Professor Dan Barag of the Hebrew University, and longtime president and chairman of the Israel Numismatic Society, died in mid-November 2009, at age 74.
His research focused on the material culture of the southern Levant from the classical period on, with special interest in ancient glassmaking, as well as Jewish and Palestinian numismatics. Born in London in 1935, Barag grew up in Tel Aviv. As a youth, Barag joined Yigael Yadin’s excavations at Tel Hazor. In 1956, after his military service, he moved to Jerusalem to pursue studies in archaeology at the Hebrew University, where he completed his Ph.D. in 1970. His unpublished doctoral dissertation on glass vessels in ancient Palestine is still considered the best reference work on the subject.
Barag excavated numerous sites on behalf of the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums and later led a joint expedition at the synagogue of Ein Gedi, which unfortunately remains unpublished. He has studied and published the finds from others’ excavations, including Ashdod, Hanita, Nahariya and Masada.
In addition to ancient glassmaking, Barag’s other passion was numismatics. His expertise ranged from the Hellenistic period to the Bar-Kokhba Revolt and through the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem. He took over as head of the Israel Numismatic Society in 1975 and remained there for nearly 30 years. He also revived the society’s stagnant English-language Israel Numismatic Journal, whose last volume (its third) had been published in 1965/1966. Barag took over as its editor, publishing the fourth volume in 1980, and continued until his death, near the completion of volume 17.