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Kempinsky, Aharon

KEMPINSKY, AHARON (1939–1994), Israeli archaeologist. Brought up in Nahariyyah, Kempinsky participated as a teenager in 1952–53 in P. *Delougaz's excavations at Bet Yeraḥ. His academic studies were undertaken at the Hebrew University and it was there that he acquired his M.A. and eventually his Ph.D. In time he became a professor of archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University, and taught at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba as well. As a student at the Hebrew University, Kempinsky worked as Professor Nahman *Avigad's assistant at Makhmish. Many archaeological excavations followed, some of which he directed, at Palmaḥ im (1961), Hazor (1965–66), Megiddo (1965), and Bet ha-Emek (1973). In 1972–75, and again in 1979, Kempinsky (with V. Fritz) uncovered an important early Iron Age village at Tel Masos, not far from Beersheba. In 1975 Kempinsky made a short excavation at Tel Kabri, which was followed by an intensive project there (conducted together with W.D. Niemeyer) from 1986 to 1993. At Kabri a Middle Bronze Age building (perhaps a palace) was exposed, with wall and floor paintings resembling those from Thera (Santorini). Kempinsky was an insatiable reader with an encyclopedic mind; he also traveled all over the world and was a visiting scholar at various universities and colleges, notably at Tuebingen University in 1975. Kempinsky was a prolific writer and wrote many research papers on a diverse number of subjects. Important publications include The Architecture of Ancient Israel from the Prehistoric to the Persian Periods, which he co-edited with Ronny Reich, and the final reports on the Tel Masos and Kabri excavations. Kempinsky was a mentor for many of the younger generation of archaeologists in Israel.


C. Dauphin, "Aharon Kempinsky (1939–1994), Friend and Colleague: An Evocation," in: Bulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society, 13 (1993–94), 63–66.