James R. Wiseman Chair in Classical Archaeology, Professor of Archaeology and Religion


Berlin Archaeology

Levantine Ceramics Project (LCP)

LCP Video

Areas of Interest

Archaeology and history of the Achaemenid; Hellenistic, and Roman East, Ceramic Studies; Second-Temple Judaism; archaeology of Israel

Excavations and Fieldwork

I have been excavating in the eastern Mediterranean since 1973, working on projects from Troy, in Turkey to Coptos, in southern Egypt.  I focus on the eras of the later ancient empires: the Achaemenid Persians, Alexander the Great and his Hellenistic successors, and the Romans.  I am especially interested in understanding the realities of daily life under these regimes, and in exploring the intersection of politics and cultural change in antiquity.  Currently I am working on the publication of the Persian period levels of an administrative compound at Tel Kedesh in northern Israel, whose excavations I have co-directed since 1997, as well as Hellenistic pottery from Sardis and its hinterland, in western Turkey.

Member, Editorial Boards

Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research and Tel Aviv.

Awards and Honors

2021 P.E. MacAllister Field Archaeology Award, ASOR/American Schools of Overseas Research.

2010-11, National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Fellow, Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem

2009, Archaeological Institute of America Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

2008, Martha Sharp Joukowsky Lecturer, Archaeological Institute of America

2002, Horace T. Morse-University of Minnesota Alumni Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching

Representative Publications


2021  The Middle Maccabees. Archaeology, History, and the Rise of the Hasmonean Kingdom. Co-edited with Paul J. Kosmin. SBL Archaeology and Biblical Studies. SBL Press: Atlanta.

2019  Spear-Won Land: Sardis, from the King’s Peace to the Peace of Apamea. Co-edited with Paul J. Kosmin. University of Wisconsin Press: Madison.

2012 Tel Anafa II, ii. Glass Vessels, Lamps, Objects of Metal, and Groundstone and Other Stone Tools and Vessels. Co-edited with Sharon C. Herbert. Kelsey Museum Fieldwork Studies, Ann Arbor, MI.

2006 Gamla. Final Reports, Volume I: The Pottery of the Second Temple Period. Israel Antiquities Authority Reports no.29.  Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem

2003 Excavations at Coptos (Qift) (1988-1992). Co-authored with Sharon C. Herbert. Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series 53. Portsmouth, RI

2002 The First Jewish Revolt: Archaeology, History, and Ideology, co-edited with J. Andrew Overman.  Routledge, London.

1997 Excavations at Tel Anafa, vol. II,i.  The Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Plain Wares. Journal of Roman Archaeology supplementary series vol. 10.2 Portsmouth, RI.

Selected Articles

2021  “A Tale of Two Places: Hellenistic Sardis and Its Rural Surroundings,” in Exploring the neighborhood. The role of ceramics in understanding place in the Hellenistic world. I. Kamenjarin and M. Ugarković, eds. Proceedings of the 3rd Conference of IARPotHP, Kaštela,1st-4th June 2017 (Wien). Pp. 549-557.

2021  “The Achaemenid-Ptolemaic Transition: The View from Southern Phoenicia,” in Times of Transition. Judea in the Early Hellenistic Period. Sylvie Honigman, Christophe Nihan, and Oded Lipshits, eds. Mosaics 1. Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University Press and Eisenbrauns: University Park PA. Pp. 143-159.

2021  “Phoenician Cedar Oil from Amphoriskoi at Tel Kedesh: Implications Concerning Its Production, Use, and Export during the Hellenistic Age,” co-authored with Andrew J. Koh and Sharon C. Herbert, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 385.

2019  “A Persian Period Bulla from Tel Qedesh, Israel and Its Implications for Relations between Tyre and Nippur,” co-authored with Baruch Brandl and Xiaoli Ouyang. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 382. Pp. 211-241.

2019  “At Home on Board: the Kyrenia Ship and the goods of its crew,” in A. Peignard-Giros, ed. Daily Life in a Cosmopolitan World: Pottery and Culture in the Hellenistic Period, Proceedings of the 2nd Conference of the International Association for Research on Pottery of the Hellenistic Period, Lyon 2015. Phoibos Verlag: Vienna. Pp. 563-571.

2018  “Land/Homeland, Story/History: the Social Landscapes of the Southern Levant from Alexander to Augustus,” in The Cambridge Social Archaeology of the Levant from Prehistory to the Present. A. Yasur-Landau, E. Cline, and Y. Rowan, eds. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 410-437.

2018  “Ends and Beginnings: Political Change and Daily Life at Sardis in Late Classical and Early Hellenistic Times.” In Archaic and Classical Western Anatolia: New Perspectives in Ceramic Studies. R. Gül Gürtekin Demir et al., eds. Colloquia Antiqua 19. Peeters: Leiden. Pp. 1-20.

2016  “Not So Fast: Ceramic Conservatism and Change at Sardis in the Early Hellenistic Period.” In Traditions and Innovations. Tracking the Development of Pottery from the Late Classical to the Early Imperial Periods. S. Japp and P. Kögler, eds. IARPotHP 1. Phoibos Verlag, Vienna. Pp. 351-58.

2015  “Hellenistic Period (332-63 BCE).” In The Ancient Pottery of Israel and its Neighbors from the Iron Age through the Hellenistic Period, S. Gitin, ed. Israel Exploration Society, Jerusalem. Pp. 629-671.

2015  “Herod, Augustus, and the Augusteum at the Paneion,” Eretz Israel 31. Pp. 1*-11*.

2014  “Herod the Tastemaker.” Near Eastern Archaeology 77.2. Pp. 108-119.

2014  “Household Judaism.” In Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Mishnaic Periods 100 BCE – 200 CE. Vol. 1: Life, Culture, and Society. D. Fiensy and J. Strange, eds. Fortress Press, Minneapolis MN. Pp. 208-15.

2013  “Something old, something new: Native cultures under Ptolemaic rule,” Networks in the Hellenistic World. N. Fenn and C. Römer-Strehl, eds. BAR International Series 2539. Archaeopress, Oxford. Pp. 229-37.

2013  “Manifest Identity: from Ioudaios to Jew. Household Judaism as anti-Hellenization in the late Hasmonean era,” Between Cooperation and Hostility: Multiple Identities in Ancient Judaism and the Interaction with Foreign Powers. R. Albertz and J. Wöhrle (eds.). Journal of Ancient Judaism Supplements. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen. Pp. 151-75.

2012 “Identity Politics in Early Roman Galilee,” The Jewish Revolt Against Rome: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism vol. 154. M. Popovic, ed. Brill, Leiden. Pp. 69-106.

2012 “The Sanctuary of Mizpe Yammim: Phoenician Cult and Territory in the Upper Galilee during the Persian Period,” with Rafael Frankel. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 366. Pp. 25-78.

2012 “Excavating Tel Kedesh: The Story of a Site and a Project.” Co-authored with Sharon C. Herbert. Archaeology 65.3. Pp. 24-29.

2012 “Artifacts and Applications: Computational Thinking for Archaeologists,” Center for the Study of Architecture Newsletter XXV.2. (For article on line click here)

2005 “Jewish Life Before the Revolt: The Archaeological Evidence,” Journal for the Study of Judaism 36.4. Pp. 417-70.

2003 “Going Greek: Atticizing Pottery in an Achaemenid World.” Co-authored with Kathleen Lynch. Studia Troica 12. Pp. 167-78.

2003 “Ilion Before Alexander: A Ritual Deposit of the Fourth Century B.C.,” Studia Troica 12. Pp. 131-65.

2003 “A New Administrative Center for Persian and Hellenistic Galilee: Preliminary Report of the University of Michigan/University of Minnesota Excavations at Tel Kedesh.” Co-authored with Sharon C. Herbert, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 329. Pp. 13-59.

2002 “Ptolemaic Agriculture, ‘Syrian Wheat,’ and Triticum aestivum.” Co-authored with Terry Ball, Robert Thompson, and Sharon S. Herbert. Journal of Archaeological Science 30.1. Pp. 115-21.

1999 “Studies in Hellenistic Ilion: The Lower City. Stratified Assemblages and Chronology,” Studia Troica 9. Pp. 73-157.

1999 “The Archaeology of Ritual: The Sanctuary of Pan at Banias/Caesarea Philippi,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 315. Pp. 27-46.

1997 “Between Large Forces: Palestine in the Hellenistic Period,” Biblical Archaeologist 60.1. Pp. 2-57.

For samples of student work from Professor Berlin’s classes, go to:

Archaeology Students Speak