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Department of Archaeology



As an archaeobotanist, I study past human-plant interaction, with a primary geographic focus on the southern Levant. I seek to bring the local archaeobotanical data I generate to bear on scholarship of long-term plant domestication and diffusion, ancient agriculture/pastoralism, and ancient economic history in the Mediterranean and beyond. I completed undergraduate degrees in Music and Economics at the University of Pittsburgh (USA) and an MA and PhD in Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University (Israel). In between degrees, I also gained experience in small-scale vegetable, orchard, and vineyard cultivation in Israel. I conducted my PhD research as a member of the ERC-funded NEGEVBYZ project on the Byzantine-Islamic transition in the Negev, supervised by Prof Ehud Weiss (Bar-Ilan) and project PI, Prof Guy Bar-Oz (U. Haifa). At Cambridge, I am working on multi-proxy investigation of herbivore dung and 1st-millennium CE crop diffusion supervised by Prof Matthew Collins and co-supervised by Prof Cyprian Broodbank.



Plant domestication and diffusion

Economic archaeology

Mediterranean history

Geographic Regions

Israel and the southern Levant

Middle East


Key Collaborations

2020-present: Core team member, Negev Camel Caravan Project, with PI Prof Guy Bar-Oz (U. Haifa), and co-PI Prof Gideon Avni (Israel Antiquities Authority Chief Scientist).

2016-present: Core team member, Avdat in Late Antiquity Project with PI Scott Bucking (DePaul U.) and Tali Erickson-Gini (Israel Antiquities Authority).

2015-2020: Team member, NEGEVBYZ, Crisis on the margins of the Byzantine Empire: A bio-archaeological project on resilience and collapse in early Christian development of the Negev Desert. H2020-EU.1.1. Grant 648427.

My PhD research focused on macroscopic plant remains in Late Antique Negev Highland rubbish middens to investigate long-term crop diffusion, medium-term commercial viticulture, and seasonal activity. My postdoctoral research investigates long-term and seasonal agropastoral change over the first millennium CE in Aravah valley camel caravanserai along the southern border of modern Israel-Jordan. Crop plant remains provide indicators of plant economy, with particular reference to Roman agricultural diffusion and the ‘Islamic Green Revolution’. In addition, herbivore dung will be analysed using multi-proxy archaeobotanical and biomolecular techniques, to retrieve information on pastoral activity and develop methodologies for improving analysis of this unique type of archaeological context.


Key publications: 
Fuks, D. and Dunseth, Z. 2020. Dung in the dumps: what we can learn from multi-proxy archaeobotanical study of herbivore dung pellets. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany.

Fuks, D., Bar-Oz, G., Tepper, Y., Erickson-Gini, T., Langgut, D., Weissbrod, L. and Weiss, E. 2020. The rise and fall of viticulture in the Negev Highlands during Late Antiquity: An economic reconstruction from quantitative archaeobotanical and ceramic data. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 117 (33): 19780-19791.

Fuks, D., Amichay, O. and Weiss, E. 2020. Innovation or preservation? Abbasid aubergines, archaeobotany and the Islamic Green Revolution. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 12(50).

Dunseth, Z.*, Fuks, D.*, Langgut, D., Weiss, E., Butler, D., Yan, X., Boaretto, E. Tepper, Y., Bar-Oz, G., and Shahack-Gross, R. 2019. Archaeobotanical proxies and archaeological interpretation: a comparative study of phytoliths, seeds and pollen in dung pellets and refuse deposits at Early Islamic Shivta, Negev, Israel. Quaternary Science Reviews, 211: 166-185.

*Equal contribution

Bar-Oz, G., Weissbrod, L., Erickson-Gini, T., Tepper, Y. Malkinson, D., Benzaquen, M., Langgut, D., Dunseth, Z., Butler, D., Shahack-Gross, R., Roskin, Y., Fuks, D., Weiss, E., Marom, N., Ktalav, I., Blevis, R., Zohar, I., Farhi, Y., Filatova, A., Gorin-Rosen, Y., Yan, X. and Boaretto, E. 2019. Ancient trash mounds unravel urban collapse a century before the end of Byzantine hegemony in the southern Levant. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 116(17): 8239-8248.

Amichay, O., Ben-Ami, D., Tchekhanovets, Y., Shahack-Gross, R., Fuks, D. and Weiss, E. 2019. A bazaar assemblage: reconstructing consumption, production and trade from mineralised seeds in Abbasid Jerusalem. Antiquity 93 (367): 199-217.

Fuks, D. and Marom, N. 2018. The plants and animals of the Land of Israel. In Greer, J. Hilber, J. and Walton, J. (eds.), Behind the scenes of the Old Testament: Historical, cultural, and social contexts of Ancient Israel, pp. 28-36. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

Fuks, D., Ackermann, O., Ayalon, A., Bar-Matthews, M., Bar-Oz, G., Levi, Y., Maeir, A.M., Weiss, E., Zilberman, T. and Safrai, Z. 2017. Dust clouds, climate change and coins: consiliences of palaeoclimate and economy in the Late Antique southern Levant. Levant 49 (2): 205-223.

Fuks, D., Weiss, E., Tepper, Y. and Bar-Oz, G. 2016. Seeds of collapse? Reconstructing the ancient agricultural economy at Shivta in the Negev, Antiquity 90(353).

Other Professional Activities

Membership in professional societies and academic workgroups

Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL)

International Work Group for Paleoethnobotany (IWGP)

Mediterranean Seminar

Israel Economic History Association (IEHA)

                          Society for Archaeological Sciences (SAS)

Job Titles

Research Associate, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

General Info

Available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 

Contact Details

McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research Department of Archaeology Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3ER


Person keywords: 
Archaeobotany, paleoethnobotany, Negev, coprolite, Islamic Green Revolution
Science, Technology and Innovation
Environment, Landscapes and Settlement
Rethinking Complexity
Geographical areas: 
Periods of interest: 
Classical - Roman