Biblical Archaeology Review 30:4, July/August 2004

Strata: Dan Urman, 1945–2004

Studied Synagogues and the Golan

By Victor Hurowitz

Dan Urman, of Ben-Gurion University’s Departments of Jewish History and of Bible, Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, passed away in Beer-Sheva on March 14, 2004. He died of leukemia. He had taught at Ben-Gurion since 1979, attaining the rank of associate professor and serving periodically as chairman of the Jewish History department. He was also a popular leader of Biblical Archaeology Society tour groups to Israel.

Urman was born in Haifa, Palestine, in 1945. He began studying history and archaeology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He received his B.A. in 1974 and his M.A. in 1976. In 1979, he completed his Ph.D. at New York University, where he wrote his dissertation on the Golan during the Roman and Byzantine periods. Professor Urman’s work on the Golan benefited from his service as team leader of the Association for Archeological Survey of Israel’s survey of Arab villages in Israel and as staff officer in the Israeli army in charge of archaeological affairs in the Golan. In these capacities he led excavations at a dozen different sites in the Golan.

The pinnacle of Urman’s work on the Golan is his book-length essay, “Public Structures and Jewish Communities in the Golan Heights,” in Ancient Synagogues: Historical Analysis and Archaeological Discovery. This volume, which Urman co-edited, is considered to be among the most important recent publications in ancient synagogue research.

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