Meet Our Faculty: Dr. Dvir Raviv

Meet Dr. Dvir Raviv, 35, a teaching associate at the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University, who has recently published his exciting findings about a newly discovered Hasmonean-Herodian Fortress in Judaea.His documentation of the Artabba fortress, which appeared in the Israel Exploration Journal (IEJ 68 (1), sheds light on settlement activity in northern Judea during the Second Temple period. "This is important since many historians have questioned the historic authenticity of Maccabees 1 and Flavius Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews with regard to the early stages of the Hasmonean period," explains Raviv. "This fortress and the other archaeological finds support the historical narrative that there was indeed a Maccabean revolt and a Hasmonean state already under the rule of Jonathan and Simon, the Hasmoneans."

Raviv recalls being summoned by a fellow tour guide to see antiquities exposed by chance during development works carried out by residents of a nearby Palestinian village.  "These monumental remains include fortifications, architectural elements, openings of five huge cisterns, ritual baths and storage pits as well as numerous potsherds from the Hasmonean and Herodian periods."  He relays that due to geopolitical considerations, Israeli archaeologists are often precluded from conducting complete archaeological field surveys in these areas, and must make do with just documenting finds.

But even with such constraints, BIU's Dr. Dvir Raviv is undeterred. "My goal is to show the public antiquities from many different periods, including the Second Temple – the peak of settlement activity in the ancient Judean province."

Raviv, who served as an IDF officer in the Armored Corps, grew up in Kedumim – the first Jewish town in modern-day Samaria. An experienced tour guide and co-author of The Samaria Travel Guide, Raviv, who obtained all three academic degrees at the department at BIU , is well acquainted with the rich archaeological remains and the terrain in Judea and Samaria, an area awash in Biblical history.

He wrote his PhD thesis, "Southern Samaria during the Hellenistic and Roman periods in light of archaeological surveys," under the supervision of then-department head Prof. Boaz Zissu.  A member of the department's academic faculty since 2015,  and former department field trips coordinator, Raviv leads students and private groups on trips throughout the country, sharing with them his knowledge and passion for Eretz Israel.

"I have only good things to say about the department," notes Raviv, who collaborates with researchers from other universities and is often asked to participate in excavations in these regions. "As early as my very first year as a student here, I was impressed by the familial and accepting atmosphere and by the fact that Land of Israel studies and archaeology are uniquely united under one roof – which gives you a wider perspective and a more interdisciplinary academic approach than you would normally have at other institutions."

For more information about BIU's Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology click here