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Hebrew University Starts Extensive Archaeological Operations

The American Friends of the Hebrew University announced today that extensive archaeological operations planned by the university have just been started in Israel. Staff members of the Hebrew University’s archaeological department, in cooperation with a number of other Israeli institutions, are conducting research at several historic sites, including the exploration of two caves associated with “prehistoric” finds.

Dr. Benjamin Mazar, president of Hebrew University, an internationally famous archaeologist, will personally direct the excavations at the catacombs of Beit Shearim, near Tivon. The work there will include the entire area of the ancient Jewish center, as well as the site of the necropolis or cemetery. An expedition financed by the Louis Mr. Rabinowitz Fund for Synagogue Research, directed by Professor Michael Avi-Yonah, Hebrew University archaeologist, will dig at the site of Caesaria, the city which served as the capital of Roman Palestine for a period of six centuries.

The University’s James de Rothschild Expedition, led by Dr. Yigal Yadin, ex-Chief of Staff of Israel’s Defense Forces, began its second season of excavations at the site of Biblical Hazor on July 15. This expedition is jointly sponsored by the Israel Government and the Anglo-Israel Exploration Committee. A staff of 40 persons, including University scientists, students and three archaeologists from England, will concentrate on the Citadel of the Israelite period and the Temple of the Canaanite era.

Drs. Yohanan Aharoni and Shimon Applebaum, Research Fellows in Archaeology will explore several ancient sites in the Negev desert. Dr. Aharoni has previously found the remains of a large fortress of the period associated with the Kingdom of Judah. Dr. Applebaum has carried out pilot excavations at Kurnub, one of the important towns of the Negev, inhabited in the era of the Judges and the Kingdom of Judah, as well as in the Roman-Byzantine period.

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