Tel-Aviv University historian and BAR author Itamar Singer died in September after a long illness. He was 65.
Singer retired in 2006 from his position as professor in Tel-Aviv University’s Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures. His primary scholarly interests were geography and international relations in the 13th-century B.C.E. ancient Near East, and especially the role of the kingdom of Hatti in Anatolia (modern Turkey) and other Hittite settlements in Syria and the Levant. Singer coined the phrase Pax Hethitica to describe this golden age of the Hittite empire.
In the Book of Genesis, the Hittites (or Hethites) are listed as one of the twelve Canaanite nations; they are said to be descended from Heth, son of Canaan, son of Noah’s son Ham. Singer held to the traditional view that Hittites (as well as the Philistines) were among captive Sea Peoples who were moved from the north by Egyptian rulers and resettled along the coast of modern Israel in the 12th century B.C E.*
Itamar Singer was born in Dej, Romania, in 1946 and emigrated to Holon, Israel, with his family in 1958. His first archaeological experience was working under Yohanan Aharoni at Tel Arad during his summer vacation from high school. He went on to participate in excavations at Megiddo, Beersheva, Tel Malhata, Tel Masos and Hanita. In 2010 Singer received the Emet Prize, a prestigious annual award sponsored by the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel.
* See Itamar Singer, “How Did the Philistines Enter Canaan? A Rejoinder,” BAR, November/December 1992.