The Kenyon Institute of Jerusalem

A few years ago, the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem was renamed the Kenyon Institute, after the late Dame Kathleen Kenyon who is best known for her excavations in Jericho and Jerusalem. The school’s website states its purpose:

The Kenyon Institute is proud to present cutting-edge research in the humanities and social sciences in the form of lectures and seminars throughout the year. The Lecture Series is an opportunity for Visiting Research Fellows and other researchers, both on CBRL-funded and non-affiliated projects, to present preliminary results on their work in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

A look at their lecture series, however, shows that their involvement with politics has taken over from their stated objective:

Tuesday 3 May 2011, 5pm (World Press Freedom Day)
Journalism in the time of Revolution:  How do journalists deal with the challenges of covering conflict and rapid political and social change?
Dr Ehab Bessaiso, Media Expert and Lecturer, Cardiff University (via Skype); Nick Pelham, Correspondent, The Economist; Nasser Atta, Journalist, ABC; Khalil Assali, Chairman, Jerusalem Press Club; Sa’id Ghazali, Blogger,

Tuesday 24 May 2011, 5pm
Democracy from below: Lessons from the revolutions
Dr Samir Awad, Professor of International Studies, Birzeit University; Omar Shweiki, Acting Director and Research Scholar, Kenyon Institute, Council for British Research in the Levant

Tuesday 31 May 2011
Rock-cut Tombs in Petra and Jerusalem: some similarities and differences
Dr Lucy Wadeson (CBRL Fellow and University of Oxford)

Stephen Rosenberg, who posted the Bible and Interpretation‘s “Archaeology in Israel Update – April 2011”, advises the following:

The lectures now current both fail to serve British scholarship or to serve the original purpose of the School, the promotion of archaeology in the region. We trust that the CBRL and the Amman School will take the appropriate action to correct the position.

The lecture on the rock-cut tombs in Petra, however, appears to deal with archaeological similarities and differences with tombs found in Jerusalem, but I fail to see what journalism and revolutions have to do with archaeology, as it appears to serve a particular political agenda.

There are some beautifully decorated rock-cut tombs in Jerusalem, which certainly have some similarities with those in Petra. We believe to have identified the Tomb of Annas the High Priest, an elaborately decorated tomb in the Hinnom Valley. Gustav Dalman, who, together with his son Olaf, investigated this tomb in 1925, called this tomb the most beautifully decorated rock-cut tomb between the Mediterranean and Petra:

This drawing shows the reconstructed facade of the Tomb of Annas. The drawing shows the triple-gated entrance to the tomb's anteroom. There are indications that the tomb once carried a superstructure and so could be identified as a monument. © Leen Ritmeyer
The inner burial chamber of the Tomb of Annas was highly decorated and had kokhim burial niches in the walls. The body of Annas was probably placed in the kokh (burial niche) disguised by the fake door in the wall on the right.© Leen Ritmeyer

3 thoughts on “The Kenyon Institute of Jerusalem”

  1. this can also be helpful!
    קבר המפואר דיר א-דרב שמזוהה ככל הנראה כקברו של האפוטרופוס על רכוש המלך הורדוס. המקום מזכיר מאוד את קברי המלכים בנחל קידרון שמדרום להר הבית.

  2. Dear Colleague,
    The description of the KI on its website, which you quote reads: “research in the humanities and social sciences”. There is no mention of archaeology as such, because the Council for British Research in the Levant which funds the KI and the British Insitute Amman has widened the original focus of the BSAJ and the BIA from purely archaeology to anthropology, social studies and politics, the region covered being the entire Levant (Syria and Lebanon included).
    Perhaps you should have done some preliminary investigation before criticizing the choice of lectures at the KI and also updated your comments from 2011 to at least end 2014.
    For your information, so that you are made aware that the KI does host archaeological lectures, please do come to my lecture on “All Roads Lead to Mecca: on foot, camel-back and steam, the Syro-Jordanian Darb al-Hajj (7th-20th c.) through the prism of the new technologies” on Tuesday 2nd June 2015 at 6pm. It combines archaeology, historical sources and GIS statistical and spatial analyses, and if you didn’t know, the Moslem pilgrims from Palestine left on hajj from Hebron and joined the Syro-Jordanian hajj caravan, so the lecture is not only about Syria and Jordan!
    I will ask the KI to send you a personal invitation.
    Best Wishes,
    Claudine Dauphin, MA, PhD, FSA, FSA Scot, Hon Prof in Archaeology and Theology of the Universities of Wales, Trinity St David’s, Lampeter

  3. Claudine,
    I merely reacted to Stephen Rosenberg’s comments in Bible Interpretation. I have spent some good times at the British Institute of Archaeology in Jerusalem and attended several lectures there. I knew Crystal Bennett well and took her round the Temple Mount excavations in the 1970’s. However, I also felt that politics started to influence the program. If that is no longer the case, I am very pleased. I would love to attend your lecture, but living in Wales, actually not far from Lampeter, it may not be possible.

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