Claire Epstein

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Claire Epstein

Hebrew: קלר אפשטיין
Birthdate: (88)
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Death: August 17, 2000 (88)
Ginosar, Israel
Place of Burial: Ginosar, Israel
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Mordechai Epstein and Olga Epstein
Mother of <private> Eliav (adopted)
Sister of Eduard Nathaniel Epstein and <private> Epstein

Occupation: Israeli archeologist
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Claire Epstein


Claire Epstein was born in London on September 18, 1911, to an upper-class Anglo-Jewish family. Her father, Mordecai Epstein (born Manchester, c. 1890–d. 1946), the son of parents who had migrated from Latvia, was editor of The Statesman’s Yearbook. In 1910 he married Olga, née Oppenheimer (b. Germany 1890?–d. 1971), whose parents had migrated from Germany when she was a child. Olga, a homemaker, was active in WIZO and also in saving Jews from Germany prior to and during World War II. In addition to Claire, they had two sons: Edward Nathaniel, born in 1915, who died in 1992, and (Sir) Anthony, born in 1919.

After attending the progressive King Alfred School in Hampstead, Claire studied Italian at University College, London, spending a year in Perugia as part of her studies. She gained a B.A. degree in 1932. In 1937 she immigrated to Palestine, joining the British Army in World War II. Upon demobilization she joined Kibbutz Ein Gev on the eastern shore of Lake Kinneret, but some time later moved to Kibbutz Ginossar on the opposite shore, remaining a member there until her death.

Epstein’s first experience in archaeology was at an excavation at Sussita, located on a hill above Ein Gev. In 1952 she joined the team excavating at Tel Hazor in the Upper Galilee, headed by Professor Yigael Yadin. Here she worked in several areas: in the lower city of Tel Hazor she worked at Area D on buildings and graves of the Middle Bronze Period IIB and the later Bronze Period I. She then joined the team digging at Area H, the large site of temples from the Second Middle Bronze IB Period (1705–1550 b.c.e.), particularly because she happened to chance on these temples. She also excavated at Site Area A in the upper city of the Tel, where important relics of the Middle and Late Bronze Ages were found and on top of them levels from the Israelite period of the beginning of the tenth century b.c.e., including walls of the city, a gate and other finds.

In 1959 Epstein returned to the University of London to work on a doctorate in archaeology under the supervision of Kathleen Kenyon. Her topic was Palestinian Bichrome Ware.

In 1967, following the Six Day War, she headed the archaeological emergency survey in the Golan area, together with Shemaryahu Gutman. In the course of the survey numerous sites from various periods were found, from the prehistoric to the Mamluk period. Epstein was appointed archaeologist of the Golan section of the Archaeology and Museum Department (today the Archaeological Authority), a position she occupied until the mid–1970s. Among the sites she discovered in her surveys was the synagogue of Hurvat A-Dikke; Dir Aziz, where both a synagogue and a settlement were found; and Tel Kanaf, where another synagogue was unearthed. She also discovered previously other unknown sites, such as Batra in 1967 and Hurvat Zemirame in 1970. The important excavations included graves at Kefar Szold and Ginossar, where she excavated from 1965 to 1966.

After completing her work in the Golan, Epstein devoted herself exclusively to summarizing and publishing her research on the Chalcolithic culture of the Golan. Basing herself on the rich finds of pottery and other materials, she described the social and house structures of the people of the period, their ritual practices and religious beliefs. For her publication of The Chalcolithic Culture of the Golan (Jerusalem: 1998) she received the Irene Levi-Sala Prize of Ben Gurion University for books in the archaeology of Israel in June 2000.

Epstein was for many years a member of the board of the Israel Exploration Society, which eventually granted her honorary membership. She received two important awards: the Israel Museum’s Percia Schimmel Award in Archaeology in 1985 and the Israel Prize in 1995 for archaeology.

In 1952 Epstein, who never married, adopted Nissim Eliav, whose parents had been killed in Iraqi pogroms and who, together with his siblings, came to Israel with Youth Aliyah.

Epstein was an outstanding example of a spirited woman archaeologist who worked untiringly and out of true love in search of the past in the Land of Israel—qualities which won her the esteem of all her fellow archaeologists.

She died in Kibbutz Ginossar on August 18, 2000.

About קלר אפשטיין (עברית)

ויקיפדיה: קלֵר אפשטין (1911 - 17 באוגוסט 2000) הייתה ארכאולוגית וחוקרת ארץ ישראל. מומחית לארכאולוגיה של רמת הגולן בכלל, ושל התקופה הכלקוליתית בפרט. כלת פרס ישראל לארכאולוגיה לשנת 1995

אפשטין נולדה בלונדון בשנת 1911 למשפחה יהודית מסורתית, ובגיל 17 החלה ללמוד באוניברסיטת לונדון. בשנת 1932 קיבלה תואר ראשון בשפות ובספרות איטלקית. היא הייתה פעילה ומדריכה בתנועת "הבונים" באנגליה

בשנת 1937 עלתה לארץ ישראל, ובהמלצת ברל כצנלסון החלה לעבוד בוועד הפועל של ההסתדרות. בשנת 1942 היא התגייסה לחיל העזר לנשים בצבא הבריטי, והגיעה לדרגת רב סמל

לאחר השחרור מן הצבא התגוררה אפשטין בקיבוץ עין גב. במלחמת השחרור הגנה על הקיבוץ מן המשלט בסוסיתא. בעקבות כיבוש סוסיתא וגילוי הכנסייה בה, חפרה במקום, התאהבה במקצוע והחליטה להיות ארכאולוגית. בשנת 1953, בעקבות הפיצול בתנועה הקיבוצית, עברה להתגורר בגינוסר, שם שיתפה פעולה עם יגאל ידין בחפירות ארכאולוגיות בחצור

בשנת 1962 סיימה את עבודת הדוקטורט בארכאולוגיה באוניברסיטת לונדון, כתלמידתה של קתלין קניון. הדיסרטציה עובדה לכדי ספר (Palesinian biochrome ware,‏ ליידן: J. Brill,‏ 1966). לאחר מלחמת ששת הימים ניהלה אפשטין את אחת מחוליות הסקר ברמת הגולן, ושם חשפה תרבויות שלא היו ידועות למחקר עד אז. אפשטין המשיכה בסקר במסגרת תפקידה כארכאולוגית מחוז צפון של רשות העתיקות, ונחשבה מומחית של הארכאולוגיה של רמת הגולן בכלל, התקופה הכלקוליתית, ותופעת הדולמנים בפרט. היא חשפה 25 אתרים כלקוליתיים שלא היו ידועים עד אז, והשתתפה בהגדרת התרבות שעזרה לגלות כ"כלקוליתית הגולן". י

בשנת 1985 קיבלה מטעם מוזיאון ישרל את פרס פרשיה שימל על תרומתה לארכאולוגיה של ישראל

בשנת 1995 זכתה אפשטין בפרס ישראל על מפעל חייה בתחום הארכאולוגיה

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Claire Epstein's Timeline

September 18, 1911
London, United Kingdom
August 17, 2000
Age 88
Ginosar, Israel
August 2000
Age 88
Ginosar, Israel