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Yuval Yekutieli | "Who killed the people from Cave 3?"

13 September 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Organized by: MIT Department of Architecture
Venue: MIT, Room 7-429
77 Massachusetts Avenue
MIT, Room 7-429
Cambridge, MA 02139


Long Lounge/7-429

September 13th, 12:00 PM



Who killed the people from Cave 3? Competing archaeological narratives at the Judean Desert


In the early 1960s top Israeli archaeologists were taken on a state-sponsored mission of rescuing ancient scrolls, supposedly hidden in the Judean Desert caves from looting. One team of archaeologists managed climbing three extremely hard-to-access wineries hanging over the cliffs of Nahal Mishmar (Mishmar canyon). In these wineries they were amazed to discover unique archaeological treasures, more children, women and men. A forensic investigation discovered that these individuals died from severe violence, hundreds of thousands of years ago. Who were these people? Why and when did they die? Who buried them in this almost inaccessible place?


Throughout the years, various proposals have been made to explain this unresolved mystery, which are deeply embedded within some meta-narratives of modern Israeli society.The talk will debate the issue and its significance for the question of competing archaeological narratives.



Yuval Yekuteli will be joined by Mark Jarzombek for a discussion and Q & A.


This talk is sponsored by MISTI Israel as part of the 2019 'Digital Archeology, Virtual Narratives' Design-Research Workshop.




Yuval Yekutieli is a senior lecturer at the Department of Bible, Archeology and Ancient Near East at Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev. He did BA and PhD at BGU, and MA at Tel Aviv University. Yuval was a visiting scholar at NYU (2008-9), the head of the BGU's Archeology Division (2011-2013), and a visiting scholar at Oxford University (2015).


His fieldwork is conducted in Israel. His main current research, supported by the Israel Science Foundation, studies the Egyptian Colony in Southwest Canaan in the Early Bronze Age 1. As part of this project, he co-directs (together with Polish partners of the Jagiellonian University) an international team in The renewed excavations of Tel Erani, and a BGU team at the site of Mitzpe Sde-Hafir in the Negev Highlands. In previous years he conducted a survey in southern Judean Desert, studied the late New Kingdom mining social landscape at the Timna copper mines, and directed many salvage excavations.


Levantine Early Bronze Age, ancient colonialism, proto-urbanism, arid-zones archeology, landscape archeology, operation of power in antiquity, Social Aspects of Bronze Age iconography, and the so-called "Early Bronze Age Aniconic Reformation".