Meet Our Staff
A wide variety of individuals and organizations make the Jezreel Valley Regional Project run. These include the directors, staff, field team members, cooperating excavation projects, and research associates.
Matthew J. Adams
Director, Jezreel Valley Regional Project
Director, W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research
University of Hawai'i, Classics Faculty
Matthew received his PhD in History from the Pennsylvania State University in 2007, specializing in Egyptology and Near Eastern Archaeology. He has more than 25 seasons of excavation experience at sites in Egypt and Israel. While he has broad interests in space and time throughout the ancient world, his primary research focus is on the development of urban communities in 3rd Millennium Egypt and Levant. In addition to directing the JVRP, he is also Co-Director of the Tel Aviv University Megiddo Expedition and a member of the Penn State excavations at Mendes, Egypt. He is also President of the non-profit organization, American Archaeology Abroad. As of June 2014 he took over the Directorship of the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem.
Rangar H. Cline
Associate Professor, University of Oklahoma
Rangar is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He earned his Ph.D. at Penn State in 2005, and his recent book, Ancient Angels (Brill, 2011), examines literary, epigraphic, and archaeological evidence related to angel veneration in late antiquity. His current research examines the economics of pilgrimage, in particular the production and consumption of pilgrims' goods and services, the impact of pilgrimage on local and regional economies, and trade routes in late antiquity. He has worked on archaeological projects in Israel, Greece, and Italy.
Susan L. Cohen
Co-Director of Tell Abu Shusha Excavations
Professor and Department Chair, Department of History and Philosophy, Montana State University
Chair of Fellowships, W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research
Susan received her Ph.D. in Syro-Palestinian Archaeology and Hebrew Bible from Harvard University in 2000. Her research focuses on the archaeology, history, and international interconnections of the Bronze Age in the southern Levant, with emphasis on rural settlement, rural-urban relations, and synchronisms and interactions with ancient Egypt. She was Director of the excavations at the Middle Bronze Age mortuary site of Gesher, and the small rural multi-period site of Tel Zahara, both in the Jordan Valley, and will be a Co-Director of the Tell Abu Shusha excavations that begin in summer 2019. She is currently Chair of the Department of History and Philosophy at Montana State University, and Chair of the Fellowships Committee of the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem.
Margaret E. Cohen
Associate Fellow, W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research
Dr. Margaret Cohen has taught ancient history and religious studies at Penn State University and Lycoming College in the U.S. Her research interests include compositional history of the biblical text, Iron Age cult, and ancient foodways, and her current project explores the role of the Jezreel Valley as depicted in the Hebrew Bible, and as supported by archaeology of the Iron Age, specifically as relates to the politics of food. She has excavated at numerous archaeological sites in Israel, Jordan and Egypt for two decades and is currently an associate fellow at the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem.
Tell Abu Shusa Excavations
Lecturer, Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology
Avner is a lecturer in the Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University. He is a classical archaeologist specializing in epigraphy of the region and the study of urbanization processes. He is co-editor of the Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae Palaestinae, and works on the inscriptions from Herodion, Tel Shalem and O. Maresha.
See Avner here: https://biu.academia.edu/AvnerEcker
Paul V. M. Flesher
Judaism in Roman and Early Byzantine Periods
Professor of Religious Studies
University of Wyoming
An expert in Rabbinic and pre-Rabbinic Judaism, Paul has a Masters degree from Oxford University and a PhD from Brown University. He has published extensively on the Galilean and Judean texts called the Targums and served as the two-term president of the International Organization of Targumic Study. He also researches the early centuries of the Jewish synagogue and is currently studying the ritual and acoustic character of excavated synagogues in Israel. Dr. Flesher has extensive experience with computer databases, having served on the staff of both the Tel Miqne and Huqoq excavations in that capacity. He will bring that expertise to the Abu Shusha excavations. His most recent publication, with colleagues, is the textbook on ancient Israel, The Old Testament in Archaeology and History, published by Baylor University Press.
Deirdre is an assistant professor of Biblical Studies in the Department of Religion at Baylor University (Starting Fall 2013). She finished her Ph.D. at Penn State in 2011, specializing in Hebrew Bible and Archaeology, and was a lecturer in the Department of Theology at Boston College for the 2012-2013 academic year. As part of the JVRP staff, she specializes in zooarchaeology, with a particular focus on sacrifice and economy. Beside her work with JVRP, she is involved in other projects in Israel (Ashkelon and Ramat Rahel) as well as Carthage, Tunisia.
Assistant Director, JVRP Advanced Physical Survey
Assistant Area Supervisor, Legio Excavations
Stony Brook University
Ryan is a doctoral candidate in anthropology at Stony Brook University, specializing in complex societies of the Ancient Near East. His research focuses on using geospatial methods to reconstruct ancient landscapes in order to better understand developments in social complexity.
Tell Abu Shusa Excavations
Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of Pittsburgh
Ben is an assistant professor of Religious Studies and the Rosenberg-Perlow Fellow in Classical Judaism at the University of Pittsburgh. He is an archaeologist and a historian of religion specializing in the cultures of Greco-Roman Palestine. He recently co-edited the 2-volume final report on the Duke excavations at the western summit of Sepphoris in the Galilee, and in 2020 is publishing a book on the role of the Second Temple priesthood in the agrarian economy of Judea.
Nadia B. Knudsen
University College London
Archaeological Illustrator and Field Archaeologist
Nadia recently received her MA in the Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. Her interests include the Bronze Age of the region, a focus which she continues to pursue in combination with her broad-based practical experience of archaeological illustration.
Nick is a PhD student at Yale University in Assyriology, studying the languages and history of Mesopotamia. His primary research interests are in intellectual and scholarly life in ancient Mesopotamia, as well as inter-regional contact in the Levant. In addition to the JVRP, he is also involved in the ongoing Tel Aviv University Megiddo Expedition.
Mark Letteney is a doctoral student at Princeton University, specializing in later Roman history. His work with the JVRP focuses on development and deployment of novel forms of archaeological documentation and digital preservation. He is also the co-director of the Solomon’s Pools Archaeological Project in Bethlehem, Palestine.
The College at Brockport, State University of New York
Jennifer Ramsay is an assistant professor at the College at Brockport, State University of New York, in Brockport, New York. She earned her Ph.D. in Archaeology from Simon Fraser University in Canada in 2008. Dr. Ramsay is an archaeobotanist that specializes in the Near East. Her research involves examining the agricultural economies of ancient societies ranging in date from the Chalcolithic up until the Islamic period. Her current focus is on exploring agriculture in hyper-arid zones in order to understand past sustainable agricultural practices. She is currently working on multiple projects looking at issues of trade, agricultural techniques and trends between cultural groups, environmental reconstruction and provisioning the Roman army. Dr. Ramsay’s most recent publications include ‘For the Birds - An Environmental Archaeological Analysis of Byzantine Pigeon Towers at Shivta (Negev Desert, Israel)’ (co-authored with Y. Tepper, M. Weinstien- Evron, S. Bratenkov, N. Liphschitz, N. Marom and G. Bar-Oz) (2016), Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 9: 718-727 and ‘A Diachronic Look at the Agricultural Economy at the Red Sea Port of Aila: An Archaeobotanical Case for Hinterland Production in Arid Environments’ (co-authored with S. T. Parker) (2016), The Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (BASOR) 376: 101-120. Dr. Ramsay has worked on archaeological projects in Israel, Jordan and Italy for over 20 years and has taken field school students abroad since 2008.
Melissa S. Rosenzweig
University of Chicago
Melissa is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. Her research examines the ways in which human-environment interactions (re)produce political power and structural inequality in early complex polities. Her forthcoming dissertation investigates the intersections of agriculture and empire at Ziyaret Tepe, a provincial capital of the Late Assyrian empire in southeastern Anatolia. As an archaeobotanist on the JVRP staff, she studies human land-use management over time and space in the Jezreel Valley. Melissa is also the archaeobotanical specialist for the Tel Akko Total Archaeology Project.
Field Archaeologist and Hellenistic-Roman Period Specialist
Israel Antiquities Authority
Tel Aviv University
Yotam received his PhD at Tel Aviv University (Legio in the Roman Period). As a researcher and archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), he has directed numerous excavations and surveys in Israel for the last three decades. His latest project includes survey and excavation in the region of the Roman military camp at Legio (el-Lajjun). As part of this work, he conducted extensive excavation at the Megiddo prison compound where a Christian Prayer Hall from the end of the Roman period was discovered. His research focuses on the Roman Period, with special interest in the daily life of civilians and soldiers.