ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 263

Promoted Article The Times of Israel - Promoted Content University of Haifa International

The University of Haifa Presents: Dig, Dive and Discover!

University of Haifa’s School of Archaeology and Maritime Cultures (SAMC) has launched a new science-oriented international master’s program in archaeological research

The first of its kind to integrate the full scope of archaeological activities on land, at sea and in the lab under one roof, and building on its globally renowned reputation, University of Haifa’s School of Archaeology and Maritime Cultures (SAMC) has recently launched a new international Master’s program, offering an MSc in Archaeological Sciences.

Home to the largest community of archaeology researchers, state-of-the-art research labs and seven prestigious grants from the European Research Council, SAMC is reshaping archaeology as never before. Its four departments – Archaeology, Maritime Civilizations (underwater and coastal archaeology), Archaeological Sciences and Cultural Heritage, are an exceptionally unique combination world-wide. “Our strength lies both in exposing our students to all sides of archaeology on land, underwater, heritage and the sciences, and in our strong partnerships with the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) and leading universities abroad,” says Prof. Israel Finkelstein, head of SAMC.

Prof. Israel Finkelstein. (Credit: Universitty of Haifa)

Together with the University of Haifa’s International School, SAMC now offers three groundbreaking one-year English-taught International Master’s programs, on land, underwater and in the lab.

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Exploring Archaeological Sciences

Launched just recently, SAMC’s newest international program, awards its graduates an MSc in Archaeological Sciences The program is the first and only one of its kind in Israel offering a science-oriented approach to archaeology within a thesis-based curriculum taught exclusively in English, which can be completed in two years.

“Our main focus is on pushing the knowledge boundaries of ancient civilizations through advanced scientific methods”, says program head Professor Ruth Shahack-Gross. Combining state-of-the-art technology with the extensive archaeological record of the country, students gain opportunities to cutting-edge research and a comprehensive toolkit for versatile career paths. “The rich archaeological record of Israel, our cutting-edge scientific approach and our collaboration with the Technion is what sets our program apart from others,” concludes Shahack-Gross.

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Prof. Ruth Shahack-Gross. (Credit: University of Haifa)

Diving deep into underwater and coastal archaeology

While the archaeology of the mediterranean is relatively well-established, underwater archaeology is still in its infancy – promising challenges and fascinating discoveries.

“When I first saw the shipwreck display at the University of Haifa’s museum I was speechless and realized that I’ve finally found the Master’s program I’ve been waiting for”, says Karsyn Johnson, a Master’s student in Maritime Civilizations (underwater & coastal archaeology) from Oklahoma, USA. Johnson is referring to one of SAMC’s mind-blowing flagship projects: the excavation and reconstruction of a 2,500 years old shipwreck, alongside a replica that students and researchers sail to explore and understand ancient seafaring. This is only a fracture of SAMC’s globally renowned underwater research activities, some in collaboration with the Technion, the University of California in San Diego, the University of Padova and Ca’Foscari University in Italy.

 

“UHaifa International’s Master program in Maritime Civilizations is the only one of its kind in Israel that conducts underwater explorations along the Israeli coast – one of the largest concentrations of shipwrecks in the Mediterranean”, confirms Prof. Nimrod Marom – Head of the Department. “We offer students an exceptional opportunity to understand human-sea interactions in its broader sense, while bringing together different fields such as underwater and coastal archaeology, geology, geoarchaeology, history and ecology. Our historic sea level changes and coastal environments, from sunken Neolithic villages, Bronze and Iron Age anchorages and ship cargoes, Roman and Byzantine ports and shipwrecks, and medieval nautical activity”.

Professor Deborah Cvikel. (Credit: University of Haifa)

Field activities on sea and in the lab are an integral part of the program. They expose students to hands-on applied science, state of the art research methods and technologies, research expedition and under-water excavations, and address challenges of marine studies. This also includes an intriguing seminar dedicated to shipbuilding, held in SAMCS designated lab for ship construction. Headed by Prof. Deborah Cvikel, the lab focuses on ship construction, seamanship and ship handling, based on underwater excavations and research of shipwrecks. Cvickel’s team is also engaged in discovery and conservation of waterlogged wood and organic material from the sea, alongside metal findings from shipwrecks.

The program is exclusively taught in English and can be completed in one year’s time, or can be extended for students who prefer to take the thesis track and pursue a research career. SAMC’s Department of Maritime Civilizations is home to some of the most exciting and high-profile underwater research projects funded by the European Research Council’s most prestigious research grants. The program’s graduates have enjoyed a broad range of career destinations in both academic research and professional roles in private and governmental sectors.

Johnson says the city of Haifa’s unique beach, forest and urban geography, the warmth of the faculty and the unique program curriculum were deal breakers in her decision to pursue her underwater career at UHaifa International. “The program in underwater archaeology was exactly what I wanted to do: learn while diving as much as possible”.

Learn MoreDigging into Archaeology

“Nothing beats the excitement of holding a 200,000 year old fossil deer bone or an ancient flint knife that we revealed while digging”, says Prof. Reuven Yeshurun, from the UHaifa International’s Master’s program in Archaeology. The program incorporates a hands on approach with focus on life-changing events, and processes that shaped humankind over 2 million years. Homo sapiens’ evolution, continent colonization, fire domestication and the agricultural revolution are a few examples of how this program explores humanity, technology, and relationships with the environment.

Prof. Reuven Yeshurun. (Credit: University of Haifa)
Studying archaeology. Credit: University of Haifa

“Reconstructing human history way before written records existed is challenging, and demands state-of-the-art research tools, and a prime location. That’s precisely what we offer our students”, says Dr. Ron Shimelmitz, head of the Master’s Program in Archaeology. Shimelmitz is in fact referring to the University’s unique location on Mount Carmel, one of the world’s most dynamic centers of prehistoric research. Bridging between Europe, Asia, and Africa, this UNESCO World Heritage Site unravels record of over 500,000 years of human evolution, exposed in numerous unique caves, rock shelters and open-air sites.

Dr. Ron Shimelmitz, Credit: University of Haifa

“Mount Carmel is our exclusive natural lab, where students explore and literally dig into world-renown cave and open-air archaeological sites to understand evolutionary events. For example, how modern humans met Neanderthals, why nomadic hunter gatherers chose to settle down, and more” explains Shimelmitz. “We combine theory with unique courses and hands-on experience with fossil animal bones, stone tools, sediments and experimental archaeology. We also enable our students to work in small groups, and to be personally mentored by the best in the field”. Learn more

Cheng Liu. (Credit: Reuven Yeshurun)

The international English-taught Master’s program can be completed in one year, while students interested in a research career can extend their studies and pursue the thesis track. Students become active participants in SAMC’s activities while finding their unique research path. Some have already made significant discoveries, such as exploring how bone beads were made and worn 15,000 years ago, analyzing patterns decorating 7000 year old bowls, or studying hunting habits of Neanderthals 120,000 years ago.

Many of the program’s graduates have pursued prestigious PhD programs at the University of Haifa and in Cambridge, Emory and Rice Universities, backed up by generous scholarships, or have secured positions in the public sector. Cheng Liu, a graduate of the program shares that “the prehistoric archaeology MA program at the University of Haifa provided me with valuable fieldwork opportunities, and the faculty’s dedicated mentorship helped me publish several articles and land my current position as a doctoral researcher.”

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Join the MultiExperience 

International Masters programs offered by University of Haifa’s School of Archaeology and Maritime Cultures (SAMC) are part of 19 English taught programs offered by UHaifa International. Located in a multi-cultural city on top of Mount Carmel with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea, the University of Haifa is Israel’s most diverse, sustainable, affordable and equal opportunity driven academic research center. It’s scholarship options and atmosphere of excellence, sustainability and diversity attract students from over 90 countries to a once in a lifetime opportunity of exploring new cultures, meeting people from all over the world and leveraging new knowledge to a competitive advantage.

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