Archaeology 2015 Ancient Cultures in the Lands of the Bible

The Lands of the Bible, or the Ancient Near East, was probably the most dynamic and vibrant region in the history of mankind. It has been the arena of historic confrontations between the ancient powers, and the meeting point of the world’s ancient cultures; and thus, it is the cradle of western culture and civilization.

The Lands of the Bible, or the Ancient Near East, was probably the most dynamic and vibrant region in the history of mankind. It has been the arena of historic confrontations between the ancient powers, and the meeting point of the world’s ancient cultures; and thus, it is the cradle of western culture and civilization.

This is the place where prehistoric man first emerged from Africa, developed tools and the beginnings of human culture, and then traveled with them onward –– north, east and west –– spreading civilization. Here, ancient cultures rose and fell, and ancient warriors conquered and plundered, and brought with them new gods, new technologies and new ideas. In the south, the pyramids were raised and tales of kings were carved in stone. In the east, the Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian armies rose up, while from the west came the Greeks, the Romans and the Crusaders. Ancient sailors, traders and adventurers rushed to take part in the momentous events occurring in the Lands of the Bible. Here they all met –– and clashed –– East and West, North and South, culture with culture, religion with religion, empire with empire, for over 3,000 years of encounters with spectacular historical consequences, the building blocks of our western civilization.
All these people, cultures and armies have long vanished, but they left us their legacies –– some covered by sand and mud, others carved in stone. They left us the ruins of their homes, their collections of tools, lost jewelry, cooking utensils, weapons, and sometimes even documents. They spoke and wrote in a myriad of languages, made strange markings and disappeared; but they all left their mark: nomadic tribes and warrior kingdoms, merchants and builders, prophets and priests, architects of cities and authors of books. They have all been here: Sidonians and Phoenicians, Canaanites, Israelites and Philistines, Venetians and Byzantines, Greeks and Romans, Crusaders and Mongols, Mamluks and Ottomans, French and British. Everyone drooped an anchor here at some time, and they all left baggage behind, sometimes even an entire ship.
Today, such ships are being rescued from the depths of the sea, and lost palaces of forgotten kings are being excavated from the sands that have hidden them for millennia, along with the cultural treasures of the ancient peoples who lived, worked, created and died in this region known to us as the “Lands of the Bible”. And this is the place where this unique conference was conceived of, and will take place, and what it will deal with.

Since the early 1960s, when 6,000 volunteers from around the world gathered in the Judean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea, to participate in an excavation to uncover the legendary story of Masada, Israel has not hosted a major international conference to discuss its amazing archaeological treasures. The International Conference on Archaeology in Israel and the Ancient Near East is a unique celebration of 50 years of scientific archaeological excavation and research. We invite all interested parties to participate, to hear first hand of the latest, most exciting discoveries, to actually see the finds and meet the archaeologists who are excavating sites throughout the Lands of the Bible, and to visit and explore these sites in specially organized, professional tours: from “King David’s palace” in Jerusalem to the “tomb of Herod”, from biblical battlefields to Crusader fortresses, from ancient monasteries in the isolated Judean Desert to fascinating seaports and ancient agricultural villages that have been miraculously preserved.    

The Land of the Bible, this tiny strip of land located in the center of all the major ancient cultures of the Near East, from Babylon, Assyria and the Land of the Hittites in the north, to Egypt in the south, is literally built upon layers of history. Wherever you scratch the surface, you unearth ancient ruins where historical events took place. At the same time, Israel of today is a modern society of scientific technology and high-tech entrepreneurs, offering incredible archaeological potential and ability. This combination of archaeological finds literally popping out of the earth, and the capabilities to scientifically analyze the finds and their context, has led to remarkable achievements, and will continue to do so in the future. However, there still remains much to be uncovered, as the Lands of the Bible have not yet revealed to us all their secrets.

Please consider this message as a personal invitation to participation in a fascinating professional encounter on an international level, integrating a wide range of fields, including education, religion, history, art, conservation, environmental studies, etc. The conference is designed to be an intellectually unforgettable experience for all who love archaeology, history and culture, and is open to applicants and participants from fields other than archaeology.

We call upon researchers from all over the world to present their studies relating to the history, culture and archaeology of the Lands of the Bible, and topics that shed light on interrelations within the region and with other parts of the ancient world. Please see the Call for Abstracts on this site.

The conference will take place in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is a city that fascinates and excites one’s imagination, a city in which every excavated inch reveals or enlightens another amazing chapter in thousands of years of history. We chose Jerusalem as the host city of the conference because so many armies have laid siege to her walls, so many generations have wished to enter her gates and dreamed of experiencing her history. Jerusalem’s 4,000 years of history are waiting for those who are interested in uncovering her secrets, whose walls will be the starting point of our tours around the country, through time and history.