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Benjamin Mazar (Hebrew: בנימין מזר) (June 28, 1906 - September 9, 1995) was a pioneering Israeli archaeologist who shared the national passion for the archaeology of Israelmarker that also attracts considerable international interest due to the region's Biblical links. He is known for his involvement in the identification and recovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and for leading the excavations at the most significant biblical site in Israel: The temple mount (southern wall) in Jerusalem. Universally recognized as the "dean of Biblical archaeologists of the 20th century", Prof. Mazar was known as the founder of the academic science of Geographical History. He is the author of more than 100 books about the bible, biblical history and archaeology. For decades he served as the chairman of the Israel Exploration Society, which supervises all archaeological activities. In 1932, he conducted the first archaeological excavation under Jewish auspicions in Israel at Beth Shareem (the largest catacombs ever discovered in Israel) and in 1948 was the first archaeologist to receive a permit to dig in the new state of Israel (Tel Quasila, 1948). An Israel prize winner, Prof. Mazar is also recognized for building the Hebrew University's main campus at Givat Ram (as president of the University) and developing it's departments so that it is now recognized as one of the leading Universities in the world.


Born Binyamen Maisler in Ciechanowiecmarker, Polandmarker, he was educated at Berlinmarker and Giessenmarker universities in Germanymarker. At age 23 he emigrated to Palestine (then under the British Mandate) and in 1943 joined the faculty of Hebrew Universitymarker in Jerusalemmarker whose original campus at Mount Scopusmarker became isolated in the Jordanianmarker sector of Jerusalem following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Originally he also served as secretary of the Jewish Palestine Exploration Society, later renamed Israel Exploration Society. See Archaeology of Israel.

Between 1951 and 1977 Benjamim Mazar served as Professor of Biblical History and Archaeology of Palestine at the new campus of Hebrew Universitymarker in West Jerusalem. In 1952 he became Rector of the University in 1952 and its president for eight years commencing in 1953. Between 1968 and 1978 Professor Mazar directed extensive excavations in the Ophel and the southwestern corner of the Temple Mountmarker. The site had been inaccessible to Israeli archaeologists until it was captured in 1967 during the Six Day War.


In 1968, Mazar was awarded the Israel Prize, for Jewish studies.

Mazar family

Benjamin Mazar, his son Ory his grandson Dan Mazar and his granddaughter Eilat Mazar and nephew Amihai Mazar all shared the same interests in Israeli archaeology. Eilat Mazar has been a frequent spokesperson for concerns regarding the archaeology of the Temple Mountmarker in Jerusalemmarker.


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