Archaeology in the Land of Israel


Evening Lecture
Registration at 5:45 pm
Presentations at 6 pm
Discussion at 7:30 pm
Close at 8 pm

“Temple, Scrolls, and Divine Messengers: Archaeology of the Land of Israel in Roman Times an exhibition of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem” will open at Asia Society Hong Kong Center in Fall 2014. This affiliated lecture series brings to Hong Kong international scholars and experts to discuss thematic areas of history and archaeology in relation to Israel and Judaism of the Second Temple era.

Status, Challenges and Opportunities in Archaeology in the Land of Israel by Dr. Yigal Israel

The Land of Israel presents unique challenges and opportunities in the field of archaeology. To date, well over 35,000 archaeological sites on land and underwater have been legally declared throughout the country, and nearly one million artifacts have been registered in the State collections. By law, IAA is in charge of the country’s archaeological heritage, its antiquities and antiquity sites, their protection, excavation, preservation, conservation, study and publication. Among its many tasks, the IAA grants licenses for archaeological surveys and excavations to academic research institutes from Israel and abroad, while maintaining the balance between the needs of a rapidly growing and developing state and the preservation of its antiquities.

IAA archaeologists carry out salvage excavations in sites ranging from prehistoric eras to modern times, the results of which are published online and in print in Hebrew and in English. In addition to state-of-the-art conservation and preservation facilities, the IAA has pioneered websites for scientific archives and national treasures as well as the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library with world-wide access.

Currently, the IAA is leading the research and development of UNESCO World Heritage sites such as ancient Acco and the Incense Road, as well as the archaeology of Jerusalem, and it is involved in the conservation, preservation and development of 'Israel Heritage Sites' in conjunction with of the Prime Minister's Office.

Excavating Hebron – The City of the Patriarchs and King David’s First Capital by Emanuel Eisenberg

Hebron is situated in the southern part of the Judean Hills, about 30 kilometers south of Jerusalem. Hebron plays a central role in the history of the Jewish people, and is known as the City of the Patriarchs. The location of the Biblical city was not known, and became clear only after archaeological excavations carried out between 1964-66 by an American expedition. Further excavations were carried out between 1984-86 by an expedition from Tel Aviv University. In 1999, an expedition led by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) excavated the site and uncovered significant remains of the city and city wall from the third and second Millennium B.C., remains from the period of the Judean kings of the first Millennium B.C., as well as remains from the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods.

In 2014, the excavations were renewed in an area outside the fortifications. As a result of these excavations, a large industrial quarter was uncovered in the outlying areas of the settlement, which was active until the destruction by the Romans in the year 70 A.D. Furthermore, approximately 60 meters of the external face of the wall from the time of Abraham was unearthed. This wall, built in the 17-16 century B.C., served the city for about one thousand years until the destruction of the Judean kingdom by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.

Discovery of the Lost Fortress of Ai by Dr. Scott Stripling

Since the work of Albright and Callaway in the 1960’s, et-Tell has been uncritically accepted by the majority of scholars as Ai of Joshua 7-8. Their excavations demonstrated that there was no Late Bronze Age occupation at et-Tell; therefore, the biblical account of the Conquest could not be true. The Associates for Biblical Research (ABR) accepts et-Tell as the Ai of Abraham’s day (Early Bronze Age), but argues that the Ai of Joshua’s day (Late Bronze Age) is found 0.6 miles to the west at Khirbet el-Maqatir. The presentation will examine the results of the ABR excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir since 1995 and how these findings synchronize with Joshua 7-8.

Dr. Israel, Mr. Eisenberg, and Dr. Stripling will be joined by The Honorable Mr. Justice Jeremy Poon in a moderated discussion and Q&A after the presentations.

Dr. Yigal Israel was born in Jerusalem in 1951. In 1989, he completed a BA in archaeology in Hebrew University in Jerusalem and he was appointed the first Southern Negev and Judean Desert district archaeologist in the newly formed Israel Antiquities Authority. He later filled the post of Beer Sheba and the Northern Negev district archaeologist between 2002 and 2005 and that of Ashqelon and the Western Negev district archaeologist between 2005 and 2011. In 2007, he completed a MA degree in archaeology at Ben Gurion University in the Negev and in 2007 he obtained his PhD in Ben Gurion University in the Negev. In 2011, he was appointed the head archaeologist of the Southern Region of the Israel Antiquities Authority, a post that he presently holds. In addition to his regular duties, in 2014 Dr. Israel was appointed the task of managing the renewed excavations in Tel Rumeida in Hebron by the late director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Shuka Dorfman. 

He began his career in archaeology in the early 1970s working in a number of archaeological excavations and conservation projects such as Oboda (Avdat), Shivta, Antipatris, Jericho and the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem. In the 1980s, he was involved in numerous excavations and surveys in the Negev Highlands, such as the Nabataean Incense Road, under the direction of the late Dr. Rudolph Cohen. Between 1989 and 1995, he and Rudolph Cohen conducted a major excavation in the Iron Age site of 'En Hazeva (Biblical Tamar) in the Arava Valley. Dr. Israel has also conducted numerous excavations in sites such as the Third Mile Estate in Ashqelon, the Nabataean fort at 'En Rahel, and a variety of excavations in and around Beer Sheba. 

Dr. Israel is also active in the documentation of the history of the Jewish community of his family in Israel and their former home in Urfa in southeastern Turkey. Dr. Israel is fluent in Hebrew, English, Arabic and French. 

Emanuel Eisenberg was born in Germany in 1946. He moved with his family to Israel in 1949. He grew up in the in the Haifa area, after completion of military service, he began his archaeology studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and earned both his BA and MA. In 1973, he began working at the Department of Antiquities as a field archaeologist directing salvage excavations. From 1980, he joined the Israel Antiquities Authority as a Senior Research Archaeologist until his retirement in 2013. Mr. Eisenberg’s projects include excavations in biblical and pre-biblical sites all over Israel, such as Tel Beit Yerah, Tel Tao, Tel Kitan, Sha’ar Hagolan, Nahal Rephaim (Jerusalem) and Tel Hebron.

Dr. Scott Stripling is the Director of the Khirbet el-Maqatir excavation in Israel. He serves as the Chair of the Humanities and Foreign Languages Department at Wharton County Junior College and as an Adjunct Professor at Belhaven University (Biblical Archaeology and English) and The Bible Seminary (Church History). Previously, he worked as a Field Supervisor at the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project in Jordan and the Temple Mount Salvage Operation in Jerusalem. Articles recently published include: Maqatir Monastery Money, Livias: A Lost City, and, Is Tall el-Hammam on the Madaba Map? Scott's book, The Trowel and the Truth, has been adopted as an archaeology textbook by several Universities.

The Honorable Mr. Justice Jeremy Poon obtained his LLB and PCLL from the University of Hong Kong and LLM from University College London. Before he joined the Hong Kong Judiciary, he practiced as a barrister. He was appointed a High Court Judge in 2006.

Presentations in English, Cantonese translation will be provided.


Event Details

Sat 25 Oct 2014
5:45 PM - 8:00 PM
Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong
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Free Admission (Online Registration Required)
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