School of Archaeology & Maritime Cultures

The newly founded School of Archaeology and Maritime Cultures at the University of Haifa, headed by Prof. Israel Finkelstein, is a game changer in the study and research of the field of archaeology in Israel and beyond. The school is centered at the front of the development of modern archaeology, utilizing Exact and Natural sciences for the study of the past and facing the challenges of the preservation of human heritage and material culture. The school consists of four departments; The Department of Archaeology, the Department of Maritime Civilizations, the Department of Archaeological Sciences, and the Department of Conservation of Material Culture. The latter three departments can only be found in Israel at the University of Haifa, and the combination of all four departments, which deal with all aspects of the field of archaeology, can seldom be found anywhere in the world. The uniqueness of the school is in the synergy between all four departments which offers unprecedented study and research opportunities under one umbrella. The school has the largest concentration of archaeological researchers out of any other academic institution in Israel, which also includes cutting edge infrastructures for study and research.

Tel Dor
A 4,000 year old coastal city and port, excavated on land and underwater
The Tabun Cave
One of the longest sequences of human occupation in the Levant



The Department of Archaeology is committed to advancing and transforming our understanding of the past landscape, material culture and history of Israel through innovative research and teaching. The Department’s research and teaching span three main periods: prehistory, with a focus on the world-class prehistoric sites of Mount Carmel; the Biblical period (Bronze and Iron Ages) with an emphasis on coastal cultures, such as the Phoenicians; and the classical and medieval periods, including Second Temple, Mishnaic and Talmudic, Early Islamic and Crusader times. Faculty members are working at key excavation sites in Israel, such as the prehistoric caves on Mount Carmel, the port town of Dor, Roman Beth Shearim and Banias, the town of Shivta in the Negev desert and the medieval Montfort castle.

The Department offers BA, MA and PhD degrees. Students graduate with practical training in archaeological excavations and surveys. The Department also trains highly skilled personnel for employment with the Antiquities Authority and museums, teaching in schools and working in the tourism industry in Israel and abroad.



The Department of Maritime Civilizations is the only department of its kind in Israel. Founded 50 years ago, it conducts underwater exploration along the Israeli coast, which has one of the densest concentrations of shipwrecks in the Mediterranean. 

The Department explores the interrelations between humans and the Mediterranean Sea through the interlocking disciplines of underwater and coastal archaeology, geology and geoarchaeology, history and ecology. The research focuses on 11,000 years of human maritime adaptation in Israel, addressing questions of trade, migration, ship and harbor technology, historic sea level changes and coastal environments. Its interdisciplinary studies build on the unparalleled wealth of coastal and underwater sites in Israel, from sunken Neolithic villages to Bronze and Iron Age anchorages and ship cargoes, Roman and Byzantine ports and shipwrecks, and medieval maritime activity.

The Department is recognized as one of the leading underwater archaeology institutions in the world, and works in close cooperation with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. Faculty members are currently working on underwater exploration of submerged Neolithic villages, the Bronze Age site of Kabri on the coast north of Haifa, underwater Bronze and Iron Age cargoes and an Early Islamic shipwreck south of Haifa. The Department offers MA and PhD degrees in Hebrew and English; both programs include rigorous field training in underwater and coastal archaeology, as well as laboratory research in related fields.

Ma‘agan Mikhael B Shipwreck
Underwater excavation of an 8th century CE ship



The Department of Conservation of Material Culture (opening October 2022) will focus on utilizing best practices in conservation science and methods for the protection of cultural heritage. Our graduates will play a vital role in protecting and preserving the art, objects and historic sites that tell the story of our lives, history, and society. This is the only department of its kind in Israel.

The Department will address challenges such as climate change and development pressures, protection of cultural heritage on land and underwater, recording methods, the future of museums and novel ways of interacting with local and global policy makers and shareholders. Students will receive classroom instruction as well as hands-on training in the field and in the lab.



The Department of Archaeological Sciences (opening in 2023) seeks to achieve the highest standards of excellence in exact science driven archaeological research and teaching. By integrating exact and life sciences into archaeology studies, we will gain a better understanding of past societies.

The School is responding to the growing need for archaeologists to gather and analyze quantitative data needed to solve archaeological puzzles and overturn the archaeological consensus of the last several decades. From microscopic investigation of sediments, work on molecular residues in ceramic containers and investigating movement of people according to stable isotopes in teeth, to studying ancient metallurgy and human involvement with animals and plants, new tools are transforming the field of archaeology. Students will be able to earn graduate degrees in both Hebrew and English.

Current members of the faculty specialize in geo-archaeology, archaeo-zoology and archaeo-metallurgy. The University plans to recruit four new faculty members to expand key research areas, including botanical archaeology, archaeological bio/ geo-chemistry, and archaeological organic residues and materials.

Come study about our past in the best way possible. Join the School of Archaeology and Maritime Cultures, Israel’s leading institution for the study and research of archaeology!