Meeting in honor of Ami Mazar

As I had written a few days ago, yesterday there was a meeting at Hebrew University in honor of Ami Mazar’s retirement. It was a moving and beautiful get together in which students, colleagues and friends of Ami, presented a series of talks on topics related to Ami work, along with a large crowd of other students, colleagues, friends and admirers of Ami. In all the talks there was a feeling of how much everyone truly appreciated, and loved, Ami – as well as respecting him as a one of the leading figures in the archaeology of the ancient Levant. All the talks, save one, were in Hebrew, so at Jeff Chadwick’s suggestion, below is a brief summary of the papers that were given:
1) Uri Davidovitz (HU): spoke about the relationship between the Chalcolithic temple at Ein Gedi and a series of caves in the this region which were used in the Chalcolithic period, whether for living or refuge, which were discovered in surveys and excavations in the region. Without getting into the details of his argument, he claims that one should not connect between the temple and Nahal Mishmar hoard.
2) Zvi Lederman (Beth Shemesh Project): spoke about the border between Philistia and Judah during the Iron Age and showed quite convincingly how a set of material culture markers (including pottery, diet and other aspects) enables one to define the border between the Philistine and Israelite (and in some cases, Canaanite) influenced regions.
3) Your truly (BIU): after speaking for a few moments of my strongly emotional feelings about Ami (and totally embarrassing him…), I gave a paper which summarized what is new in the study of Philistine cult since Ami’s excavations at Tell Qasile, stressing the discovery of new temples (including the apparent temple at Safi) and the now very widely appearing phenomenon of domestic cult throughout the Iron Age in Philistia.
4) Ronnie Reich (Haifa): proposed a new dating for the so-called Hezekiah tunnel. Due to his dating of a feature which he claims is the origin of the tunnel to the late 9th/early 8th centuries (“the round pool”), he believes that the tunnel could only have been made at a time earlier than Hezekiah. If I may note, now that there is a suggestion to date this tunnel to after Hezekiah (as I mentioned here) and now this suggestion to before, I think a defense of poor Hezekiah is required…
5) Nava Panitz-Cohen (HU): Nava, who is Ami’s chief assistant and collaborator for many years, have an excellent, and extremely funny paper describing working with Ami from the field to the final publication. Probably the most enjoyable paper of the evening.
6) At the beginning of the 2nd session, Stuart Silbert, a longtime supporter of the HU Institute of Archaeology, talked about his long-time relationship with Ami.
7) Shlomo Bunmovitz (TAU): gave a talk on where, and from what culture, did the Philistine originate from. He stressed that although much of the former, and present research suggests that the Philistine’s derive from the Mycenaean culture, he stressed that other origins are more likely, particularly from the eastern Aegean and Cyprus.
8) Naama Yahalom-Mack (HU): spoke about the evidence for metallurgy at Beth Shean and Tel Rehov and its apparent connection to Egyptian metallurgical practices, and the significance for understanding the technologies, and their control, in the LB and early Iron Age.
9) Tali Ornan (HU): spoke on the iconographic representations of women figures and trees in cultic stands from Rehov and various other sites. Among others she raised the very interesting and important point that the image of the tree in ANE art does not alway refer only to a female deity, but it can relate as well to a male deity.
10) Israel Finkelstein (TAU): reviewed the long debate that Ami and Israel have had on the chronology of the Iron Age, and, bottom line, suggested that they have both now reached the point where they have almost met in the middle. Time will tell…
11) And finally, Ami himself gave a truly moving and beautiful talk in which he reviewed what he very nicely called as his “first stage of his professional career in archaeology”.

A truly fitting event for a truly special person.
We all wish Ami many, many more years, of health, happiness and archaeology!


5 thoughts on “Meeting in honor of Ami Mazar

  1. Achish Melek Gat

    Thanks, Aren, for that summary. It was one of the better one day conferences I’ve ever attended, and although it was entirely in Hebrew (and therefore a challenge for folks like me) it was quite enlightening and thoroughly enjoyable. And thank you Ami for your remarkable contributions and a remarkable career, which we hope now is only entering its second phase.



  2. Aren, Naama’a comments had me thinking about the recent Albright conference, where it was claimed that the “Egyptian temple” was not Egyptian because they did not have this scientific industry; only simpler processes. “Smelting does not appear in their images”; “they only controlled it.” She is saying they were quite advanced. Do her findings contradict that paper’s position, in your opinion?


  3. arenmaeir

    What Uzi Avner said is that no copper mining and extraction has been identified at copper mines, save for Timnah. We do have clear evidence of Egyptian metallurgy – but not at any of the copper mining sites.


  4. Bill Schniedewind

    Dear Aren,

    Thanks for your summary of the meeting in honor of Ami. Ami Mazar was my first archaeology teacher — both in the classroom and in the field — and I have the highest regard for him as a teacher, a scholar, and a person. It is very nice to hear about this meeting in honor of his retirement. I wish him the very best.

    Bill Schniedewind


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