Dr. Gideon Avni is the Head of the Archaeology Division, and a lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology, the Hebrew University (1999-2011). His former positions were the director of the Excavations and Surveys Department, (2000- 2011) and the IAA Regional Archaeologist of Jerusalem (1989-2000).
Gideon Avni studied at the Institute of Archaeology, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (PhD – 1997). His s 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. During the last 30 years 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 a comprehensive survey and excavations project at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. In 2004-2007 he co-directed a research team supported by the Israel Science foundation on the urban centers of Palestine in the Early Islamic period. He was a fellow at Institute of Advanced Studies of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (2008-2009). He is currently a member of a research group of the Hebrew University and the Israel Academy of Sciences on the formation of Islamic society in Palestine, and a co-directing an interdisciplinary study 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, (Jerusalem, 1996); The Akeldama Tombs - Three Burial Caves at the Kidron Valley, , (IAA Reports 1, Jerusalem, 1996); The `Oded Sites: Investigations of two Early Islamic Pastoral Camps South of the Ramon Crater, Central Negev, Israel. (Beer-Sheva, 1997); the Necropolis of Beth Govrin – Eleutheropolis (IAA Reports 36, Jerusalem, 2008); The Byzantine – Islamic Transition in Palestine: an Archaeological approach (Oxford Studies in Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 2014).