PD Dr. Berit Hildebrandt

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Aktuelles Projekt 
Financially supported by the State of Lower Saxony, Germany, in the framework of the initiative for joint research projects between Lower Saxony/Germany and Israel.


  • PD Dr. Berit Hildebrandt, Seminar for Prehistory and Early History, University of Göttingen
  • Prof. Dr. Guy Bar-Oz, Department of Archaeology, University of Haifa
  • Dr. Orit Shamir, National Treasures, Israel Antiquities Authority 


The trade and exchange of goods, people, and technologies in Antiquity along the so-called Silk Roads have been the subject of numerous studies in recent decades. Our project’s goal is to contribute to this global world history by examining the textile finds from a small village and way station along an ancient trade route in the Negev Desert in what is today Israel. The village, Nahal Omer, can be dated to the Late Byzantine (6th century CE) and Early Islamic periods (7-8th centuries CE). Nahal Omer’s prominence derives from its excellently preserved organic materials. Through a case study of archaeological silk and cotton textiles, and applying cutting-edge bioarchaeological methods, we will for the first time determine these textiles’ origins and places of production and highlight the longue durée as well as the breaks and changes in textile trade and production along this part of the Silk Roads. Our research methodologies combine datasets from the Eastern and Western Mediterranean, together with evaluation of textual and iconographic sources, in order to better understand the movements of textile goods, traders, and consumers. Taking a bottom-up approach, we will look at one of the often-neglected smaller settlements and silk roads, focusing on the impact of long-distance trade on the communities scattered along the peripheral trade routes; and add this hitherto little known artery of the “Israeli Silk Road” to the larger systems of connectivity.