David Ilan - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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David Ilan, Ph.D.

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Director, Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology


Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology, Jerusalem; Year-In-Israel Program, Jerusalem
Academic Field: 
Archaeology; Bible and Cognate Studies

Dr. David Ilan is The Director of the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology at HUC-JIR's Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem. A native of Los Angeles, he has lived in Israel since 1976.  He completed his BA and MA degrees at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and his Ph.D at Tel Aviv University.

Dr. Ilan has excavated at Tel Arad with Ruth Amiran, Tel Dan with Avraham Biran and at Tel Megiddo with Israel Finkelstein, David Ussishkin and Baruch Halpern. 

Prior to joining HUC-JIR, he had a three year stint as lecturer at Tel Aviv University in the Department of Archaeology.  Dr. Ilan was also the Zemsky Visiting Professor of Judaic Studies at John’s Hopkins University in 2006-7. 

His publications deal with a wide range of subjects: the Middle Bronze Age of the southern Levant, the archaeology of death, northern Israel in the early Iron Age, community and archaeology and the problem of antiquities plunder and trade.  He is preparing a series of final publications on the Tel Dan excavations with the staff of the Nelson Glueck School. 

David lives with his partner Lilach in Jerusalem.  They have four sons between them.  

Selected Publications and Edited Works

D. Ilan and Y. Rowan. Deconstructing and Recomposing the Narrative of Spiritual Life in the Chalcolithic of the Southern Levant (4500–3600 B.C.E.), Pp. 89-113 in: Beyond Belief: the Archaeology of Religion and Ritual (ed. Y. Rowan). (Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association Vol. 21). Arlington, Virginia: American Anthropological Association. 2012.

D. Ilan. Biblical Archaeology as Social Action – Two Case Studies, Pp. 69-80 in: Future Directions of Biblical Archaeology (ed. T.E. Levy). London: Equinox. 2010.

D. Ilan. Mortuary Practices in Early Bronze Age Canaan. Near Eastern Archaeology 65 (2003): 92-104.

A. Biran, D. Ilan and R. Greenberg. Dan I: History of Excavation, the Neolithic Settlement, the Early Bronze Age Levels and the Middle Bronze Age Tombs, Annual of the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology, Jerusalem: Hebrew Union College. 1996

D. Ilan. Dan IV: The Early Iron Age Levels. Annual of the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology, Jerusalem: Hebrew Union College (in press).

Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology
Current and Future Courses
An Introduction to Biblical History
Public Lecture Topics
The Bible and Archaeology: where they meet, where they don’t and why
New Gleanings from the Excavations at Tel Dan (or The Hidden Secrets of Ancient Tel Dan, Israel)
Who Were the Biblical Danites? An Archaeological Perspective (the more academic version is titled: Who were the Danites? Acculturation and Socioeconomic Change at Tel Dan (Israel) in the Early Iron Age (1200-1000 BCE)
The Archaeology of Pilgrimage in Ancient Israel: Tel Dan in the Iron Age II (950-600 BCE)
The Dawn of Imperialism: Egyptians at Megiddo in the Early Bronze Age (3500-2900 BCE).
Death in Canaan: Mortuary Practices and Religious Belief in the Bronze Age (3500-1200 BCE).
The Mystery of the Missing Dagger Blade: a window into the collapse of empires and the beginnings of Israel
What’s New in the Archaeology of Israel: a Subjective Selection of the Most Significant Finds of the Last 10 years and Why they are Important
Temples, Treasures and the Dominion of Death: Spiritual Life and Ritual Practice in the Mysterious Chalcolithic Culture of Canaan circa 4000 BCE
How Ancient Israel Began: a New Archaeological Perspective
''Thou Shalt Make No Graven Image'': an Archaeological Speculation on the Origins of the Second Commandment