Aharoni, Yoḥanan

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AHARONI, YOḤANAN (1919–1976), Israeli archaeologist. Aharoni, born in Germany, settled in Palestine in 1933 and was a member of kibbutz Allonim from 1938 to 1947. From 1948 to 1950 he served in the Israeli Army. He was inspector in Galilee for the Department of Antiquities from 1950 to 1955. An archaeological survey conducted by him in Upper Galilee shed new light on the early Israelite settlement during the Early Iron Age. Among his activities during that period were the first explorations in the caves of the Judean Desert, a preliminary archaeological survey of *Masada, and excavations at Kedesh in Galilee and Tel Ḥarashim near Peki'in in Upper Galilee. Aharoni served for four seasons as a staff archaeologist on the *Hazor expedition. He became a research fellow at the Hebrew University and rose to the rank of associate professor (1966). At *Ramat Raḥel he uncovered the remains of an impressive Judean citadel. Aharoni also participated in two seasons of intensive exploration of the caves in the Judean Desert (1960–61). From 1963 to 1967 he conducted five seasons of excavation on the Iron Age fortress at Tel *Arad. Subsequently, Aharoni investigated the small temple at *Lachish for comparisons with that at Arad and found there an older Israelite shrine. In 1968 he became chairman of the department of ancient Near Eastern studies at Tel Aviv University and director of the Institute for Archaeology. In 1969 he commenced the excavation of Tel Be'er Sheva (Tell el-Sabï), the site of the biblical *Beer-Sheba. Besides his numerous articles in the field of historical geography, he wrote Hitnaḥalut Shivtei Yisrael ba-Galil ha-Elyon (1967) on the settlement of Israelite tribes in Upper Galilee, and the comprehensive study Ereẓ Yisrael bi-Tekufat ha-Mikra (1962; The Land of the Bible, 1967). His Hebrew work, Atlas Karta bi-Tekufat ha-Mikra (Jerusalem, 1964), was combined with a complementary work by M. Avi-Yonah to form The Macmillan Bible Atlas (New York, 1968). Aharoni was joint editor of the Encyclopaedia Judaica' s department on the historical geography of Ereẓ Israel.

[Anson Rainey]