The Zinman Institute of Archaeology was established in 1988 through the generosity of Betty Zinman and her late husband-Philip Zinman of Florida, loyal friends of the University of Haifa
. Because of the location of the Institute in a university on top of Mount Carmel, adjoining the northern coastal plain, the valleys, and close to the Galilee and the Golan, it was only natural that its principal aim would be to investigate all periods of antiquity of northern Israel - all the various periods of this past.
In the short space from its establishment, the Zinman institute has left its stamp on archaeological activity in the north of Israel. Its researchers have been involved in a significant number of excavations, surveys, and theoretical studies.
In early 1999, the Institute moved to its new facilities, a refurbished complex of laboratories, study rooms and offices conducive to research and teaching.
Recently, the Institute announced of the building of new additional labs and workshops to facilitate the ever expanding research demands.
Today the Zinman Archaeological Institute is the leading institution in its field in the North of Israel. Institute researchers have been working since its establishment on excavations and surveys of Mount Carmel, the northern coast of Israel, the Jezreel Valley, and the Galilee Mountains. In addition to work in the field, research is carried out in the library and in the Institute's various laboratories. The chronological framework of the Institute's activity includes the Prehistoric periods, the Biblical period of the Bronze and Iron Ages, the Classical period, covering the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine eras, the Early Arab periods and finally the Middle Ages.
Prehistoric research seeks to trace some of the major developments that occurred along the trail of human evolution: the domestication of fire and the irrevocable changes it wrought, the appearance of religion and cultic practices associated with death, the transition from hunter-gatherers to food producing economies, the shift to sedentary settlements and the subsequent emergence of urbanism - all prior to written history.
Within Israel's borders we find records of ca. two million years of human evolution. Main research programs include three prehistoric caves on Mount Carmel: Tabun, where nealy 1,000,000 years of evolution are recorded, El-Wad, a landmark in the transition to agriculture and Misliya Cave dating to over 400,000 years. Among other projects are the ones in Raqefet Cave, Nesher-Ramle Qaurry, Misliya Cave and Tel Tsaf.
Writing originated in Mesopotamia and Egypt some 5,000 years ago, a time that also saw the beginning of the Biblical period. Biblical archaeology provides insights into the texts that have survived and tries to understand economic and political relations, trade routes and everyday life maintained by the peoples mentioned in them.
Researchers of the biblical period have explored, among others, Tel Dor, Al-Ahwatt, Tel Assawir and Tel Shikmona. In addition, the Institute has been carrying out a comprehensive survey in the Carmel, Samaria and the Arabah regions.
The Classical period ushered in by the confrontation between Eastern and Western cultures in the fourth century BCE saw the development of modern, planned cities and transportation networks. Archaeologists seek to understand the patterns characteristic of this East-West interaction during the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. The central sites where Institute researchers have been digging include Caesarea, Sha'ar Ha'amakim, Hippos (Sussita), Horvat Katzion and Tel Shikmona.
The Zinman Institute of Archaeology is home to nine full time research fellows, over 20 associate research fellows and more than 50 post graduate research students who investing their research efforts within the frame work of the four major chronological periods, i.e. Prehistoric, Biblical, Classical and Middle-Ages.
The Zinman Institute of Archaeology
University of Haifa
199 Aba-Hushi Avenue