BAR-YOSEF, OFER (1937– ), Israeli prehistorian of the southern Levant. Born in Jerusalem, Bar-Yosef undertook at the age of 18 his compulsory service with the Israel Defense Forces, and afterwards in 1960 began his studies at the Institute of Archaeology in the Hebrew University, concentrating primarily on prehistoric archaeology, which eventually led to his writing a Ph.D. (1966–70) on the Epi-Palaeolithic cultures of Palestine under the supervision of Moshe *Stekelis. During the 1970s Bar-Yosef taught at the Hebrew University, serving as associate professor between 1973 and 1979 and then as professor from 1979, influencing a generation of students of prehistoric archaeology in Israel.
Having first excavated with Stekelis at the Natufian and Neolithic site of Naḥal Oren in 1959–60, Bar-Yosef went on to participate in two other major projects associated with Stekelis at the important sites of Ubeidiya (1960–66) and Ein Gev i (1963–64). From the 1960s onwards Bar-Yosef directed numerous projects of field research, notably at Hayonim Cave in western Galilee, at Ubeidiya, in various parts of Sinai (including Gebel Maghara, Ain Hudeirah, and Kadesh Barnea), at the Qafzeh Cave at El-Wad Terrace and the Kebara Cave on Mount Carmel, and at the Neolithic site of Netiv Hagdud in the Lower Jordan Valley. Side by side with his continued excavations at Hayonim Cave in the 1990s and early 2000s, Bar-Yosef actively participated in excavations and researched materials from sites situated in different parts of the world: Turkey (Karain and Őkuzini Caves, Mezra'a Tleilat), China (sampling of the Zhoukoudian site, Yuchanyan Cave), Republic of Georgia (Dzudzuana Cave, Kotia's Klde), and the Czech Republic (Stranska Skala).
Bar-Yosef has numerous publications to his credit: 15 books and monographs and close to 300 research papers. He was a co-editor of Geoarchaeology and Eurasian Prehistory and served on the advisory board of numerous prestigious international scientific journals.
From 2005 Bar-Yosef was professor of prehistoric archaeology in the Department of Anthropology, Peabody Museum, Harvard University.
[Shimon Gibson (2nd ed.)]