Amiran, David

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AMIRAN, DAVID (1910–2003), Israeli geographer. Amiran was born in Berlin, Germany. After studying in Berne, Switzerland, he immigrated to Palestine in 1935 and became librarian of the geological department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. During World War ii he was an officer in the Royal Engineers, and on his discharge joined the Palestine Meteorological Service. In 1949 he began teaching geography at the Hebrew University and was appointed a full professor in 1963. From 1956 to 1959 Amiran was director of the Research Council of Israel and of the Negev Institute for Arid Zone Research. In 1961 he founded the Israel Geographic Society and served as its president until 1977. From 1962 to 1968 he was acting chairman of the International Geographical Union's Commission on the Arid Zone and in 1968 became a member of the Union's Commission on Man and Environment. From 1965 to 1968 he was vice president of the Hebrew University. In 1978 he established the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies and served as its director until 1984. In 1977 he was awarded the Israel Prize in the social sciences.

Amiran directed the compilation of the Atlas of Israel (Hebrew edition, 1956–64; English enlarged edition, 1970) and together with A.P. Schick wrote Geographical Conversion Tables (1961). He edited the 1963 edition of R. Roericht's Bibliotheca Geographica Palestinae and for unescoLand Use in Semi-arid Mediterranean Climates (Arid Zone Research, vol. 26, 1964). Amiran published over 120 books and articles in various fields of geography, among them several which summarized the whole field. His work contributed to the discipline in diverse areas, such as physical and human geography. One of his major fields of study was the desert, which he studied in Israel as well as in other places around the world. His specialization in desert studies led the governments of Peru and Brazil to invite him to carry out studies for them. His wife ruth (1914– ), an archaeologist, served as a staff member of the Hazor expedition (1955–58) and also excavated tumuli west of Jerusalem (1953), Tell Nagila (1962–63), Arad (with Y. Aharoni; 1962–66), the Citadel of David in Jerusalem (1968– ), etc. She is a coauthor of Hazor, 3 vols. (1958–61) and published Ancient Pottery of the Holy Land (1970), a comprehensive study of ancient pottery in Ereẓ Israel. She was appointed field archaeologist to the Israel Museum. In 1982 she was awarded the Israel Prize for archaeology.