Gideon Avni (PhD – 1997) is the Head of the Archaeological Division in the Israel Antiquities Authority and a lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology, the Hebrew University. His academic interests focus on various aspects of Classical, Late Antique and Early Islamic archaeology, the cultural and religious transformation of the Near East from Byzantine to Islamic rule, and the archaeology of desert societies in the Levant. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in the Negev Desert (1979-1988; 2005-2011), Beth Govrin (1983-1992), Jerusalem (1984-2003) and Ramla (2002-2004). In 1996-2002 he headed surveys and excavations at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and in 2004-2007 he co-directed a research team on the urban centers of Palestine in the Early Islamic period. He is currently a co-director of an interdisciplinary research team on the ancient agriculture of the Negev during Byzantine and Early Islamic times.
Gideon Avni is the author of numerous monographs, archaeological reports, articles and popular books on the archaeology of Jerusalem, Ramla, Beth Govrin and the Negev. Among his works are Nomads, Farmers and Town Dwellers, Pastoralist - Sedentist Interaction in the Negev Highlands, 6th -8th Centuries CE, (1996); The Akeldama Tombs - Three Burial Caves at the Kidron Valley, (1996); the Necropolis of Beth Govrin – Eleutheropolis (2008). His forthcoming book is dedicated to a comprehensive evaluation of the archaeology of the Byzantine – Islamic transition in Palestine.