Beth Alpert Nakhai

About Beth Alpert Nakhai

I am an archaeologist and text scholar specializing in the Bronze and Iron Ages in Western Asia.  I teach courses on topics relating to the history, religion and culture of ancient Israel, the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), and women in ancient Israel, as well as biblical Hebrew.  My research is on Canaanite and Israelite religions, on the archaeology of Israel and neighboring lands, and on women in antiquity.  I am also engaged in research and advocacy relating to the position of women working in Near Eastern archaeology, in the field and at their home institutions.  Most recently (29 August 2014), I launched a "Survey on Field Safety: Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean Basin" (http://bit.ly/FieldSafety).  Further information on the survey can be found below, in the "Projects" section on this page.

Selected Publications

PUBLICATIONS (book author):

2001   Archaeology and the Religions of Canaan and Israel. Atlanta: American Schools of Oriental Research.

PUBLICATIONS (book editor):

2014    Co-editor. Celebrate Her for the Fruit of Her Hands: Studies in Honor of Carol L. Meyers, with S.    Ackerman and C. Carter. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.

2014    Co-editor. Household Religion: Toward a Synthesis of Old Testament Studies, Archaeology, Epigraphy, and Cultural Studies; Proceedings of the International Conference at Westfälisches Wilhelms-Universität Münster, April 1st-3rd, 2009, with R. Albertz, R. Schmitt and S. Olyan. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.

2013    Senior editor. Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Archaeology. Editor in-chief D. Master. New York:              Oxford University Press.

2008    The World of Women in the Ancient and Classical Near East. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

2003    The Near East in the Southwest: Essays in Honor of William G. Dever. Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research 58. Atlanta: American Schools of Oriental Research.

PUBLICATIONS (articles):

2014    Plaque and Recumbent Figurines of the Late Bronze II. Pp. 327-56 in Celebrate Her for the Fruit of Her Hands: Studies in Honor of Carol L. Meyers, eds. S. Ackerman, C. Carter and B. Alpert Nakhai. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.

2014    The Household as Sacred Space. Pp. 53-71 in Household Religion: Toward a Synthesis of Old Testament Studies, Archaeology, Epigraphy, and Cultural Studies; Proceedings of the International Conference at Westfälisches Wilhelms-Universität Münster, April 1st-3rd, 2009, eds. R. Albertz, R. Schmitt, B. Alpert Nakhai and S. Olyan. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.

2014    Mother-and-Child Figurines in the Late Bronze – Persian Period Levant. Pp. 165-98 in Material Culture Matters: Essays on the Archaeology of the Southern Levant in Honor of Seymour Gitineds. J. Spencer, R. Mullins and A. Brody. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns. 

2014    Divided Monarchy.  Society of Biblical Literature’s “Bible Odyssey” website    (http://www.bibleodyssey.com/places/related-articles/divided-monarchy.aspx).

2011    Varieties of Religious Expression in the Domestic Setting. Pp. 347-60 in Household Archaeology in Ancient Israel and Beyond, eds. A. Yasur-Landau, J. R. Ebeling and L. B. Mazow. Culture and History of the Ancient Near East 50. Leiden: Brill.

2008    Female Infanticide in Iron II Israel and Judah. Pp. 245-60 in Sacred History, Sacred Literature: Essays  on Ancient Israel, the Bible and Religion in Honor of R. E. Friedman on His 60th Birthday, ed. S. Dolansky.  Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.

2008    Contextualizing Village Life in the Iron Age I. Pp. 121-37 in Israel in Transition: From Late Bronze II to Iron IIa (c. 1250-850 BCE). Volume 1: The Archaeology, ed. L. L. Grabbe. Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies 491; European Seminar in Historical Methodology 7. London: Continuum.

2007    Gender and Archaeology in Israelite Religion. Compass Religion 1/5: 512-28.

2005      Daily Life in the Ancient Near East: New Thoughts on an Old Topic. Religious Studies Review: A Quarterly Review of Publications in the Field of Religion and Related Disciplines 31/3-4: 147-53.

2003    Israel on the Horizon: The Galilee in the Iron I. Pp. 131-51 in The Near East in the Southwest: Essays in Honor of William G. Dever, ed. B. Alpert Nakhai. Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research 58. Atlanta: ASOR.

1999     A Landscape Comes to Life: The Iron I Period. Near Eastern Archaeology 62/2: 62-92, 101-27, with E. Bloch-Smith.

1993    Tell el‑Wawiyat. Pp. 1500-1 in The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, vol. 4, ed. E. Stern. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, with J. P. Dessel and B. L. Wisthoff.

PUBLICATIONS (in press; articles):

Ways of Believing: Religious Practice in Iron Age Israel. In Defining the Sacred: Approaches to the Archaeology of Religion in the Near East, ed. N. Laneri. Oxford, UK: Oxbow Books.

 

SURVEY:

Survey On Field Safety: Middle East, North Africa, and Mediterranean Basin

 

BLOG POSTS (ASOR BLOG @ asorblog.org):

Breaking In: Women’s Representation in Archaeology (Valerie Schlegel, 1st author; 3/21/14) http://asorblog.org/?p=7096

Women on ASOR’s Board of Trustees (3/20/14)  http://asorblog.org/?p=7080

The Status of Women in ASOR (7/9/12)  http://asorblog.org/?p=2631

 

SYMPOSIUM ORGANIZER and EXHIBITION CURATOR:

1. Torah Restoration Project: Daylong Workshop with Rabbi Menachem Salazar on the Judaic Studies Torah Scroll. 2/4/14

 Interview on KUAT-TV’s Arizona Illustrated (4/8/14)

 https://originals.azpm.org/p/azill-science/2014/4/8/32245-ua-houses-a-mysterious-biblical-document/

 

2. On the Verge of a Paradigmatic Shift? Symposium on the U.S.-Israel Relationship. The University of Arizona. 11/29/11

               http://judaic.arizona.edu/sites/judaic.arizona.edu/files/filesnews/JUS%20Newsletter%20page%2011.pdf

http://judaic.arizona.edu/symposium_panel

http://azjewishpost.com/2011/u-s-israel-relations-topic-for-ua-symposium/

http://azjewishpost.com/2011/ua-symposium-delves-into-u-s-israel-ties

 

3. Writings Out of Time: The University of Arizona’s Cuneiform Collection. Archaeological exhibit on display in Special Collections Library, The University of Arizona. Fall semester 2009

 http://www.library.arizona.edu/news/entries/view/2391

The Roots of Literacy in the Ancient Near East. Lecture series, held in conjunction with Writings Out of Time: The University of Arizona’s Cuneiform Collection. Fall semester 2009

Interview on KUAT-TV’s Arizona Illustrated 10/29/09

 https://www.azpm.org/s/3650-cuneiform-collection/

 https://ondemand.azpm.org/videoshorts/watch/2009/10/29/kuat-cuneiform-colllection/

 

 

Courses Taught

Ancient Near East: Ancient Civilizations of the Near East; In the Beginning: Roots of Western Culture

Israel in Antiquity: Archaeology and the Bible; History and Religion of Ancient Israel in the First Temple Period; History and Religion of Ancient Israel in the Second Temple Period; Women in Ancient Israel

Hebrew Language: Biblical Hebrew (Introductory, Advanced); Modern Hebrew (First Year)

Judaic Studies: Introduction to Judaism; Women in Judaism 

Areas of Study

AREAS OF STUDY:

I am an archaeologist and text scholar specializing in the Bronze and Iron Ages in Western Asia.  I work, more specifically, on Canaanite and Israelite religions, on the archaeology of Israel and neighboring lands, and on women in antiquity.  I am also engaged in research and advocacy relating to the position of women working in Near Eastern archaeology, in the field and at their home institutions.  I teach courses on topics relating to the history, religion and culture of ancient Israel, the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), and women in ancient Israel, as well as biblical Hebrew.  

 

MEMBERSHIP IN PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES:

American Schools of Oriental Research

American Association of University Women

European Association of Biblical Studies

Register of Professional Archaeologists

Society of Biblical Literature

 

Projects

AMERICAN SCHOOLS OF ORIENTAL RESEARCH:

I have served on the Board of Trustees of the American Schools of Oriental Research since 2002.  Particularly important to me is my work as head of ASOR's new Initiative on the Status of Women.  I am working with others to document - and improve - the status of women in ASOR and in the field of Near Eastern archaeology.  I am always eager for ideas and for assistance with this monumental - and critically important - venture.

 

SURVEY ON FIELD SAFETY: MIDDLE EAST, NORTH AFRICA, AND THE MEDITERRANEAN BASIN

Stories about romantic escapades on archaeological excavations are legend, as anyone who has worked on a dig can surely attest.  We have all heard about happy relationships that began in the field and thrived for decades.  But as we also know, excavation lore contains stories of other kinds of “relationships,” as well.  This Survey on Field Safety: Middle East, North Africa, and Mediterranean Basin is designed to understand the ways in which archaeological fieldwork does – or does not – provide a safe and secure setting for all participants.  In particular, it focuses on physical and emotional safety from intimidation, harassment and violence based on gender, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity. 

Participants on archaeological field projects in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean Basin, whether volunteers or staff, live and work within what has been termed a “state of exception.”  They are in foreign countries, far from home.  They may live and work in isolated settings.  They may be unable travel easily for reasons relating to language, finances, inexperience, scarcity of transportation, dependence upon team leaders, lack of friends or supportive community members, unfamiliarity with local legal systems and/or cultural norms, inhospitable legal systems and/or cultural norms, political unrest, and more.  For these reasons, such individuals may be unable to protect themselves from aggressive and unwanted violations of their personal safety and security, and they may find that effective means of dealing with intimidation, harassment, and violence are limited or even non-existent.  Conversely, under such conditions, some individuals may be more likely to engage in subtle or flagrant violations of accepted normative behavior. 

Beyond documenting and quantifying experiences, the goals of this survey project include building collaboration among professional societies and institutes in order to: determine those factors that contribute to safe and unsafe fieldwork environments; identify areas in which further research is necessary; determine best practices and the means by which to implement them; develop standards, policies and protocols designed to educate and inform all participants in archaeological excavations about ethics and laws in the field and on research projects; and, under the auspices of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), develop and offer online trainings, and provide access to relevant documents for excavation leaders, staff, volunteers, and employees.

Whichever kinds of experiences you have had, we hope that you will click on the link below, take the survey, and help us make archaeology safer for everyone.  Feel free to circulate this letter and the survey link to anyone you think might be interested in it.  Finally, if you would like to receive follow-up information regarding the results of this survey, please contact the principal investigator, Beth Alpert Nakhai, Ph.D., R.P.A., Arizona Center for Judaic Studies and School of Anthropology, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona (bnakhai@email.arizona.edu).

http://bit.ly/FieldSafety

 
 
CO-DIRECTOR, TELL EL-WAWIYAT (ISRAEL) EXCAVATION:

Tell el-Wawiyat, a four-dunam site in the Beit Netofah Valley in Israel’s Lower Galilee, was excavated in 1986 and 1987.  Excavation of the site was co-directed by J. P. Dessel, Bonnie L. Wisthoff, and myself.  The Wawiyat excavation was designed to: (1) examine village life and domestic economy; (2) explore the transition between the Late Bronze II and the Iron I; and (3) investigate Canaanite and Israelite ethnicity in this transitional era.  During the course of excavation, limited architectural remains from the MBIIB-C (17th-mid-16th centuries) and the LBII (14th-13th century), and a wealth of LBII imported and domestic wares, were uncovered.  Two large buildings dating to the Iron IA (12th century) served residential, economic, subsistence and cultic functions.  In the Iron IB (11th century), they were reused by a transitory community.  Once they were abandoned, the site was never resettled.   

The excavation of Tell el-Wawiyat demonstrates the important place that elite rural communities played in the complex interactions of the LB IIB-Iron IA.  Wawiyat was not a simple farming village, but rather a sophisticated site in which residents played important roles in the local economy.   Judging by the exotic imports, they were also somehow involved with international trade.  Significantly, the excavation reveals continuity between the LBIIB and the Iron IA, suggesting that in contrast to the Central Highlands, the transition from Canaanite to Israelite culture was slow to happen in the Lower Galilee.  The identity of Wawiyat’s final inhabitants remains uncertain, but what is certain is that Israel’s definitive impact on this region was not felt until the Iron Age II.

The excavation was funded by The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, with the support of the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem and the American Schools of Oriental Research.  Funding for publication is provided by a grant from The Shelby White – Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publications.  I am currently working with Dessel (University of Tennesse) on the site publication.

 

 

 

Research Interests

 

  • Archaeology of Western Asia
  • Women in antiquity
  • Women working in Near Eastern archaeology
  • Biblical studies and biblical Hebrew
  • Religion in Canaan and Israel
  • Israel in the Iron Age and later periods
  • Israelite ethnogenesis
  • Household religion

 

 

 

Beth Alpert Nakhai's picture

Contact Information

Associate Professor of Anthropology (Judaic Studies)
Telephone: 520-626-5762
Fax: 520-626-5767
Office: Louise Foucar Marshall Bldg, Room 420
Office Hours: Tuesday/Thursday 2:00-3:00 and by appointment

Degree(s)

Ph.D., The University of Arizona

         Syro-Palestinian Archaeology; Biblical Studies. Department of Near Eastern Studies. 1993

M.A., The University of Arizona

          Syro-Palestinian Archaeology; Biblical Studies. Department of Oriental Studies. 1985

M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School

            Old Testament; New Testament. 1979

B.A., Connecticut College

           Government. 1972

 

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