Lawrence E. Stager, A.B. ’65, A.M. ’72, Ph.D. ’75, Dorot Professor of the Archaeology of Israel Emeritus and former Director of the Harvard Semitic Museum, was recently named the 2016 recipient of the Percia Schimmel Prize. The Schimmel Prize is given by the Israel Museum, Jerusalem to outstanding scholars in recognition of major contributions to the field of the archaeology of Israel and the broader ancient Near East.

“This is Israel’s most important and distinguished prize in archaeology, and in the 37 years of its existence has only occasionally been presented to non-Israeli scholars,” said Peter Machinist, Hancock Professor of Hebrew and other Oriental Languages.

Although Stager’s scholarly contributions span an array of fields from biblical studies to demography to social theory, he is perhaps best known for his leadership of the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon  – leadership in which his former student, Daniel Master, eventually joined him. This 30-year, multi-disciplinary exploration of Israel’s pre-eminent ancient port produced many important insights into key historical issues ranging from the Bronze Age through the Crusader Period. The expedition is currently being celebrated in an exhibition of its discoveries that opened in July at the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum in Jerusalem.

Stager was presented with the Schimmel Prize in a July ceremony in by Dr. Haim Gitler, Chief Curator of Archaeology at the Israel Museum.