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Reconstructing Ancient (Biblical) Israel: The Exact and Life Sciences Perspective

Objective

The study of Ancient Israel s (hereafter AI) texts (the Hebrew Bible), material culture and history has been a keystone of European scholarship since the Enlightenment. Biblical exegesis and archaeology contributed impressively to our understanding of AI, yet in certain areas conventional research has reached a stalemate. With very few real-time historical records, with the biblical testimony written a long time after the events described (if not mythical) took place, and with the theological agenda of both the original authors and some modern scholars, reconstructing the world of AI is a complex matter. The exact and life sciences are not restricted by these preconceptions and are able to reveal data not visible to the naked eye. Advances made in the last decade in archaeological science show that this is the wave of the future. The novelty in this proposal is to deploy an arsenal of 10 research tracks from the exact and life sciences in order to better understand AI: A. The time of AI: A1. Radiocarbon: correlating the chronology of AI with neighboring lands. B. The genesis of AI: B1. Human genetics and paleodiet. B2. Geo-archaeology: tracking the subsistence economy of AI. B3. Palynology: relating paleoclimate to settlement oscillations. C. The life of AI: C1. Ceramic petrography: reconstructing trade patterns. C2. Metallurgy: tracking technological advances. D. The mind of AI: D1. Daily mathematics of dimensions: pottery and architecture. D2. Epigraphy: the use of advanced computational methodologies (e.g. artificial intelligence algorithms) in the study of writing in Israel and Judah. E. The identity of AI: E1. Residue analysis of pottery vessels, and- E2. Archaeo-zoology; both aim at elucidating diet, foodways and possibly identity boundaries. This project has the potential to revolutionize the study of AI. Such a broad research plan in the realm of archaeology and the sciences, focused on a single period/theme, has never been conducted anywhere.

Call for proposal

ERC-2008-AdG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-AG - ERC Advanced Grant

Host institution

TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY
Address
Ramat Aviv
69978 Tel Aviv
Israel
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 2 232 368
Principal investigator
Israel Finkelstein (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Lea Pais (Ms.)

Beneficiaries (2)

TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY
Israel
EU contribution
€ 2 232 368
Address
Ramat Aviv
69978 Tel Aviv
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Israel Finkelstein (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Lea Pais (Ms.)
WEIZMANN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE
Israel
EU contribution
€ 743 820
Address
Herzl Street 234
7610001 Rehovot
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Talia Tzahor (Ms.)