The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Foerster, Gideon (Emeritus)

Personal: Born 1935, Afula (Israel); Ph.D. 1972, Hebrew Univ.; Sen. Lect. 1983; Assoc. Prof. 1989.
E-mail: foerster@h2.hum.huji.ac.il

Research Interests:

Roman and Byzantine art and architecture in the Eastern Empire. The study of iconographical material related to the classical mythology in Palestine. The study of the synagogues of the Roman-Byzantine periods in Palestine and the Diaspora.

Research Project:

The origins of marble imported to Israel (statues, sarcophagi and architectural elements. (in collaboration with the Isotope Research Laboratory, Weizmann Institute)

Abstracts of Current Research:

Art and architecture of Masada:

Current work is underway for the preparation of the Masada excavations (1963-65) for publication. This includes an extensive study of the architecture and architectural decoration of the various palaces, store-rooms and fortifications of the Herodian period. The rich evidence of stucco and fresco as well as mosaics and opus sectile are studied in the light of contemporary Hellenistic and Roman art. Some clear affinities were detected with the style and character of the art and architecture of HellenisticRoman centers in Egypt, Asia-Minor, Greece and Rome. On the basis of this study, Masada is a rich and inexhaustible source for studying the art and architecture of this period in Palestine.

A systematic documentation and survey of Roman and Byzantine iconographic material relating to classical mythology in Palestine:

The material under study consists of sculpture, mosaics and painting as well as minor arts and is studied at the archaeological sites, museums and private collections. The documentation includes registration with full bibliography. A copy of the file cards thus prepared is sent to the centers of the Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae in Basel and Paris. At the same time we are preparing a corpus of the material of Israel.

In addition, I am involved in the preparation and editing of a volume on the sculpture of the Roman period from Caesarea Maritima in the series of the Corpus Signorum Imperii Romani (CSIR-Israel I). Excavations at Roman-Byzantine and Early Arab Bet She?an (Scythopolis) (Joint Director: Y. Tsafrir) This long-term large-scale excavation project is being carried out in the capital of the Decapolis and of Northern Israel Palaestina Secunda. The work is dedicated to the uncovering of the civic center and its public buildings. Up to now the remains of colonnaded streets, shops, a temple, a civic basilica, a nymphaeum and the amphitheater have been uncovered. The remains of the occupation in Late Antiquity and the Early Muslim period are also being studied.

Ancient synagogues in Palestine and the Diaspora:

Ongoing research of the relationship of the art and architecture of the synagogues with those of the Roman period and Late Antiquity and their significance to the study of the coexistence of pagans, Jews and Christians in Palestine.

Recent Publications:

FOERSTER, G. and TSAFRIR, Y. A statue of Dionysos as a youth recently discovered at Bet She'an. Qadmoniot, 23:52-54, 1990 (in Hebrew).

Faculty Archaeology Speakers Bureau

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