Dr. Irit Margit Ziffer

Curator of the Ceramics and Nehushtan (Metals and Timna excavation) Pavilions, Eretz Israel Museum (Haaretz Museum), Tel Aviv

2006 Member of the Israel Exploration Society council


1977 BA in Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations, English Literature from Tel Aviv University

1985-1986 Museology Studies, Tel Aviv University

1992 MA in Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies from Tel Aviv University with distinction

1999 PhD in Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies from Tel Aviv University, with distinction, specializing in the art of the Ancient Near East art related to texts (specializing in Akkadian and Sumerian)


1976-1979, 1982 member of the Aphek-Antipatris Excavation Team (registrar and area supervisor)

2002 collaborating with Dr. Raz Kletter, salvage excavation of the repository pit at Yavneh


1993-1995 teaching at Tel Aviv University, Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures

1995 Instruction at the Bezalel Academy of Art, Department of Architecture

1999-2005 Adjunct teacher at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures


2007-2008 Andrew W. Mellon for Art History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Curatorial work

1983-1989 Assistant curator, Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv

1989- present, curator, Eretz Israel Museum Tel Aviv

1996 Co-curator at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem

Major exhibitions

1990 At that time the Canaanites were in the land, daily life Middle Bronze Age Canaan 2000-1550 BCE

1992 A Touch of the Past – Hands on Archaeology. Special exhibition for the blinds and visually impaired Susa – in Capital Cities of the Ancient Near East (Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem)

1996 Islamic Metalwork

1998 O my dove that art in the clefts of the rock – the Dove Allegory in Antiquity

1999 Milk and Honey

2000 Clay 2000 – the Israeli Biennale of Ceramics

2002 The Corn Spirit

2006 In the field of the Philistines – Cult Furnishings from the Favissa of a Yavneh Temple


1987 The Date Palm in Mesopotamian Ritual, in Ayalon, E., ef., The Date Palm – "Tree of Life" (Man and His Work Library 8), Eretz Israel Museum Tel Aviv, 105-118 (Hebrew).

1988 Bronze Bowl with a Hebrew Inscription from the Collection of the Haaretz Museum, in Zeevi, R. ed., Israel – Land and People (Eretz Israel Museum Yearbook 4 [22], 1986/7), 77-82 (Hebrew with English summary).

1989 contributions in Lehrer-Jacobson, G., Fakes and Forgeries (Exhibition catalogue), Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv.

1990 At that Time the Canaanites Were in the Land, Daily Life in Middle Bronze Age Canaan, 2000-1550 BCE (Exhibition catalogue), Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv.

1992a A Touch of the Past – Hands on Archaeology (catalogue of a special exhibition for the blind and visually impaired), Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv (large print Hebrew with English introduction and a Braille catalogue).

1992b A Touch of the Past – Hands on Archaeology, a Special Exhibition for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Likutim 16 (Jewish Braille Institute of America), 7-10 (Hebrew).

1994 A Medieval Islamic Bronze Bowl, in Zeevi, R., ed., Israel – Land and People (Eretz Israel Museum yearbook 7-8 [25-26] 1990-1993), 91-94 (Hebrew with English summary).

1996a Islamic Metalwork (Exhibition catalogue), Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv.

1996b The Omayyad Bazaar Workshop, Jewish Metalsmiths in Damascus 1925-1992, Pe'amim, Studies in Oriental Jewry 66, 138-149 (Hebrew).

1996c Achaemenid Art, in Goodnick Westenholz, Joan, ed. Royal Cities of the Biblical World (publication in conjunction with a special exhibition held at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem: “Jerusalem, a Capital for All Times. Royal Cities of the Biblical World”), Jerusalem, 255-283.

1997 Die Kunst der Achämeniden, in Seipl, W., ed. Land der Bibel. Jerusalem und die Königsstädte des Alten Orients. Schätze des Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (Exhibition catalogue), Textband: pp. 187-203; Katalog: nos. 162, 164, 166-171, 173-184, 188-193.

1998a O My Dove that Art in the Clefts of the Rock: The Dove Allegory in Antiquity (Exhibition catalogue), Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv

1998b The Portrait of a King, in Goodnick Westenholz, Joan, ed. Capital Cities. Urban Planning and Spiritual Dimensions (Proceedings of the Symposium Held on May 27-29, 1996, Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem) (Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem Publications No. 2). Jerusalem: pp. 187-212.

1999 Milk and Honey (Exhibition catalogue), Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv (Hebrew).

2000a The Enchanted Forest of Iznik, in Kenaan-Kedar, N., Birds of Paradise, Marie Balian and the Armenian Ceramics of Jerusalem (Exhibition catalogue), Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv, 10*-14*.

2000b The Banquet-bed and the Throne-bed in the Ancient Near East, in Schwartz, J., Amar, Z., and Ziffer, I. eds., Jerusalem and Eretz Israel, Arie Kindler Volume (The Ingeborg Rennert Institute for Jerusalem Studies, Bar Ilan University and Eretz Israel Museum), Tel Aviv, 9-22 (Hebrew with English summary).

2000c Clay 2000, The Israeli Biennale for Ceramics (exhibition catalogue), Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv.

2001a Marriage on the Threshing Floor, in Maier, A., and Baruch E., eds., Settlement, Civilization and Culture (Proceedings of the Conference in Memory of David Alon, Bar-Ilan University), Ramat-Gan, 105-110 (Hebrew).

2001b Ziffer, I., Kletter, R. and Segal, O., A Human faced Rhyton from Tel Yaoz, Qadmoniot 121, 49-52 (Hebrew).

2001c À proprs the Mandil: Tracing the Ancient Near Eastern Origins of a Badge of Office, in Kenaan-Kedar, Nurith, and Ovadiah, A., eds. Metamorphosis of Marginal Images: from Antiquity to Present Time. Conference volume. Tel Aviv (Tel Aviv University, Department of Art History): 39-48.

2002a The Corn Spirit (Exhibition catalogue), Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv.

2002b Symbols of Royalty in Canaanite Art in the Third and Second Millennia B.C.E., Bulletin of the Israeli Academic Center in Cairo 25, 11-20.

2002c Four New Belts from the Land of Ararat and the Feast of the Women in Esther 1:9, in Parpola, S., and Whiting, R., eds., Sex and Gender in the Ancient Near East (CRRAI 47), Helsinki, 645-657.

2003a What Happened under the Grape Vine? Eretz Israel 27 (Hayim and Miriam Tadmor Volume), Jerusalem, 204-211 (Hebrew with English summary).

2003b The Horse-Riding Archer on a Cylinder Seal in the Hecht Museum Collection, Michmanim 17, 7-10 (Hebrew with English summary).

2003c A Narrative Bronze Bowl from the Moussaieff Collection, in Deutsch, R., ed., Shlomo: Epigraphy, Iconography, History and Archaeology in Honor of Shlomo Moussaieff, Tel Aviv – Jaffa,1*-6* (Hebrew).

2003d The Figurative Language of the Potter's Craft, Assaph, Studies in Art History 8, 13-30.

2003e Kletter, R. and Ziffer, I., Yavné, Hadashot Arkheologiyot Excavations and Surveys in Israel 115, 46*-47*.

2004a Ceremonial Axe with a Scorpion Man, in Westenholz, Joan G., ed., Dragons, Monsters and Fabulous Beasts (Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem exhibition catalogue), Jerusalem, 67.

2004b "A Healthy Foundation for the Creations of the Younger Generation" – A Note on Israeli Pottery Tradition, in The Third Biennale of Israeli Ceramics (Exhibition catalogue), Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv, 12-21.

2004c Up and Down the Rivers of Babylonia –Boat Travels of Mesopotamian Gods, Motar 12, 27-34 (Hebrew with English summary).

2005 From Acemhöyük to Megiddo: The Banquet Scene in the Art of the Levant in the Second Millennium BCE, Tel Aviv 32: 133-167.

2006a Further Thoughts on the Arad Cult Stele, in Czerny, E., Hain, I., Hunger, H., Melman, D., and Schwab, A., eds., Timelines. Studies in Honour of Manfred Bietak (OLA 149.2), Leuven: 417-424.

2006b Ziffer, I., Kletter, R. and Segal, O., Rhyta from Tel Yaoz. ‘Atiqot 52: 1*-12* (Hebrew with English summary)

2006c A Seal Impressed Handle in the Collection of the Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv, Ägypten und Levante 16: 195-199.

2006d Kletter, R., Ziffer, I. and Zwickel, W., Cult Stands of the Philistines: A Genizah from Yavneh. Near Eastern Archaeology 69/3-4: 146-158.

2007a Ziffer, I, and Kletter, R. In the Field of the Philistines. Cult furnishings from the favissa of a Yavneh temple (Exhibition catalogue). Tel Aviv.

2007b A Note on the Nahal Mishmar Crowns, in Cheng, J. and Feldman, Marian H., eds., Ancient Near Eastern Art in Context: Studies in Honor of Irene J. Winter by Her Students, Leiden and Boston, 47-59.

2007c. Chapter 7: Stamps and Stamp Seals: I. The Iron Age. In: Beit Arieh, Y. Horvat 'Uza and Horvat Radum: Two Fortresses in the Biblical Negev (Tel Aviv University. Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology Monograph Series 25), Tel Aviv, 197-200; Commentary on the iconography, 202-204.

2007d Zevulun, U. and Ziffer, I., A Human Face from Tel Haror and the Beginning of Canaanite Head-shaped Cups, in Bickel, S., Schroer, S., Schurte, R. and Uehlinger, Chr., eds., Bilder als Quellen/Images as Sources: Studies om Ancient Near Eastern Artefacts and the Bible Inspired by Othmar Keel (OBO Sonderband/Special Volume), Fribourg and Göttingen, 9-44.

2007e Kletter, R., Ziffer, I. and Zwickel, W., From the Fields of Philistia: Ritual Stands from a Cultic Repository Pit at Yavneh, Qadmoniyot 134, 89-95 (Hebrew).

2007f The First Adam, Androgyny and the vAin Ghazal Two-headed Busts in Context IEJ 57, 129-152.

2008a Kletter, R. and Ziffer, I., Yavneh, in Stern. E. ed., New Encyclopaedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land 5, Supplementary Volume, Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society and Carta, 2071-2072.

2008b The First Adam – reflections on the ‘Ain Ghazal Two-headed Busts. In: Bar, S., ed. In the Hill-Country, and in the Shephelah, and in the Arabah (Joshua 12, 8). Studies and Researches Presented to Adam Zertal in the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Manasseh Hill Country Survey. Jerusalem: 27-40 (Hebrew).

2008c A Rare Cypriote Jug in the Hecht Museum Collection. Michmanim 21: 7-14 (Hebrew with English summary *21).

2009a Review of Itamar Singer, The Hitties and their Civilization (The Biblical Encyclopaedia Library 26). Jerusalem 2009. Haaretz Books October 2009

2009b The Omayyad Bazaar: Jewish Metalsmiths in Damascus 1925-1992. In: Harel, Y., ed. Syria (Jewish Communities in the East in the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries. Jerusalem: Ben-Zvi Institute for the Study of Jewish Communities in the East of Yad Ben-Zvi and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and The Ministry of Education: The Center for Oriental Jewish Heritage): 68-69.

2009c The Threshing Floor in Reality and Metaphor, Bulletin of the Israeli Academic Center in Cairo: 3-12.

2010 Zwickel, W., Kletter, R. and Ziffer, I., Eine Grube voller Kultgerät, Antike Welt 1/2010, 69-74.