Yizhar Hirschfeld, a leading Israeli archaeologist and the director of the excavations at Tiberias and Ramat Hanadiv, died on November 16, 2006, in Jerusalem from complications of a stroke. He was 57 years old.
Dr. Hirschfeld was an associate professor in the classical archaeology department of the Institute for Archaeology at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he had taught since 1989.
Hirschfeld was born at Kibbutz Beth Keshet in 1950. His archaeological field work began at Emmaus in 1974-1975, where he was the excavation and survey director. He received his Ph.D. in 1987 from Hebrew University after completing a dissertation on the Judean Desert monasteries of the Byzantine period and later studied at Yale, where he won the Rothschild award for post-doctoral studies in 1988.
He was an expert in Greco-Roman and Byzantine archaeology and led, or participated in, more than a dozen excavations during his 30-year career, including Herodium, where he was a survey director, and Ein Gedi. He was twice awarded a research fellowship from Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. and was the recipient of several grants, including the Leon Levy and Shelby White publication award in 2004. He wrote dozens of books and articles, including Qumran in Context: Reassessing the Archaeological Evidence (Hendrickson, 2004).
The funeral ceremony was held at Ma’ale Ha-hamisha outside of Jerusalem, where family and colleagues celebrated his life. He is survived by his father, a brother, a sister and three daughters.
Condolences to the family may be sent to Shulamit Miller.
Articles in BAS Publications:
Spirituality in the Desert: Judean Wilderness Monasteries, BAR 21:05, Sep/Oct 1995
Tiberias: Preview of Coming Attractions, BAR 17:02, Mar/Apr 1991
Sumptuous Roman Baths Uncovered Near Sea of Galilee, BAR 10:06, Nov/Dec 1984