Nomadic Bedouin culture has been a feature of the historical landscape in the Middle East from earliest times. However modern social and political developments have increasingly impacted on this austere way of life, forcing changes and adaptations. One facet of the investigations by the Lahav Research Project and its program of archaeological excavations at Tell Halif in Southern Israel focused on the adjacent remains at Khirbet Khuweilifeh. Khuweilifeh was a seasonal settlement site where Negev Bedouin and village Arabs from the nearby Judean Hills coexisted in the early 20th century. The survey of these ruins, including excavation of one of its best preserved living complexes, was supplemented by ethnographic research involving interviews with ancestors of the Bedouin and villager inhabitants of the site. These studies provide an interesting picture of the associations and accommodations between these Arab communities and their lifeways in the era prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
Prof. Joe Seger's career as a field archaeologist began with participation in the Joint Expedition to Tell Balatah, biblical Shechem, in 1962. He returned for the 1964 season and became Field Director in 1969. His dissertation work at Harvard involved study of the 17th-16th century B.C., Middle Bronze II C, ceramic corpus from the site. From 1964-69 he taught at the Hartford Seminary Foundation in Connecticut. He subsequently spent five years as Director of the Hebrew Union College Biblical and Archaeological School in Jerusalem (1969-1974). During 1974 and 1975 he taught at Hebrew Union College and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and at California State University in Fullerton. From 1976 he served as Chairman of the Humanities Program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Seger came to Mississippi State University in 1982 and in 1988 was made Full Professor of Religion in the Department of Philosophy and Religion and was appointed Director of the Cobb Institute, a post in which he served until 2014. Dr. Seger's research interests include Near Eastern archaeology and field methods, Old Testament history and literature, ancient Semitic languages, and ancient Near Eastern religions and cultures. He is an expert in ceramic analysis and excavation techniques. He served as a member of the Core Field Staff of Phase I Hebrew Union College excavations at Tell Gezer (1966-71) and was Director of Phase II work (1971-74). Since 1975 he has been the Project Director of the Lahav Research Project excavations at Tell Halif in Israel. He is currently engaged in work on final publications for these projects. Seger has also been director or consultant for twelve major exhibits and public programs on Middle Eastern archaeology under grants by NEH and state based Arts and Humanities organizations. From 1988-94 he served as President of the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem. Since 1986 he has been member of the Board of Trustees of the American Schools of Oriental Research which he served as President from 1996-2002. He is currently a member of the ASOR Board of Trustees and an Honorary Trustee of the W.F. Albright Institute Board.