Aren Maeir, PhD
Professor of Archaeology, Bar Ilan Unversity
Aren Maeir is director of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project. Born in 1958 in Rochester, New York, he moved to Israel in 1969 and has lived there since. Following his service in the Israel Defense Forces (where he reached the rank of captain), he completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (PhD 1997 summa cum laude), and did a post-doctorate (2002-2003) at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at MIT.
Maeir has participated in and directed numerous archaeological excavations in Israel, including the following sites: Jerusalem, Hazor, Yoqneam, Tell Qasile, and Beth-Shean. Since 1996 he has directed the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project, excavating the ancient site of Tell es-Safi, which is identified as Canaanite and Philistine Gath (one of the five cities of the Philistines mentioned in the Bible, the home of Goliath). Maier has said that the Biblical story of Samson includes the features of the two pillars to which Samson was chained, and that these pillars are "a known design element in Philistine temple architecture."
His expertise lies in the Bronze and Iron Age cultures of the Eastern Mediterranean, with special emphasis on those of the Ancient Levant. Among the topics that he has studied are: ancient trade; metallurgy; pottery production and provenience; scientific applications in archaeology; archaeological survey; the archaeology of Jerusalem; The Middle Bronze Age of the Levant; chronology of the 2nd Millennium BCE; the Sea Peoples and the Philistines; relations between Egypt and the Levant; ancient weapons and warfare; ancient cult and religion.
Between 2005 and 2007 he served as the Chairman of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar Ilan University. Along with Professor Steve Weiner of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, he initiated and co-directed the now defunct joint Bar Ilan University/Weizmann Institute of Science program in Archaeological Science.