paper presented at a conference by a Ph.D. candidate in Syro-Palestinian or Biblical Archaeology. Authors may be of any nationality but the article or paper must be in English.
The winner this year is the paper by Andrew Burlingame, a PhD candidate in Northwest Semitic Philology in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. His paper—“Line Five of the Amman Citadel Inscription: History of Interpretation and a New Proposal”—was published in the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 376 (2016): 63–82.
The Sean W. Dever Prize was established in 2001 by Mrs. Norma Dever and Professor William G. Dever, in memory of their son Sean.
Leah Rae Alexander, librarian of the Albright from 1983-1985, passed away Saturday, August 19th. She is survived by her husband Edward, her children Rebecca and David and their families, including grandson Philip, and great granddaughter Adalynn.
Sy Gitin, former director of the Albright said “I have only the fondest memories of her and the time she spent as the Albright librarian. She was not only a much appreciated Albright staff member, who made a truly significant contribution to the organization of the library, but a good personal friend.”
The Albright sends our deepest condolences to her husband and family. Her obituary as published in The Seattle Times can be found here.
Donations in Leah’s memory may be made to Medic One, Jewish National Fund, and the Elisabeth C. Miller Library at UW Botanic Gardens.
Johns Hopkins University-AIAR Undergraduate Archaeological Fellowship: Invaluable Experience in the Field and in the Lab
AUGUST 17, 2017
Elana Neher will be entering her sophomore year at Johns Hopkins University this fall with a summer of archaeological experience under her belt. Neher was awarded the Johns Hopkins University-Albright Institute Undergraduate Archaeological Fellowship to spend this summer on an archaeological excavation in Israel, followed by a one month internship at the Albright. Neher first participated in the Jezreel Valley Regional Project’s archaeological field school at the Legionary Base of the Roman VIth Legion at Legio, Megiddo. Moving to the Albright following the dig, Neher and the JVRP/AIAR Summer Intern Matthew Vineyard began work assisting MA student Christina Olson, cataloging the mysterious baskets of archaeological material from the deepest corners of the Albright attic, excavated last summer by Olson. In preparation for replacing the roof this summer, it was time to conduct this meta excavation.
“I definitely want to be an archaeologist,” Neher said. “When I found out I got the fellowship I was so excited. I have met so many people in the field and learned about the different paths you can take within the field. It was beneficial to both dig at Legio and then come to the Albright afterwards for all the work that goes on after an excavation–the analysis. It was also exciting to be in the country for so long.” Neher declared an archaeology major at Johns Hopkins this past spring.
The relationship between Johns Hopkins University and the Albright Institute goes all the way back to William Foxwell Albright himself, who served as director of the “Jerusalem School” for two terms, from 1920 to 1929 and again from 1933 to 1936. During his second term, Albright alternated semesters with his professorship at Johns Hopkins (King 1983: 86), where he had also completed his doctorate in 1916 (King 1983: 52).
Trustee Bjorn Lindgren and his wife Beverly funded the fellowship, investing in Neher’s career goals and in the Albright’s mission to promote the study of the Near East. We hope our friends will consider investing similarly in the Albright, ensuring we continue to be a resource for a new generation of promising scholars.
Director Matthew Adams said, “For undergraduates to be able to come and spend time in a high level academic research scenario gives them a preview of the academic world. For many like Elana it’s an essential part of her career development to get experience at this stage. I think she’ll be leaving here with renewed excitement about her career choice.”
King, Philip J. American Archaeology in the Mideast: A History of the American Schools of Oriental Research. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1983.
The Biblical Archaeology Society of Northern Virginia (BASONOVA) and Biblical Archaeology Forum (BAF) sponsored student Matthew Vineyard, who was selected for the Jezreel Valley Regional Project/Albright Institute Summer Internship. He began by participating in an excavation, and then took up residence at the Albright for the slightly less dusty phase of the internship.
Vineyard is an undergraduate at The College at Brockport, State University of New York, and spent his summer digging at the third season of excavations at the base of the Roman VIth Legion at Legio, near Tel Megiddo. He’s currently at the Albright for his one-month internship, helping to process finds post-excavation, getting involved with various other projects at the Institute, visiting nearby archaeological sites and museums, and rubbing shoulders with senior scholars in residence at the Institute. We are happy to have him here and grateful to BASONOVA and BAF for their generous support!
BASONOVA provides annual grants to archaeology students, to help defray the cost of their participation in an overseas dig and “invest in the future of biblical archaeology.”
The W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research is pleased to announce fellowship recipients for next academic year 2017-2018. Congratulations to all!
Seymour Gitin Distinguished Professors:
Andrea Berlin, Boston University, “Beyond the Temple: Jewish Material Life from the Maccabees to the Revolt”
David Graf, University of Miami, “The History of the Nabataeans: Rome’s Arabian Client-Kingdom”
Frerichs Annual Professors:
Steven Fine, Yeshiva University, “A Carrousel of Color: Polychromy in Jewish Visual Culture in Late Antiquity”
Cynthia Shafer-Elliott, William Jessup University, “Household Archaeology at Tell Halif”
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellows:
Aaron Brody, Pacific School of Religion & Graduate Theological Union, “The Material Religion of Judean Households: Contextual Analyses of Ritual Objects from Iron II Tell en-Nasbeh”
Rangar Cline, University of Oklahoma, “Sacred Travel in the Roman Empire and the Making of Christian Pilgrimage”
Megan Nutzman, Old Dominion University, “Asclepius and Elijah: Ritual Healing in Roman and Late Antique Palestine”
Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Fellows:
Alex Brey, Bryn Mawr College, “The Caliph’s Prey: Hunting in the Visual Cultures of the Umayyad Empire”
Andrew Henry, Boston University, “Lord Have Mercy!: Liturgical Acclamations and Demonological Protection in Late Antiquity”
Ian Jones, University of California, San Diego, “Sugar Production and the Political Economy of the Southern Levant during the Ayyubid Period”
George A. Barton Fellow:
Michael Johnson, McMaster University, “Reexamining the Reconstruction of 1QHodayota Digitally: A Computer-Aided Reconstruction of the Placement of Fragment 10 in Column 7”
Lydie T. Shufro Summer Research Fellow:
Noah Kaye, Indiana University, “Defining the Boundary: Public Property in Hellenistic Gezer”
Carol and Eric Meyers Doctoral Dissertation Fellow:
Daniel Waller, University of Groningen, “The Poetry of Magic: The Aramaic Incantation Bowls and the Late Antique Religious Imagination”
Marcia and Oded Borowski Research Fellow:
Geoffrey Ludvik, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “Production and Trade of Carnelian Beads in the Southern Levant: Comparing the EB IV/MB I and the MB II”
Glassman Holland Research Fellow:
Christopher Hale, British School at Athens, Knossos, “The Late Bronze Age to Iron I Pottery from Tell es-Safi/Gath, Area A”
Noble Group Fellow:
Hualong Mei, Harvard University, “Continuity and Discontinuity: Terminology and Conceptions of International Relations in the Levant in the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age”
ASOR’s William G. Dever Fellowship for Biblical Scholars:
Katherine Shaner, Wake Forest University
Johns Hopkins-AIAR Undergraduate Archaeological Fellowship:
Elana Neher, Johns Hopkins University
AIAR-JVRP Digital Archaeology Fellow:
Adam Prins, Durham University, “Establishing a Digital Archaeology Lab at the Albright Institute”
We are thrilled to announce that the Albright Institute just received a National Endowment for the Humanities “Fellowship Programs at Independent Research Institutions” Grant. The grant of $191,400 provides fourteen fellowship months per year for three years, plus selection costs, maintaining our current NEH funding through the 2021 fiscal year.
NEH-supported fellowships are a vital resource for community and programming at the Albright Institute, and due to their rank and scholarly achievement, these fellows become leaders within the community as models of scholarship. Selected by a rotating independent committee, NEH awardees infuse the fellowship community with fresh ideas that help to raise the standards of scholarship and level of innovation at the Institute, add diversity and richness to the program, and their research tends to reflect broader trends in the development of scholarship. These are the fellows that the Albright trusts will have significant impact in the fields of archaeology, anthropology, history, art history, and cultural heritage studies.
NEH-funded “Fellowship Programs at Independent Research Institutions” support qualified centers and institutions to offer NEH fellowships in the humanities. Scholars can pursue their research while benefiting from the center’s special resources or its location abroad and the collegial association with other fellows. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.
The William F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem is pleased to announce the winner of the sixteenth annual competition for the Sean W. Dever Memorial Prize. This award offers $650 for the best published article or paper presented at a conference by a Ph.D. candidate in Syro-Palestinian or Biblical Archaeology. Authors may be of any nationality but the article or paper must be in English.
The winner this year is Liat Naeh, a Ph.D. candidate at The Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her paper—“In Search of Identity: The Contribution of Recent Finds to Our Understanding of Iron Age Ivory Objects in the Material Culture of the Southern Levant”—was published in Altorientalische Forschungen 42/1: 80–96 (2015).
The Sean W. Dever Prize was established in 2001 by Mrs. Norma Dever and Professor William G. Dever, in memory of their son Sean.
We, the undersigned, represent learned societies whose members include archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, linguists, and cultural heritage specialists, as well as public members whose professional expertise lies in other domains. On behalf of these societies and our members, we write to voice our opposition to the US Executive Order, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” issued on January 27, 2017. This Executive Order, among other things, suspends the entry of immigrant and nonimmigrant citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen into the United States for at least ninety days. The Executive Order also indicates that additional countries may be recommended for similar treatment.
Many of our organizations count among their members individuals who come from countries affected by, or potentially affected by, this Executive Order. Our members across the globe, moreover, have innumerable friends and colleagues in these countries. Our societies want only the warmest and most heartfelt hospitality to be extended to these friends and colleagues when they come to the United States, just as our organizations’ US members, and members elsewhere, have been extended warm and heartfelt hospitality in their time in the countries in question.
We are thus profoundly concerned by policies that might undermine our friendships and collegial relationships. Indeed, and to the contrary, we emphatically and unreservedly affirm that among our core values is the conviction that personal and cultural engagement and exchanges among all of our organizations’ members and affiliates — including members, colleagues, and friends in the United States and members, colleagues, and friends in the countries affected by the Executive Order — are of inestimable benefit in promoting peaceful relations in our often troubled world.
Moreover, we affirm our unwavering conviction that the worldwide community of archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, linguists, and cultural heritage specialists who work together in countries such as Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen are among those global ambassadors best able to promote understanding, mutual respect, and relationships of true well-being among our many nations.
In short, we assert that security and safety for all concerned can flow from the alliances and goodwill that our members and affiliates have cultivated in our many years of working together as friends and colleagues throughout the world. We seek policies that, instead of setting the United States at odds with whole citizenries in the Middle East and Africa, will foster among these nations the partnerships and collaborations that we hold so dear, and we thus add our voices to the many others urging the US government to articulate policies consistent with these values.
President, American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR)
President, Society for American Archaeology
President, W. F. Albright Institute for Archaeological Research
President, Archaeological Institute of America (AIA)
Chair of the Managing Committee, American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA)
President, American Anthropological Association
We’re happy to announce that the “Albright Live” YouTube channel is up and running! You’ll now be able to tune in live to selected workshops and lectures.
Your support during the Director’s House Challenge helps us make initiatives like this happen! Making the scholarship coming out of the Albright available to a wider audience is central to our mission. Give to the Director’s House Challenge today!
We closed 2016 with the soft opening of the Director’s House, with two days of Levantine Ceramics Project (LCP) workshops hosted by LCP Editor and Albright Trustee Andrea Berlin of Boston University. The first day focused on “Petro-fabrics of the Southern Levant: Soils, Clays, and Marls” and the second on “Wares and Shapes of the Persian period (6th-4th c. BCE) in Israel.” Dr. Berlin described two goals for the workshops: “to work towards better definitions and descriptions of local wares of the Persian period, and second, to add this information, along with drawings and photographs of specific examples, to the LCP. In the end we hope for a more refined and detailed view of the ceramic landscape in the Persian period.” The participants, leading ceramics experts, discussed and debated (sometimes vigorously), and ultimately worked together with great success.
The Levantine Ceramics Project (LCP) is a collaborative venture of archaeologists working on Levantine ceramics of all eras—from the Neolithic era (c. 5500 B.C.E.) through the Ottoman period (c. 1920). Periodic workshops are an integral component of the project. The LCP website is a digital resource where anybody can submit and find information about wares, shapes, specific vessels, scientific analyses, kiln sites, and chronology. The goal of LCP is “to build a robust digital tool that will make available an enormous data set, link scholars, and foster research throughout this vital region,” according to the LCP website. The workshops allow LCP contributors to present new discoveries and discuss issues in common. Workshops are always open to all scholars, students, and anybody interested in the study of Levantine pottery.
This article is as much about the success of the LCP workshops as about the Director’s House as a physical space conducive to collaboration. Dr. Berlin concurs: “The space is wonderful! Big enough so that everybody felt comfortable, but not so big that we felt like we were rattling around.” Adam Prins, in addition to his appointment as the AIAR-JVRP Digital Archaeology Fellow this year, served as a consultant for the technological features of the new space. He agreed that “the DH was the perfect venue; the lecture space allowed for hands-on work with vessels spread out on tables, as well as ongoing presentations and reference materials on the projector in the background. Everyone seemed at home in the new space and really took advantage of it.”
The DH features a completely renovated audiovisual system with state-of-the-art recording and presentation capabilities. The official grand opening of the DH will be next week on Thursday, January 12th. Robert Homsher, an Educational and Cultural Affairs Fellow this year, will present a workshop on his research at the Albright: “Climate Change and Late Bronze Age Transitions: Reassessing the Data.” We plan to live-stream the lecture for the benefit of our friends and colleagues abroad. “Live-streaming will allow us to expand our reach and allow students and scholars abroad access to the scholarship coming out of the Albright,” said Director Matthew Adams. Details to come.
To support these developments and this moment in the Albright’s history, do consider making a gift to the Director’s House Challenge, in any amount. We’ve been lucky to receive the support of our friends, alumni, trustees, and staff on our way to matching the major gift of Trustee Bjorn Lindgren and his wife Beverly. This year, we will celebrate our 117th birthday. As they say, “’til 120” (at least)!
OCTOBER 7th, 2016
It is our great pride to announce that work has commenced at the Albright on several projects that will benefit our program and mission for years to come. Thanks to the generous gift of Trustee Bjorn Lindgren and his wife Beverly, we will be adding 3,600 square feet of space with the reacquisition of the Director’s House, as well as making improvements to the quality of life in the residence facility. These projects mark the first phase of a year-long campaign to make major headway on upgrading the Albright’s facilities.
For 30 years, the southern building of the Albright facility has been rented out for supplementary income. Known as the “Director’s House” (DH), it had been home to the institute’s directors since opening in 1930. Recovering this building is the beginning of some major improvements to the Albright’s offerings for fellows and the greater community of scholars that we serve. The building is in excellent condition and is essentially ready for use, with a few infrastructure fixes. It is a beautiful, romantic building, with a grand stone entrance, art deco tiled balconies, arched doorways, high ceilings, and a working fireplace. The spacious lower level will be converted to our new Event Space, including lecture and conference facilities, as well as a reception area, and , increasing our entertaining and programing capacity threefold. Apartments will comprise the upper floor.
The Albright Institute now needs the help of our loyal Alumni and long-time friends to fund the remainder of the project. The first phase as detailed above is already totally funded by the Lindgrens. Their generosity has jump-started this entire campaign and put all the dreaming and planning into action. All the new upgraded space means we need furniture and other functional items to fill it and get it ready for our programming. The “Director’s House Challenge” will hopefully get us there!
We and the Lindgrens invite all those who support our mission to give, with the goal of matching their major gift. A range of small gifts at your level of ability will help us reach this amount. Can you give $30? We need your gift! The Albright, under one name or another, has been in Jerusalem for 116 years, through three different regimes. It is striking to think how many people have passed through the gates. It is the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were viewed for the first time, where monks are buried in the yard; and the Third Wall of Jerusalem runs under the lawn.
The Albright is unique in Jerusalem. The property and building were dedicated for an American archaeology institute, and is one of the only buildings in Jerusalem of a similar age that has had the same purpose and function from inception to the present. We feel a tremendous responsibility towards preserving our longevity and to caring for the facility and property. These projects help to ensure that we bring the Albright into its future. By making them a priority, we ensure many more years of excellence in carrying out our mission to engage in and facilitate research on the history and cultures of the Near East, to document and preserve evidence from the ancient world as a cultural resource, and to educate the public about the history and cultures of the region.
by Sarah Fairman SEPTEMBER 20, 2016
The fellows have arrived in Jerusalem at the Albright Institute for the Fall 2016 semester. With their orientation last Thursday with the director, the programming year has officially begun. In the first weeks, the fellows will visit other area institutions, including the École Biblique et Archéologique Française and the Rockefeller Museum, Archives, and Library. The program of field trips will begin in October with a visit to Megiddo and other sites in the Jezreel Valley, also known as Marj Ibn Amer.
The fall fellows have traveled here by plane, perhaps with a layover or two, from the United States, China, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
In 1907, how did the appointees get to Jerusalem? It was the year that the permit or firman was finally granted by the Ottoman government for the establishment of an American institute in the Turkish Empire, and seven years after Charles C. Torrey, the first resident director at the Jerusalem School stopped in Constantinople en route to Jerusalem for his first (unsuccessful) attempt to secure the firman (King 1983: 29). And it was one year before a large plot of land would be purchased as a permanent location for the institute (King 1983: 43), the same plot where the Albright Institute is located today.
A handwritten and unpublished trips journal from the academic year of 1907-1908 tells us about those long journeys to reach the institute. The record keeper writes of the director at the time, Francis Brown and the students traveling for a month just to arrive in Jerusalem. This very same week, 109 years ago, the director was climbing Mt. Hermon en route to Jerusalem. From an entry dated October 3rd, 1907, the record keeper tells us:
“Professor Francis Brown, the director, arrived in Beirut on July 30th, travelling by way of Constantinople. On August 2nd he went to ‘Aleih, departing thence for Shumlan on the 10th. At Shumlan he remained till September 23rd, with the exception of the days September 11th to 20th, which days were devoted to an ascent of Mt. Hermon.”
Following Shumlan, the record keeper tells us that Brown met three students in Beirut: Benjamin Willard Robinson, Thayer Fellow, 1907-1908; Harold Harrison Tryon, Fellow of Union Theological Seminary, 1906-1908; and Murray Scott Frame, Fellow of Union Theological Seminary, 1907-1909. From there, the director seems to have continued his journey to Jerusalem alone, with the students left to their own devices, traveling via train, boat, and finally horseback:
“On the 25th of September the director set forth by carriage to Sidon, continuing his journey thence on horseback along the coast to Jaffa. He arrived in Jaffa on October 1st, and in Jerusalem on October 2nd. On the 25th of September Messrs. Robinson, Tryon, and Frame started for Jerusalem by way of Damascus. Their journey as far as Samakh was by rail. They arrived in Baalbek on the 25th, in Damascus on the 26th, and in Samakh on the 29th. From Samakh they took boat to Tiberias where they spent the night of the 29th. They rode from Tiberias to Nazareth by way of Mt. Tabor on September 30th. At Nazareth horses were secured for the three days ride to Jerusalem. They arrived in Jenin on October 1st, in Nablus, by way of Sebastiyeh, on the 2nd, and in Jerusalem on the 3rd.”
After such arduous journeys, “[t]he first days in Jerusalem were devoted chiefly to recuperating from the journey, to correspondence, and to desultory walks.”
We will follow this cast of characters throughout the year, including their camps, wadi crossings, and encounters in a land that was vastly different than the 2016 fellows will experience it today. We have been working on the program of field trips, conferences, and workshops and will publish it online shortly, and we look forward to seeing both familiar and new faces as the programming year begins!
King, Philip J. American Archaeology in the Mideast: A History of the American Schools of Oriental Research. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1983.
We are delighted to share that Sharon Herbert, President of the Albright Institute’s Board of Trustees, has been honored with a Distinguished Professorship at the University of Michigan. This is one of the university’s top honors and is a great tribute to Sharon’s many accomplishments within and beyond the university. We congratulate her on this well-deserved recognition.
The University of Michigan’s Distinguished Professorships, established in 1947, recognize full professors for exceptional scholarly or creative achievement, national and international reputation, and superior teaching skills.
Read more about the award here.
The William F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem is pleased to announce the winner of the fifteenth annual competition for the Sean W. Dever Memorial Prize. This award offers $650 for the best published article or paper presented at a conference by a Ph.D. candidate in Syro-Palestinian or Biblical Archaeology. Authors may be of any nationality but the article or paper must be in English.
The winner this year is the paper by Shlomit Bechar, a PhD candidate in the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Her paper—“A Reanalysis of the Black Wheel-Made Ware of the Intermediate Bronze Age”—was published in Tel Aviv 42 (2015): 27–58.
The Sean W. Dever Prize was established in 2001 by Mrs. Norma Dever and Professor William G. Dever, in memory of their son Sean.
FEBRUARY 16th, 2016
By Sarah Fairman
“I think any of you could go home today and do this.”
So Adam Prins challenged those present at his seminar last week, “3D Models in Archaeological Excavation Recording: The JVRP Method.” After his elegant and accessible explanation, the participants seemed to agree. The seminar was the inaugural event in what Director Matthew Adams envisions as an ongoing series devoted to digital archaeology and current trends in that field.
Prins emphasized the accessibility of the technology known as “structure from motion” already being used by several archaeological projects around the world. His focus was the specific methodology developed by the Jezreel Valley Regional Project (JVRP), which produces millimeter-accurate photo-realistic 3D models for each locus/context, nimbly and ingeniously replacing traditional analog documentation. There were palpable murmurs of awe from the crowd when Prins demonstrated the process of turning photographs into an interactive 3D model. Prins explained that the methodology “applies to anything on any scale,” including artifacts. One could make models of sherds, for example, and use the program to “cut” them right down the middle to get the shape and other identifying characteristics.
Prins is currently finishing up his PhD at Durham University in the Archaeology and Geography departments focusing on the applications and development of Lidar and other 3D technologies for archaeology in the Jezreel Valley.
There are clear benefits to using this methodology instead of traditional drawing. Prins illustrated this with a side-by-side comparison of a 3D rendering of a wall with one produced by an artist. “Drawing is subjective, whereas 3D models are objective; we often draw something how we want to see it,” said Prins. These alterations are made unconsciously, but do compromise accuracy; the brain predicts how a wall is supposed to look, perhaps manifesting in an idealized version.
Photogrammetry avoids these issues by virtue of the camera’s relative objectivity. It also allows for views, angles and layouts that one would never otherwise be able to record in a visually coherent way. Prins showed us a 3D model of a cave to illustrate the ease with which this methodology ameliorated this problem; a cave is a form that is inherently difficult to record. Furthermore, creating a model at each stage of excavation shows the process, and exactly how the archaeologist chose to excavate the site. Integration with other excavation data is seamless. Information can be shared easily; one can produce files of about 10MB in size and send to anyone for a quick opinion, or at-a-glance consultation. Applications to other emergent technologies are self-evident. The didactic and research possibilities are endless. One archaeologist in attendance, long-since retired from field work, praised the methodology while lamenting “I am very sad at the same time, as I see what could have been done.”
Only a few tools are needed: a digital camera, total station or GPS (important for producing spatially-aware images), color scale, photogrammetry targets (for scale and automatic georectifying), Agisoft Photoscan Pro, and a decent computer. Costs are relatively low.
People had questions. “Why are there no scale rulers?” (Automatic georectifying eliminates need for scale rulers in photographs). “What about the shadows from the tents?” (Early morning is best time to photograph. Indeed, shadows can be a problem, but the software and an Adobe Lightroom workflow evens out problematic parts of the images). “Can you use the models for 3D printing?” (Yes!) The exciting possibilities seem to outweigh the concern. Any technology has issues, but also many smart people to work on fixing them! Already a “convinced believer” in photogrammetry, Dr. Ignacio Arce, who attended the seminar, praised the “open-source, user-friendly approach.”
It is clear that the methodology has a big-picture benefit as well. “As archaeologists we are increasingly aware of the destructive nature and fragility of our fieldwork. Attempts to mitigate these challenges must come in the form of methodological innovation,” said Prins. “Structure from motion”-based methods are especially prescient in a time of great uncertainty in the archaeologically loaded swaths of land in the Middle East, where sites are either destroyed, threatened, or inaccessible. The more people that use the method–thereby adding georectified data–the healthier and more robust the database will become; thus the more we protect our cultural heritage (see: Million Image Database).
Prins will be publishing a step-by-step method in the JVRP’s White Papers in Archaeological Technology online series in the coming weeks. Director Adams is a proponent of access to information for the sake of progress: “There are many archaeological projects out there developing similar methods. We believe that freely sharing the ‘how-to’ methods we develop can help others, and we hope that other projects will do the same so that we can all benefit from advances in archaeological method.”
In the same vein, Director Adams is pushing the Albright’s events as a viable teaching opportunity. “There’s much value in the workshops and lectures as instructional and interactive, and not merely a presentation or summary of what one is researching. The exchange of information is important, especially in a project like this, where the more people that adopt and use it, the more there are benefits for the entire enterprise. We’re happy to be among those doing the latest cutting-edge things so that we can all share this information and improve together.”
Director Adams is looking ahead; he hopes in the not-too-far future to establish a digital archaeology laboratory at the Albright.
BY SY GITIN
I suppose when most of us think of Trude Dothan, we remember her many contributions to the field of Israeli archaeology, especially her excavations at Athienou, Deir el-Balaḥ, and Tel Miqne-Ekron, and her ground-breaking publications on the Philistines. As for me, it’s Trude’s more personal nature that I recall, her friendship, her ability to relate to people, and her sense of humor.
I first became acquainted with Trude more than 55 years ago, and it was by accident, and I mean that literally. It happened when I was a student auditing courses in Hebrew literature and archaeology at the Hebrew University in 1959/60. As I heard that there was an archaeologist teaching an introductory course on pottery, a subject in which I was interested, I decided to sit in on that course. And so I came to the long seminar room at the old Institute of Archaeology on the Givat Ram campus, and took a seat at the end of the table. The teacher turned out to be Trude, who began the class by describing the character of Iron Age pottery types, and in the process, she started to throw sherds to each student sitting around the table. All of a sudden a sherd came flying my way, hit my head, and left a slight dent in my forehead. At that point, I decided that the study of pottery was too dangerous and immediately left the room, never to return again. Little did I suspect that 29 years later, when I had returned to Israel and took a position at the Albright Institute, Trude and I would meet again and decide to co-direct the excavations at Tel Miqne-Ekron.
During the next 30 years or so of working closely together with Trude at Miqne and on our publications, I came to appreciate Trude’s knowledge, experience, and the particular way in which she would try to win one of our ongoing archaeological arguments. It happened that I had excavated previously at Tel Gezer, which you could see off in the distance to the northeast of Tel Miqne.
During the pottery reading sessions at the dig, Trude and I would often argue about the identification and dating of a sherd, and for the most part, we either eventually agreed or agreed to disagree. However, when it came to identifying a sherd that I thought was Late Bronze Age and she thought was Iron Age, Trude would point to Tel Gezer and state emphatically, “Nu, Sy, BE’EMET, at Gezer that may have been Late Bronze, but at Miqne, it is Iron Age I.” Of course, Trude was delighted when it turned out to be Late Bronze, as one of the reasons she came to Miqne was in hope of finding the Late Bronze-to-Iron I transition in Philistia.
Trude also had a peculiar way of dealing with matters that she didn’t want to deal with. During the course of the dig, we had purchased an old VW van, and we did it in Trude’s name, as it was simply more convenient. As Trude didn’t have a driver’s license and in any case, didn’t know how to drive, on the weekends our major domo would take the vehicle home with him. After the dig, we sold the van and the following year I received a strange phone call from Moshe Dothan, who told me that he was looking through one of the desk drawers in the study he shared with Trude, and found more than 40 parking tickets in Trude’s name that were quite old and had accumulated over a long period of time. He had asked Trude about them, but since she didn’t drive and had no idea what they were, she had merely put them away in the drawer. Well, it turned out that our major domo had illegally parked on the weekends that he drove the van, and never told us about the tickets. As the car was in Trude’s name, and the tickets hadn’t been paid, the MISRAD HATACHBURAH eventually tracked down Trude, the owner of the car, and she was instructed to come to an office in Rehovot to pay for the tickets. At Moshe’s and my insistence, Trude went there and explained that she was not the guilty party, since she couldn’t even drive.
As only Trude could do, she managed to convince the PAKID in charge that she didn’t have to pay the accumulated amount of the tickets and the accompanying huge fine, and only paid a small penalty.
Trude and I often took turns lecturing at the various universities in the United States that supported the Miqne project. The year following Trude’s lecture at Lehigh Valley University, it was my turn to speak. My host had organized the lecture in a large hall, and when I entered the hall, I was pleased to find a full house, with people even sitting in the aisles because all of the seats had been taken—except for those in the first two rows, which were empty. I asked my host if these rows were reserved for special guests, and he replied no. They were empty because when they heard there was to be another lecture on the excavations at Tel Miqne, they remembered that in the first lecture, there was a woman who used a long sharp stick to point out features on the screen, and in the process of waving that stick around, literally wiped out the first two rows in the auditorium.
Yes, Trude had her own way about her, and there were so many shared experiences that reflect her unique nature, her joy of life, her infectious enthusiasm, and her passion for her work. Another member of the Israeli pantheon of archaeologists has left us, one who has had a profound impact on her family, her students, her colleagues, and her friends. And to Dani, Uri, and the Dothan family, you should know that Trude will be sorely missed. And as for me, I shall have lost an endearing partner whose presence will ever be with me, especially in the work to come in our joint Miqne publications.
May her memory be blessed.
YEHI ZICHRAH BARUCH
Sy Gitin is the Dorot Director Emeritus of the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research. He gave this eulogy at Trude Dothan’s funeral on January 31st, 2016.
It is our sad duty to report that Trude Dothan, Professor Emeritus at Hebrew University, passed away peacefully in her sleep last night. She co-directed 14 seasons of excavations at Tel Miqne-Ekron with Albright Director Emeritus Seymour Gitin, and was a Senior Associate Fellow at the Albright.
She was a good friend to the Albright. We send our condolences to her family.
Information about funeral arrangements will be forthcoming; check our Facebook page for an update.
It is with great sadness that we report the death of our longtime trustee and honorary trustee, Kevin O’Connell. He was totally committed to the Albright and its mission, and he will be missed by all of us who knew him.
He died peacefully at the Campion Center in Weston, MA.
His obituary can be found here.
We are thrilled to announce the gift of $15,000 from Bjorn and Beverly Lindgren of Houston, Texas. We are humbled by and grateful for their generosity and support!
The Lindgren’s contribution will allow us to complete crucial security improvements to the Albright property. Their enthusiasm for the Albright’s mission is admirable, and critical for our ongoing operations.
If you’ve already contributed, we send our sincere thanks. Every gift, no matter the size, helps us further our mission in support of excellent scholarship. If you have not yet done so, please join us in our commitment to this unique educational institution. If you benefited from your fellowship or connection to the Albright, why not give back? Congress has just passed the year-end tax and budget deal which extends IRA charitable rollover retroactively for 2015. You have until December 31st to make a tax-free contribution to the Albright from your IRA. Please take advantage!
The Annual Program at the Albright sets us apart as an institution. Fellowships are enhanced by a varied and high-level schedule of field trips, lectures, and workshops, allowing fellows to engage a wide range of experts and scholars.
Ever since the founding of the Institute in 1900, field trips and lectures have been a major part of the program. In his day, William Foxwell Albright himself would lead the fellows into the countryside to explore the world of the Bible. Many of these trips resulted in major survey, excavation, and research projects, as they continue to do today.
Small contributions make a big difference at the Albright. This year, we began a phased plan to subsidize the Resident Fellows’ field trip program. Fellows who come to study at the Albright have the major advantage of location, and we want our fellows to benefit from this proximity to sites and experts. Check out photos from some of the recent trips in our Facebook photo albums.
Many of you have benefited from the Albright program over the years. Now is your chance to secure that experience for the next generation of Albright Fellows.
As 2015 comes to a close, the Albright wishes you a happy upcoming new year! For 115 years, the Institute has provided students and scholars with an unparalleled international program that spans the broad spectrum of Ancient Near Eastern Studies. Now in the second century of its mission, the Institute seeks to modernize its research and residence facilities in service of its growing fellowship program and cutting-edge research.
Thanks to your generosity, this year we have succeeded in implementing several projects that will benefit the Albright and its mission for years to come. JSTOR is now available for residents, supplementing our existing library collection with more than 3200 electronic journal titles. We began work on our new outdoor archaeological laboratory, and renovated our on-campus family apartment. We are looking forward to another great year, and have high hopes of accomplishing even more with your help!
The gift you make today will support several of 2016’s initiatives. The library is implementing a new state-of-the-art online catalog and discovery system in March, which promises to make the the Albright among the most advanced research libraries in the region. Several major facilities upgrades are in the works including a new energy-efficient heating system for the entire facility, a much-needed new roof for the library and resident building, and imperative additions to the Institute security.
Whether you’re a former fellow, future fellow, or enthusiast for research and education, the knowledge generated by the Albright Institute’s Fellowship Program benefits all.
With best wishes for all Albright Alumni and Supporters in the new year,
Matthew J. Adams
Director, W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research
NOV. 9, 2015
Our annual program of workshops, lectures, field trips, and evenings with guest scholars is now available for download here.
Many thanks to Program Coordinator Aaron Greener for his efforts towards putting together what we hope will be a great year!
Dorot Director Emeritus Seymour Gitin Publishes First Two Volumes of Comprehensive Corpus of Ceramic Forms
NOV. 5, 2015
Dorot Director Emeritus Seymour Gitin is pleased to announce the publication of the two-volume work The Ancient Pottery of Israel and Its Neighbors from the Iron Age through the Hellenistic Period. He is editor of and contributor to what will be a four volume “ceramic bible” for archaeological and historical research in the countries of the eastern Mediterranean basin. Volumes covering the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods and the Bronze Age are currently in preparation.
These first two volumes offer a comprehensive corpus of ceramic forms and their typological development, organized according to period, geographical region, and cultural tradition. The focus of each chapter is on the most characteristic pottery types and decorative motifs selected from a wide range of sites. Unique in scope, this publication presents a wide range of ceramic types accompanied by specially prepared pottery plates and color photos illustrating thousands of forms. A classic reference work, it serves as an essential resource for archaeologists and other scholars and students of ancient Near Eastern studies.
This work is sponsored by the Israel Exploration Society, the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, the Israel Antiquities Authority, and the American Schools of Oriental Research.
Orders can be made through the Israel Exploration Society with this form.
NOV. 4, 2015
Dorot Director Matthew J. Adams will give the keynote address at the XIIth Annual International Conference for Professionals in Cultural Heritage at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. The conference is an annual, international event for professionals in the cultural heritage and advanced technologies sectors: museum professionals, librarians, archivists, audio-visual developers, architects, lawyers, cultural policy makers, plastic and performing artists working in the digital realm.
The organizers of the conference had seen Adams and two of his longtime colleagues, Michael Ashley and Adam Prins, of the Center for Digital Archaeology (CoDA) and the Jezreel Valley Regional Project (JVRP), respectively, give a presentation over the summer on digital archaeological methods employed in their excavations of the legionary base of the Roman VIth Legion at Legio. In the presentation, Adams and Ashley demonstrated Codifi, a new database system for cultural resource management and research, a collaborative development effort between CoDA and JVRP. Also highlighted in the presentation was a new method for 3D documentation of archaeological contexts and the creation manipulable models of millimeter accuracy. When integrated with Codifi, three-dimensional digital context recordings are highly interactive and conducive to interpretive work. Codifi is designed to facilitate archaeology and research at the site level and on a regional scale, managing data from hundreds of sites.
Any good technological development facilitates the wider availability of and accessibility to information, is widely applicable across disciplines, and helps humans do things better. “The digitization of resources and the challenges related to it is a serious issue in cultural heritage,” says Adams. “Archaeology is already inherently multidisciplinary, so even though we’re developing Codifi in that context, it has applications for libraries, archives, museums, cultural resource management. It’s very exciting.” Adams explored this idea of archaeology as the “ultimate discipline” in another talk, which can be seen here.
Dr. Adams will give his address on the topic of paperless archaeology on Sunday, November 8, 2015. To register for the conference, click here.
OCT. 25, 2015
Director Matthew J. Adams has declared this “The Year of the Library” at the Albright; our library’s electronic facilities will be upgraded completely over the course of the next few months. We will be implementing Alma, a new cutting-edge, cloud-based SAAS system developed by the Ex Libris Group, the top global leader in library technology. This software package is already revolutionizing the ILS industry, while in only the early adopter testing phase. Thanks to an anonymous donor and the generous terms offered by ExLibris, the Albright will have the most sophisticated library systems available, providing unparalleled tools and content to Albright fellows and patrons.
All who use our facilities can look forward to the prospect of greater accessibility and broader utility. The next phase in moving the Albright into the digital age, the new ILS will not be merely a catalog, “but a suite of other tools that allow our researchers to find more resources, not just within our own holdings, but that are available out there in the world,” said Dr. Adams. “The new system will, in the near future, also allow us to catalog our archives, in addition to our collection of archaeological objects, which will be digitized and accessible to all, also those across borders!” This step comes after Dr. Adams, over the past year, completely revamped computing at the Albright.
In the meantime, the librarians are working diligently with the ExLibris tech teams to transfer the data from our old system to the new.
Many thanks to the donor who has made this possible. We are grateful to all who have helped us tackle our list of needs and projects (and our list is long). If you would like to contribute, please visit our online store.
OCT. 22, 2015
The traditional time of the Palestinian olive harvest is October, and usually after the first rain. Chef Hisham explains that the reasoning is so that any dust or dirt left on the trees wouldn’t end up in the oil during pressing. “But nowadays,” he says, “it’s not so much of an issue with new technology.”
Even so, Ashraf waited until after the first rain, and picked all the olives from the Albright property. Hisham then went about transforming the raw, bitter produce into the delicious final product. “Water, cut lemons, salt…that’s it! Some people add a pinch of citric acid, but you don’t have to.” The Albright olives are now pickling in the Albright kitchen. In a few weeks they’ll be ready, but they’ll probably disappear in a few days!
OCT. 19, 2015
Dorot Director Matthew J. Adams has initiated a new program of symposia for the Associate Fellows, with the aim of fostering discourse among the Albright community. This year’s 40 Research, Postdoctoral, and Senior Associate Fellows will participate in one of the year’s two symposia. On October 8, 2015, the Albright held the inaugural symposium. Resident Fellows were encouraged to (and all did) attend, in the end sharing their work as well, in a cordial and pleasant atmosphere.
“It was interesting to hear about the wide range of work of people affiliated with the Albright, and a nice introduction to the larger Albright community. I had already spoken with many of the Associate Fellows, though not all. Everyone has different schedules, so making time like this was great for those of us who live at the Albright to get to know everybody and their work,” said Ann Zimo, Education and Cultural Affairs Fellow currently in residence.
Indeed, perhaps the greatest benefit would be the possibility of greater collaboration, and knowing with whom one could discuss his or her work, or from whom to seek advice. The Albright’s Associate Fellows are some of the leading experts in their fields.
The second symposium is scheduled to take place in April 2016.
For more photos, check out our Facebook page.
CALL TO ACTION!
Dear Colleagues and American Overseas Research Centers Friends:
Help the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) to secure U.S. funding for the American Overseas Research Centers and other International Education Opportunities!
Please ACT Immediately! Federal budget decisions are being made now.
The U.S. Senate’s version of the FY 2016 federal budget proposes large cuts to the Department of Education’s funding for international education and foreign language learning. These programs are vital for preparing American experts who can engage internationally in today’s global environment. Help CAORC urge Congress to approve the House of Representatives version of the FY 2016 federal budget by writing your Senators and Representatives.
Please help by using this link http://p2a.co/YAw6Vds
where you can easily send a prepared letter of support to all of your Senators and Representatives
Non U.S. Citizens:
Your voices also count! We would appreciate receiving brief statements of support from you.
You can send these to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
With great anticipation and excitement, the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem hereby invites applicants for the 2016-2017 academic year. The Albright is the oldest American research center for Ancient Near Eastern Studies in the Middle East.
Fellowships are open to students and scholars in Near Eastern studies from prehistory to the Ottoman Period, including the fields of archaeology, anthropology, art history, biblical studies, epigraphy, historical geography, history, language, literature, philology, religion, and related disciplines. The annual program features field trips, evenings with guest scholars, workshops, and lectures. The research period should be continuous, without frequent trips outside the country. The possibility of accommodating dependents is subject to space available at the Albright.
Located just 500 meters north of the Old City, fellows have access to a surfeit of resources, in addition to the Albright’s own formidable library and facilities. Local institutions include the Ecole Biblique, the Kenyon Institute, the the German Protestant Institute of Archaeology, the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology at Hebrew Union College, the Bloomfield Library at Hebrew University at Mount Scopus, the National Library at Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus, the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum, the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Institute of Archaeology at Al Quds University, the Center for Jerusalem Studies, the Israel Museum, and the Bible Lands Museum. This grouping of scholarly resources represents one of the richest concentrations of human, bibliographic, and artifactual resources in ancient Near Eastern Studies.
SEPT. 8, 2015
Those who have stayed in the Garden Apartment (GA) in the southern wing of the Albright campus may no longer recognize it.
We are delighted to announce its completed renovation, and are grateful for the generosity of an anonymous donor (and previous tenant), who felt passionately that the apartment be updated.
“The GA is now the nicest apartment on the property!” said Director Matthew J. Adams. “As the Albright moves to modernize, I want this and all future renovations to create a more professional atmosphere, and allow the fellows to be more productive and effective.” He and Associate Fellow Margaret Cohen conceived of the updates and the redesign.
The apartment is now full of light, and boasts new amenities and furnishings, and feels clean, sleek, and modern. Facilities Manager Ashraf and Contractor Jimmy, in a whirlwind ten days, completely gutted and rebuilt the electrical system, installed recessed lighting and new hardwood floors, updated the plumbing, and repainted. “It is an amazing transformation,” said Annual Professor Jennie Ebeling, who, along with her family, is the first official occupant of the rejuvenated space. “Thanks to Matthew, Margaret, Ashraf, and everyone else who wrought this miracle!”
The GA is one of three apartments on the Albright campus, and features two bedrooms and a study. For more information about living at the Albright, click here.
AUG. 23, 2015
In a bid to better utilize the Albright’s ample grounds, preliminary work began this summer on an outdoor archaeological laboratory on the former tennis court, at the eastern edge of the property. In light of Director Matthew Adams’ aim to continually improve the experience of the Albright’s Fellows and scholars, and the demand for space for processing large assemblages of archaeological material from excavations, the lab will feature a work area sheltered from sun and rain, electricity, water and wifi.
The 2015-2016 Annual Professor Jennie Ebeling, who has done much processing in the past in the downstairs laboratory and in the courtyard, agrees that there is a need for such a facility: “It’s definitely a great idea to have a designated space like this, with everything you need, and situated right next to the storage containers.”
The containers have already been moved to the earmarked space, thanks to Facilities Manager Ashraf and his team. In the near future, the Albright will lease out space in the containers to address the demand for storage for excavation projects. A fundraising campaign to provide the roofing and other amenities will take place later this year, but contributions can already be made at the Albright’s online store.
Though an intramural tennis league may not be in the cards at the Albright, the honor of better serving researchers in the region is even more rewarding.
AUG. 21, 2015
The Albright is pleased to announce that more than 3200 academic journal titles are now available at the Institute through JSTOR. Users connected to the Albright’s new fiber-optic wired or wireless network will be able to access these titles without special logon credentials.
These titles dramatically expand the institute’s already-substantial collection of periodicals, providing access to an enormous quantity of scholarship for our fellows and patrons. The subscription allows access to digital versions of publications already in our collection as well as access to thousands of titles new to the collection, including many which fill gaps of lapsed paper subscriptions.
In our ongoing assessment of the Albright Library, we estimate that JSTOR access will allow us to put more than 70% of our hard-copy titles into long-term storage, freeing up at least 1500 sq. ft. of library space. The Albright Library is currently in the research-and-design phase of a major modernization project which seeks to expand resources, provide cutting-edge research tools, and expand space for individual and collaborative research at the Institute.
Our JSTOR subscription is provided by the Council of American Overseas Research Council (CAORC), through the special efforts of Executive Director Christopher A. Tuttle and Deputy Director Heidi Wiederkehr. The Board of Trustees, Fellows, and other users of the Albright Library extend an enthusiastic “Thank You!” to CAORC.
AUG. 17, 2015
Dorot Director Matthew J. Adams, with the support of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, is pleased to announce the creation of a new position at the Albright in anticipation of the up-coming 2015-16 academic year. The new Communications Director, Sarah Fairman, will aim to centralize all media coming in and out of the Albright and strengthen the institute’s connections to our fellows, alumni, and supporters, as well as with local and foreign institutions working in similar fields. Priorities for the position include the development of digital content, alumni and donor outreach, and allowing the Albright’s relationships to flourish and evolve.
Sarah is an American with a deep interest in the region, having lived in Jerusalem for over seven years. She hopes to bring to the new position her nuanced understanding of the Albright’s location and role and her commitment to all sectors of the community.
The new position is part of Dr. Adams’ vision for the future of the Albright: “This is a big step in modernizing the face of the institute, and I’m really thrilled to have Sarah take on this challenge. She brings a skill-set that is well-suited to the task and the energy needed to make it succeed.”
Contact Sarah at email@example.com.
Capitalizing Jerusalem: Mu’awiya’s Urban Vision – 638-680
By Helena Flusfeder
On Monday, June 8, the Albright Institute hosted a workshop on “Capitalizing Jerusalem: Mu’awiya’s Urban Vision 638-680,” organized by art historian and former National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, Professor Beatrice St. Laurent of Bridgewater State University and her colleague, Isam Awwad, Chief Architect and Conservator at the Haram al-Sharif from 1972 to 2004, who is also an Albright Associate Fellow. Eight other scholars, including specialists in the Islamic and Byzantine periods, participated in the closed workshop.
In their presentation on the influence of Mu’awiya’s Urban Vision on the construction of the buildings in the vicinity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, St. Laurent and Awwad identified the building known as Solomon’s Stables in the southeast corner of the Haram al-Sharif as a mosque, proposing that it was originally built by Mu’awiya, the first Umayyad caliph in 639 CE. They further suggested that this Mosque of Mu’awiya might have been the prototype for the first al-Aqsa Mosque.
The researchers proposed that it was “part of Mu’awiya’s grander religio-political urban scheme in Bayt al-Maqdis, as Jerusalem was known at the time, thus re-sacralizing an already significant sacred precinct and proclaiming dominion of that space for early Islam.” They are also convinced that, “prior to his death in 680, Mu’awiya planned and began construction of the Dome of the Rock in the area northwest of his mosque and the reconstruction of the Double Gate as an entrance to both the upper area of the precinct and the Dome. In addition, having already built his palace outside the precinct he also initiated construction of the administrative structures west of his palace establishing Jerusalem as his capital.”
Prof. St. Laurent further pointed out that one of the models for the Dome of the Rock seems to have been “the commemorative early Christian octagonal church, including the Kathisma Church on Bethlehem Road which was built around a central rock and discovered in the mid-1990’s.” She proposed that Mu’awiya was also strongly influenced in his plan for the Dome of the Rock by the church built on a Herodian platform overlooking the harbor at Caesarea. The researchers also proposed that Mu’awiya was instrumental in planning the administrative complex south of the Haram; and that there was a link between South Arabia and Jerusalem’s urban plan. Prof. St. Laurent has been researching the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock for the last 25 years.
Participants in the workshop included Gideon Avni, Head of the Archaeological Division, and Jon Seligman, Director of the Excavations, Surveys & Research Department both of the Israel Antiquities Authority; Meir Ben-Dov, a pre-eminent archaeologist and co-director with Benjamin Mazar of the first Israeli archaeological expedition in Jerusalem from 1968-78; Shimon Gibson of the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem; Miriam Rosen-Ayalon, the Leo A. Mayer Professor Emeritus of Muslim Art and Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Milka Levy-Rubin of the Rubin Department of History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Curator of the Humanities Collection at the National Library in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.
“The survival of the Mosque of Mu’awiya raises an important issue. Up to now, the Dome of the Rock was considered the oldest surviving Islamic monument in the world. The rather plain mosque of Mu’awiya displaces by fifty-one years the physically imposing Dome of the Rock adding an entirely new gloss of simplicity, benevolence and quiet diplomacy to the early Islamic period in Jerusalem,” St. Laurent said.
A lively discussion ensued with not all of the participants agreeing with the presenters.
St. Laurent was recently awarded a Seymour Gitin Distinguished Professorship at the Albright and will be in residence at the institute for four and a half months in early 2016.
By Helena Flusfeder
Albright Associate Fellow and a young archaeologist from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Shlomit Bechar has been awarded a Reuben and Edith Hecht Fellowship at the Albright Institute. Bechar is in the second year of her Ph.D. at the Hebrew University and is working on the transition from the Middle Bronze Age to the Late Bronze Age in northern Israel, a period of great importance when the Egyptians’ rising power loomed large, resulting in the establishment of their empire in the area.
Bechar has been excavating at Tel Hazor in the Upper Galilee for the last eight years with Professors Amnon Ben-Tor and the late Sharon Zuckerman who recently passed away. In an interview at the Albright Institute, Bechar said: “Hazor changed my life. It’s a home for me. Being an area supervisor, I’m in charge of recording the artifacts, the architecture, and all of the scientific stuff. Since Hazor is home to me, I try to convey the same idea to the volunteers. Actually, most of our volunteers are `returning volunteers’ so we were able to create a home and family with them.”
Regarding her PhD research, she explains, “I’m looking at the relationship between historical and archaeological periods. My test case is the transition between the Middle Bronze Age and the Late Bronze Age in northern Israel. I’m looking at what’s going on at Hazor with pottery and architecture — Hazor is my `jumping-off point’ to other sites in northern Israel, Lebanon and southern Syria. All of these sites have the same material culture.”
Bechar originally signed up for a degree in Law and Archaeology at the Hebrew University, thinking that “archaeology was just for fun. Law was to make a living.” However, in her first year of archaeology, “we had a tour of Hazor with Doron Ben-Ami. We were standing next to Area M (the area I am in charge of now). Doron pointed to a field and said this was the lower city of Hazor where the simple people lived. I don’t know what happened. That’s when I fell in love with archaeology.”
Bechar was recently awarded the International Graduate Research Students Fellowship at the University of Maryland and participated in a course called “Theories of the Past” where the subject of discussion was the implementation of critical theory in archaeology and anthropology. She has also begun to have her material published and her article, “A Re-analysis of the Black Wheel-Made Ware of the Intermediate Bronze Age” recently appeared in Tel Aviv 42 (2015):27–58.
Bechar is the third Albright Associate Fellow to receive a Hecht Trust Fellowship, preceded by Alexandra Sumner and Shulamit Miller of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The William F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem is pleased to announce the winner of the fourteenth annual competition for the Sean W. Dever Memorial Prize. This award offers $650 for the best published article or paper presented at a conference by a Ph.D. candidate in Syro-Palestinian or Biblical Archaeology. Authors may be of any nationality but the article or paper must be in English.
The winner this year is Jesse Michael Millek, a Ph.D. candidate in the Biblical Archaeology Institute and Department of Near Eastern Archaeology at the University of Tübingen, Germany. His paper—“Sea Peoples, Philistines, and the Destruction of Cities: A Critical Examination of Destruction Layers ‘Caused’ by the ‘Sea Peoples’”—was presented on 4 November 2014 at a conference on “The Sea Peoples Up-To-Date: New Research on the Migration of Peoples in the 12th Century BCE,” in Vienna.
The CAORC 2014/2015 Multi-Country Research Fellowship and Andrew W. Mellon Mediterranean Research Fellowships
The William F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem announces the 2015 Sean W. Dever Memorial Prize call for papers. This prize provides $650 for the best published article or paper presented at a conference by a Ph.D. candidate in Syro-Palestinian or biblical archaeology. Authors may be of any nationality, but the articles or papers must be in English. Co-written or co-presented pieces may be submitted if all the authors or presenters are doctoral candidates; the prize, if awarded, will be divided equally among authors/presenters.
All submissions (in .pdf only) must include the authors’ academic affiliation, mailing and email addresses, and phone number. Submission of conference papers must include the name and location of the conference and the date when the paper was presented. Submission of published papers must include full bibliographic citation.
Submissions must be received by December 31, 2014. Announcement of the prize will be made on Sean’s birthday, March 9, 2015.
Email .pdf of paper to:
Mr. Sam Cardillo
The Sean W. Dever Memorial Prize was established in 2001 by Professor William G. Dever and Mrs. Norma Dever in memory of their son Sean.
For the list of previous prize winners, click here.
We are pleased to announce a new fellowship in honor of long-time trustee and Chair of the Development Committee, Lydie Shufro:
Lydie T. Shufro Summer Research Fellowship
Accepting applications now on our website: http://www.aiar.org/available-fellowships/
The Fellowship has been under development for about a year in secret. On Sunday, September 7, a surprise party was held in Lydie’s own apartment hosted by her sons, Nick and Greg. At the party, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Sidnie White Crawford presented Lydie with the Fellowship, endowed in her honor at the Albright Institute with contributions from family, Albright Trustees, and friends all over the globe. To say that Lydie was surprised would be an understatement; she told Sidnie, “I can’t stop shaking!” And when invited to make a speech, she was at an absolute loss for words.
From all of us at the Albright, thanks for your exemplary service over the years, Lydie.
Dr. Adams comes to us from Bucknell University. He received his doctorate from Penn State University in Egyptology and Near Eastern Archaeology, where he studied with Professors Donald Redford and Baruch Halpern. He has worked on several archaeological projects in Egypt and Israel. He is currently the director of the Jezreel Valley Regional Project, and is on the staff of the Megiddo excavation. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Adams, and wishing him well as he begins his tenure as Dorot Director!
The William F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem is pleased to announce the winner of the thirteenth annual competition for the Sean W. Dever Memorial Prize. This award offers $650 for the best published article or paper presented at a conference by a Ph.D. candidate in Syro-Palestinian or Biblical Archaeology. Authors may be of any nationality but the article or paper must be in English.The winner this year is Josephine A. Verducci, a Ph.D. candidate in the Classics and Archaeology Department in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. Her paper, “A Feather in Your Cap: Symbols of Philistine Warrior Status,” was presented in November 2013 at the Annual Meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research in Baltimore. The Sean W. Dever Memorial Prize was established in 2001 by Mrs. Norma Dever and Professor William G. Dever, in memory of their son Sean.
The Levantine Ceramics Project (LCP) workshop, organized on March 10, 2014 by Trustee Andrea Berlin, attracted 56 archaeologists who gathered to hear 20 presenters share their results of ongoing research on ceramic wares dating from the Early Bronze Age through the Medieval era. In addition to sharing new information, the workshop was an opportunity to learn about the LCP (www.levantineceramics.org) that offers a new model for communicating, linking, and expanding the use of archaeological data in order to advance research.
The Dothan Lectureship, held March 4-6, 2014 featuring Dr. Ian Morris, the Jean and Rebecca Willard Professor of Classics and Professor of History at Stanford University, was a huge success. More than 539 people attended the three lectures, receptions, luncheons and dinners. While the previous eight Dothan Lecturers presented the results of their excavations or major archaeological research projects, Prof. Morris brought together archaeological, anthropological, historical and sociological data in his presentations that resulted in a more global approach to understanding antiquity. His three lectures took place in three different venues: “War! What is it Good For? 50,000 Years of Conflict and the Fate of Human Society” at the Hebrew University; “Foragers, Farmers and Fossil Fuels: The Evolution of Human Values” at the Ecole Biblique under the auspices of Al-Quds University, and “The Ancient World: A Global Account” at the Albright Institute.
On Friday November 22nd, 2013 Albright Trustees and Fellows, ASOR members, colleagues and friends gathered for a “Toast and Roast Celebration” in honor of retiring Albright Director Sy Gitin. The event was held in the Liberty Ballroom of the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel, filled to capacity by a very enthusiastic audience.
Invited “roasters” were Sidnie Crawford, Susan Ackerman, Dan Wolk and Joe Seger who read his poem “The Life of Sy”, as well as Bill Dever and Norma Dever. Barry Gittlen, Steve Ortiz and Mark Smith gave a combined Power Point presentation and John Spencer presented Sy with the mock-up for the cover for the second Gitin Festschrift Material Culture Matters: Essays on the Archaeology of the Southern Levant in Honor of Seymour Gitin. Several people from the audience also took part spontaneously, among them Larry Herr, Claire Pfann, Louise Hitchcock, Mary Ellen Lane, Stuart Swiny, Herschel Shanks, and Annie Caubet. Talya Gitin, Sy’s daughter, was most entertaining, sharing “deep, dark” family secrets.
Sy, seated next to his wife Cherie, was obviously enjoying the roasting and toasting. He was most gracious in his response.
The event was organized by Lydie Shufro and funded by private contributions. Mark Smith and Lydie Shufro coordinated the two-hour long program.
Munira Said: The Albright Trustees, Staff and Fellows deeply mourn the death of Munira Said, who passed away in Jerusalem on March 17, 2014. Munira was the Institute Manager of the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research from 1967 until 1994, and from 1994 to 2014, served as the Institute’s Administrative Consultant. Munira had a very special presence in the history of the Albright. She was loved by all and will be sorely missed by her many friends and colleagues.
May her memory be for a blessing!
Albright Trustees, Staff and Fellows
Ernest S. Frerichs: We deeply mourned the death of Ernest “ Ernie” S. Frerichs, a past President and long-time Trustee of the Albright Institute, and President of the Dorot Foundation, who passed away in Providence, RI on November 11, 2013. Ernie will be remembered not only for all of the good things he did for so many people, and for the Albright, but especially as an example of how to deal with adversity with dignity and grace.
Ernie was one of the Lamed Vav-nicks, that is, according to Jewish tradition, one of the 36 righteous people without whom the world could not exist.
May his memory be for a blessing!
Albright Trustees, Staff and Fellows