Emet Prize Laureates

Prof. Yoram Tsafrir

Hebrew University of Jerusalem
2014 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Humanities
In Field: Archaeology


Prof. Yoram Tsafrir

Jury Statement

“The EMET prize is awarded to Prof. Yoram Tsafrir for his achievements in the study of the archaeology and historical geography of the Roman and Late Antique periods, and for establishing a research method that combines field work with textual studies.”


Prof. Yoram Tsafrirwas born in 1938 in Kfar Azar. He began his career in archaeology before his formal university studies, serving as a volunteer in surveys and excavations in the Negev and the Judean Desert. After his military service he was among the founders of Kibbutz Or-Haner and later of the School for Field Studies at Sde-Boker. He began his studies at the Hebrew University in 1961 in the departments of Archaeology and Ancient Jewish History. He was awarded his BA, MA and PhD degrees summa cum laude. His PhD dissertation was dedicated to Zion – The Southwestern Hill of Jerusalem and its Place in the Urban Development of the City in the Byzantine Period. In the Six Day War in 1967, while a student, he was severely wounded in both legs and subsequently underwent multiple surgeries. He was appointed Lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University in 1969, Senior Lecturer in 1976, Assistant Professor in 1981 and Professor in 1987. He served as Head of the Institute of Archaeology and for five years as Director of the National Library. He acted as Director of the Institute for the Studies of Eretz Israel at Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi and as a member of the board of directors of the Archaeological Survey of Israel. He is a member of the Governmental Naming Committee of Israel.

Most of his studies have been dedicated to the archaeology of the Roman and Byzantine periods (from the destruction of the Second Temple to the Islamic conquest). He has directed (sometimes co-directed) excavations at En Arrub, Rehovot in the Negev, Horvat Berachot, Sartaba-Alexandrion, Bet Loya and other sites. For almost twenty years he was a co-director of the Hebrew University’s excavations at Bet-Shean (Roman Scythopolis). His research and publications focus on the study of Jerusalem, Christian churches, the historical geography of Eretz-Israel and urbanism in the Roman-Byzantine and Early Islamic periods. He has published seven books and more than 200 articles in these fields.

He                was awarded the Frend Medal from the Society of Antiquaries of London for his important contributions to the study of the early Church. In 1976 he received the Gen. Itzhak Sadeh prize for military literature for his book Injury – the story of his injury and recovery in the Six DayWar.