Archaeology Programs

Welcome to the University of Haifa’s archaeology program, where you’ll be part of the exciting discoveries our team is making throughout Israel and the Mediterranean sea.

Our excavations, surveys, and theoretical studies have led to groundbreaking discoveries across the prehistoric and Biblical periods of the Bronze & Iron ages and the Classical period (including Roman, Hellenistic, Byzantine, Early Arab, and Middle Ages).

We believe understanding the past is the key to our future, and our Israel Archaeology team is paving the way.


About The Zinman Institute of Archaeology

Founded in 1988, The Zinman Institute of Archaeology was generously funded by the loyal friends of the University of Haifa, Betty Zinman, and her late husband, Philip Zinman.

It didn’t take long for the Zinman Institute to leave its mark on the Northern Israel archaeology scene. Our researchers have been at the forefront of significant surveys, excavations, and studies that have had a direct impact on Israel and the surrounding regions.


Prehistoric Archaeology Program

The University of Haifa’s Prehistoric Archaeology Program is dedicated to researching the impressive prehistoric archaeology of the southern Levant, specifically Mount Carmel.

The caves and rock-shelters in this area house an extremely detailed record of human evolution and paleo-environmental fluctuations from the Lower Palaeolithic period all the way through to the Neolithic, providing insights into human behavior over 500,000 years.

Hundreds of prehistoric sites have been uncovered on Mount Carmel alone, with many more found in nearby areas – though they have yet to be fully explored.

The research conducted by The University Of Haifa’s Prehistoric Archaeology Program has greatly advanced our understanding of human history, both locally in Israel and around the world.

It has allowed scholars to gain a better idea of how early humans lived and interacted with their environment as well as how they adapted over time – including technological advancements such as the invention and use of tools.

In addition to advancing archaeological knowledge, The University Of Haifa’s Prehistoric Archaeology Program also works with local communities in order to promote cultural heritage preservation. This involves finding ways for locals to benefit from these ancient sites while protecting them from harm.


Excavations and Surveys

Prehistoric Division

The Prehistory Division at the University of Haifa is a leading center for prehistoric research in Israel and has conducted research into the evolution of human civilization for decades. Our scope extends to prehistoric sites within Israel’s borders, as well as beyond them.

Our research programs shed light on some of the most significant developments in human history, including the domestication of fire, the emergence of religion & cultic practices, the transition from hunter-gatherers to food producing economies, and the shift to sedentary settlements.

The main research program conducted by the Prehistory Division focuses on three prehistoric caves located on Mount Carmel: Tabun Cave which records nearly 1 million years of human evolution; El-Wad Cave which is a landmark in the transition to agriculture; and Misliya Cave which dates back over 400,000 years.

Through our research programs, The Prehistory Division has significantly increased our understanding of how these key transitions in human history occurred and why they were so important for defining modern human culture.


Biblical Division

The University of Haifa’s Biblical Division has been conducting research for decades, providing insight into the economic and political relations, trade routes, and everyday life maintained by the people mentioned in the Biblical texts.

Their research, which encompasses sites such as Tel Dor, Al-Ahwatt, Tel Assawir, and Tel Shikmona has contributed to a better understanding of the region throughout biblical history.

In addition, they carry out comprehensive surveys in Carmel, Samaria, and Arabah regions with the aim of gathering data to further their understanding of the area.

The results of the research have had a global impact as they shed light on religious stories from thousands of years ago. It also helps to explain how ancient societies lived and interacted with each other. For example, archaeological remains have revealed that some cities were fortified due to fears of invasion from neighboring groups.

The research also identifies how technology developed over time as certain artifacts reveal evidence for smelting techniques or the use of certain types of tools.


Classical Division

The University of Haifa’s Prehistoric Archaeology Classical Division is a leading center for research into the archaeological heritage of Israel, with a special focus on the Classical period.

This period saw the emergence of modern cities and transportation networks as well as an East-West interaction between cultures in the fourth century BCE. Our Classical Division is dedicated to researching these patterns, examining sites such as Caesarea, Sha’ar Ha’amakim, Hippos (Sussita), Horvat Katzion, and Tel Shikmona.

The program has 9 full-time research fellows, over 20 associate research fellows, and more than 50 archaeology degree postgraduate research students investing their efforts in the four major chronological periods – Prehistoric, Biblical, Classical, and Middle Ages.

The results of the research are far-reaching, providing insight into ancient civilizations which still affect our lives today. For example, discoveries from the Roman period have revealed information about trade networks between East and West which can be used to inform contemporary economic strategies.

Similarly, examination of Byzantine artwork can provide us with details about their culture that would otherwise remain unknown.

The Classical Division delves into Israel Archaeology, studying how different cultures interacted in Antiquity – for example, how Jewish culture developed alongside that of others living in Israel at the time.


Middle Ages Division

The Middle Ages Division is especially noteworthy, researching and preserving centuries of human achievements that have shaped the country today. One of the most prominent locations is Monfort. It’s a key area of research for the Israel Archaeology team.

Monfort is a spur castle located on a narrow ridge amongst the hill line. The ruined Crusader castle is located approximately 22 miles from Haifa and is fascinating. There’s plenty of Crusader history waiting to be discovered and our research team is at the forefront.