Beth Alpert Nakhai, PhD

About Beth Alpert Nakhai, PhD

Office Location: Marshall Bldg., Suite 420

Beth Alpert Nakhai is an Associate Professor in the Arizona Center for Judaic Studies, and an affiliated member of the School of Anthropology.  In addition, she is affiliated with the School of Middle East and North African Studies and the Religious Studies Program.  She is graduate advisor for Judaic Studies' Graduate Certificate Program.  She received her Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Near Eastern Archaeology from The University of Arizona.  Her publications focus on the lives of women in antiquity, on Canaanite and Israelite religion and culture, and on Israelite ethnogenesis and village life.  Her books include Archaeology and the Religions of Canaan and Israel, as well as two edited volumes (The Near East in the Southwest: Essays in Honor of William G. Dever; The World of Women in the Ancient and Classical Near East) and three co-edited volumes (Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Archaeology; Celebrate Her for the Fruit of Her Hands: Studies in Honor of Carol L. Meyers; Household Religion: Toward a Synthesis of Old Testament Studies, archaeology, Epigraphy, Epigraphy, and Cultural Studies).  In addition, she is the author of numerous articles and lectures widely on various topics.  She co-directed the Tell el-Wawiyat (Israel) Excavation Project and is currently preparing the publication of that site.  She serves on the Board of Directors of the American Schools of Oriental Research.  She chairs ASOR's Initiative on the Status of Women.  Her concerns include the lives of women in antiquity, and the professional interests of women working in the field of Near Eastern archaeology.  In August 2014, she launched a "Survey on Field Safety: Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean Basin" (  Further information on the survey can be found below, in the "Projects" section on this page.  She is, additionally, on the editorial board of several professional journals.  


Areas of Study


I am an archaeologist and text scholar specializing in the Bronze and Iron Ages in Western Asia.  I work, more specifically, on Canaanite and Israelite religions, on the archaeology of Israel and neighboring lands, and on women in antiquity.  I am also engaged in research and advocacy relating to the position of women working in Near Eastern archaeology, in the field and at their home institutions.  I teach courses on topics relating to the history, religion and culture of ancient Israel, the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), and women in ancient Israel, as well as biblical Hebrew.  




American Schools of Oriental Research

American Association of University Women

European Association of Biblical Studies

Register of Professional Archaeologists

Society of Biblical Literature



I have served on the Board of Trustees of the American Schools of Oriental Research since 2002.  Particularly important to me is my work as head of ASOR's new Initiative on the Status of Women.  I am working with others to document - and improve - the status of women in ASOR and in the field of Near Eastern archaeology.  I am always eager for ideas and for assistance with this monumental - and critically important - venture.


Tell el-Wawiyat, a four-dunam site in the Beit Netofah Valley in Israel’s Lower Galilee, was excavated in 1986 and 1987.  Excavation of the site was co-directed by J. P. Dessel, Bonnie L. Wisthoff, and myself.  The Wawiyat excavation was designed to: (1) examine village life and domestic economy; (2) explore the transition between the Late Bronze II and the Iron I; and (3) investigate Canaanite and Israelite ethnicity in this transitional era.  During the course of excavation, limited architectural remains from the MBIIB-C (17th-mid-16th centuries) and the LBII (14th-13th century), and a wealth of LBII imported and domestic wares, were uncovered.  Two large buildings dating to the Iron IA (12th century) served residential, economic, subsistence and cultic functions.  In the Iron IB (11th century), they were reused by a transitory community.  Once they were abandoned, the site was never resettled.   

The excavation of Tell el-Wawiyat demonstrates the important place that elite rural communities played in the complex interactions of the LB IIB-Iron IA.  Wawiyat was not a simple farming village, but rather a sophisticated site in which residents played important roles in the local economy.   Judging by the exotic imports, they were also somehow involved with international trade.  Significantly, the excavation reveals continuity between the LBIIB and the Iron IA, suggesting that in contrast to the Central Highlands, the transition from Canaanite to Israelite culture was slow to happen in the Lower Galilee.  The identity of Wawiyat’s final inhabitants remains uncertain, but what is certain is that Israel’s definitive impact on this region was not felt until the Iron Age II.

The excavation was funded by The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, with the support of the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem and the American Schools of Oriental Research.  Funding for publication is provided by a grant from The Shelby White – Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publications.  I am currently working with Dessel (University of Tennesse) on the site publication.


Beth Alpert Nakhai, PhD's picture

Contact Information

Beth Alpert Nakhai, PhD
Associate Professor, Judaic Studies
Telephone: Main Office (520) 626-5758
Fax: (520) 626-5767
Office: (520) 626-5762
Office Hours: Tuesday/Thursday 2:00-3:00 and by appointment


Ph.D., The University of Arizona

         Syro-Palestinian Archaeology; Biblical Studies. Department of Near Eastern Studies. 1993

M.A., The University of Arizona

          Syro-Palestinian Archaeology; Biblical Studies. Department of Oriental Studies. 1985

M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School

            Old Testament; New Testament. 1979

B.A., Connecticut College

           Government. 1972

Courses Taught

Fall 2015
372A "History and Religion of Israel (Biblical)"
Spring 2016
372A "History and Religion of Israel (Biblical)"
409B/509B "Biblical Hebrew"
Fall 2016
372A "History and Religion of Israel (Biblical)"
409B/509B "Biblical Hebrew"
Spring 2017
Fall 2017
372A "History and Religion of Israel (Biblical)"
409B/509B "Biblical Hebrew"
Spring 2018
372A "History and Religion of Israel (Biblical)"
409B/509B "Biblical Hebrew"
596A "Judaic Studies Graduate Seminar"
Fall 2018
372A "History and Religion of Israel (Biblical)"