Gidi Shelach

Prof. Gideon Shelach-Lavi is the Louis Freiberg Professor of East Asian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In recent years he has held various positions at the Hebrew University, including the Chair of the Asian Studies Department, the Chair of the Institute of African and Asian Studies, and Vice Dean of the Faculty of Humanities.

Prof. Shelach-Lavi received a Ph.D. in archaeology from the University of Pittsburgh (1996) and since 1995 he has conducted archaeological fieldwork in North China and in Mongolia.

In addition of being the PI of The Wall project, he recently completed the Fuxin Regional Archaeological Project in Liaoning province, China and has started a new regional project in Shandong province.

Prof. Shelach-Lavi has published 9 books and more than 70 papers in leading academic journals (among them Science, Antiquity, Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, Journal of Archaeological Science, Current Anthropology and more, including academic journals in China).

Among his recent books are: The Archaeology of China: From Prehistory to the Han Dynasty (Cambridge University Press, 2015); Prehistoric Societies on the Northern Frontiers of China: Archaeological Perspectives on Identity Formation and Economic Change during the First Millennium BCE (Equinox, 2009); Chifeng International Collaborative Archaeological Project (co-author, Pittsburgh 2011), Animals and Human Society in Asia: Historical, Cultural and Ethical Perspectives (co-editor, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), The Birth of Empire: The State of Qin Revisited (co-editor, University of California Press 2013).

Personal Website


Ido Wachtel

Dr. Ido Wachtel is a post-doctoral fellow at the Zvi Yavetz School of Historical Studies, Tel Aviv University, and a Martin Buber fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (from October 2020). He received his Ph.D. from the Hebrew University (2018).

Ido is an archaeologist specializing in spatial archaeology and settlement patterns analysis. His recent work focuses on GIS applications and locational/predictive modeling. His research aims to analyze regional and interregional dynamic processes of settlement growth, urbanization, and decline, with a systematic analysis of human-environment interactions through time. Ido's work focuses on the Southern Levant and on the proto-historical and early historical periods. He also participates in regional studies and conducts spatial analyses in North-East China and Mongolia.   

Ongoing projects

  • Settlement complexity and upland-lowland interactions in early South Levantine urbanism: Tel Qedesh and the Galilee in the Early Bronze Age (with Uri Davidovich).
  • Using MaxEnt modeling for the understanding of the first urban cycle in the southern Levant (with Royi Zidon).
  • Modeling pastoral nomadism: A regional archaeological study of Bedouin exploitation patterns in the Judean Desert (with Royi Zidon and Uri Davidovich).



Dr. Yoni Goldsmith is a Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Earth Sciences at the Hebrew University. He received his PhD from Columbia University (Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, 2017) and his postdoc was at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech).

Yoni is a geochemist and geomorphologist. His work is aimed at quantifying past changes in rainfall and evaporation around the world (China, Mongolia, western US, Middle East) in order to understand the natural variability of rainfall and evaporation and the processes that govern this variability. In addition, he studies how human societies have responded to climate change throughout history. For this he combines geomorphology with isotope geochemistry (compound specific stable isotopes [dD, d13C], traditional stable isotopes [dD, 18O, d13C], clumped isotopes and U/Th dating) to investigate how the status of lakes has changed through time. In addition, he uses hydrological models and outputs of climate models to quantify and evaluate the empirical data collected.

Ongoing projects

  • Quantifying the migration of the East Asian Monsoon during the Late Quaternary in China and Mongolia
  • Reconstructing paleo-intensity of the Indian Monsoon using lake-area fluctuations from Lake Chenghai, Southern China
  • Developing and applying compound specific stable isotope biogeochemistry to problems in terrestrial hydroclimate, East Asia, West Asia, Western USA
  • Chemical and isotopic processes of shoreline tufa formation in Mono Lake, USA 



Dr. Michael Storozum is a post-doctoral fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He received his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis in 2017 and since then has held post-doctoral research fellowships at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, Fudan University, and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

Michael is an anthropological geoarchaeologist who is interested in using geoarchaeological research to extend scientific and policy perspectives on environmental issues relevant to changing climatic regimes and natural hazards. Recent work of his includes geoarchaeological analyses of human-caused environmental transformations in China that often led to large-scale disasters, like the mega-flood that destroyed Kaifeng in 1642 CE. Michael aims to place modern environmental challenges within a deep time perspective through his geoarchaeological research.

Ongoing projects

  • Exploring the Geoarchaeology of Slow Violence: Erosion and Land Use on China’s Loess Plateau
  • Examining the correlations among Yellow River floods, climate change, and collapse in dynastic China
  • Understanding the diversity of ancient anthrosols and their potential to restore soil health
  • Quantifying ancient pollution to determine if archaeological sites are vectors of toxicity


Johannes Lotze

Dr. Johannes Lotze is a post-doctoral fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Manchester in 2017 and has been a Teaching Fellow in Medieval Chinese History at the University of Birmingham from 2018 to 2020.

Johannes is a historian of East Asia with a focus on the nature and impact of ‘non-Chinese’ empires in ‘China’; on sedentary/nomadic cooperation and conflict; and specifically on the Mongols and their predecessors. In particular, he investigates the history of linguistic landscapes and language policies in Chinese empires against the backdrop of wider global trajectories of multilingualism and translation. On a methodological level, Johannes is interested in promoting more interaction between History and other disciplines, such as Linguistics/Translation Studies (current book project) or Archaeology/Palaeoclimatology (The Wall project).

Ongoing projects

  • Writing my first monograph, provisionally titled Multilingual Empires: The Yuan-Ming-Qing Transition.
  • Curating an exhibition on Qing China’s internal diversity and global connectedness (scheduled to be shown at the John Rylands Library, Manchester, from September 2021 to March 2022).
  • Chinese-to-English translation of a chapter by Sim Chuin Peng 沈俊平 on civil service examinations in imperial China (forthcoming, Brill 2020).
  • Organising a panel titled ‘Multilingualism in Early Modern East Asia’ for the 2021 conference of the Association for Asian Studies in Seattle.


HUJI email address

Picture of Tiki Shtainer

Tiki Steiner is a doctoral student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She received her M.A. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2016.

Tiki is a zooarchaeologist whose work aims to reconstruct faunal exploitation patterns, economic activity related to animals and investigate taphonomic signals on bone surfaces to better understand modes of consumption.  Tiki has analyzed multiple faunal assemblages from salvage excavations in Israel, ranging from the Chalcolithic through the Byzantine periods, as well as being an excavation area manager at the Nesher-Ramle quarry salvage excavations from 2016-2020. Her Master’s thesis was a faunal analysis of a complete, water-logged Epipaleolithic brush hut from Ohalo II (c. 23kya) encompassed identification, measurements, taphonomic observation and spatial analysis and examination of possible burnt bones using FTIR. She is interested in the connection between climatic fluctuation and subsistence choices and the human ability to adapt in different ways to different ecosystems. The Wall project will focus on zooarchaeology of pastoral nomads in medieval Mongolia and China, combining “classic” zooarchaeological techniques with micro-archaeological analyses to identify signatures of herd management and climatic, ecological and social data.

Ongoing project: A detailed faunal analysis of Nahal Mahanayim Outlet (NMO), a Middle Paleolithic (c. 60 kya), open-air hunting site in the Hula Valley, Israel, characterized by the presence well preserved, complete aurochs bones.

Picture of Tal Rogovski

Tal Rogovski is a graduate student at the Hebrew University, Institute of Archeology, focusing the classical period.

His thesis focuses on the underground complexes of Horvat Midras, a key site in the Judean lowlands (Shfela). He is writing his MA thesis under the guidance of Dr. Orit Peleg-Barkat and Prof. Boaz Zissu.

As an independent archaeologist, Tal conducted in the recent years various selvage excavations (in Rehovot, Tiberias and Jerusalem) and was a field manager in academic excavations (Horvat Midras, Khirbet el-'Eika).

In addition to his work as an archaeologists Tal also specializes in archaeological photography, photography of archaeological artifacts and drone photography. As part of The Wall project Tal is developing tools for the documentation of excavations with the help of three-dimensional models based on aerial and ground photographs, and the use of various software that help us with research and documentation of wall-lines and associated sites. His role is also to identify other technologies that will be useful for our flied work as well as with the analysis of data from the field

 Tal participated in the preliminary season of "The Wall" (2019) in which we test excavated a section of the wall as well as a cluster of associated structures.  

picture of Tal Ulus

Tal Ulus is a doctoral student in the Geography Department and the Advanced School for Environmental Studies at the Hebrew University. Her dissertation examines climate anomalies and their impact on large-scale food crises as a possible explanation for the mass movement of people from Africa’s Horn and Sahel regions to the European continent and Israel during the last two decades. Another aspect of her study examines the attempts made to block these waves of immigration and refugees by enforcement of strict policies and the construction of walls and fences. The latter aspect of her study closely examines the discourse relating the "blocking policy" taken by Israel and Sicily in attempt to prevent the arrival of refugees/immigrants into the country.

Ongoing projects:

  • Examining the dynamic of the violent conflict that took place in Mali between the years 2011-2013 and the climate anomalies that preceded it – a severe drought that hit the northern-eastern part of the country in the years 2009-2010 and the exceptionally intense wet season during the summer of 2012. By viewing Mali’s gradual, long-term climate anomalies and their destabilization of the country’s food security, Tal aims to highlight climatic anomalies as prominent push factors in the instigation of the 2011-2013 conflict.
    • Analyzing the waves of refugees that arrive to Israel, mainly from Eritrea and Sudan; examining the public and political discourses concerning their arrival and the various tools, such as the fence along the border with Egypt, that have been employed to stop them from entering the country. A qualitative comparative analysis will review responses amongst the general public and changes in immigration policies in Israel and Italy, with emphasis on Sicily.  
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Angaragdulguun Gantumur is a doctoral student at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. I received my B.A. (2012) and M.A. (2016) degrees from the National University of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar.

He is an archaeologist and a researcher employed at the Institute of Archaeology, Mongolian Academy of Sciences.  worked on archaeological sites dating from Paleolithic through the Medieval and historic periods. His specialization is the stone tool technology of the Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic periods and he have worked for a number of field projects as an assistant researcher and crew member doing surveys in Mongolia. For The Wall project he is conducting GIS analysis, remote sensing, and drone imaging in order to study the surrounding areas near long wall sections located in Inner Mongolia and Mongolia.

Brianne2 Pic

Ying Tung Fung (Brianne) is a post-doctoral fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She received her Ph.D from the University of Oxford in 2021. She has been tutoring undergraduate students in Chinese archaeology on occasion during her doctoral studies.

Brianne is an archaeologist who specializes in Chinese archaeology, mainly in late Neolithic and early Bronze Age, and interested in topics related to cultural interaction, stone fortification, subsistence practices, urbanism and climate change. Her Ph.D thesis considered the settlements especially stone fortification in the North Loess Plateau during the period 2800-1600 BC. The aim was to better understand how climate, demographic, economic and material culture factors together contributed to the rise of the extraordinary site of Shimao and the surrounding sites in that region. She will work on remote sensing imagery, GIS analysis and historical texts for the research carried out in The Wall project.



Jingchao Chen (Christy) is a PhD candidate at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She acquired her master’s degree in Ancient Near East History and Archeology at Tel Aviv University, where she gained field experience and developed interest in archeological science. Having received organic residue analysis training in the laboratory at Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, she did her MA thesis on “Tracing Household Behavior in Iron Age IIC Tel Hadid and Tel Beth-Shemesh: A Pilot Study with Organic Residue Analysis on Pottery Assemblages.”

She will contribute to “The Wall” project by analyzing the potteries from Mongolia Expeditions using ORA: check the condition of lipid preservation, identify biomarkers and further understand the foodways and consumption behavior of the “Wall People”. Additionally, she will collaborate with archaeologists from China and analyze potteries from contemporaneous Liao-Jin sites.

These day-to-day aspects will enable a better understanding of daily life at the Wall: What did the "Wall people" eat and use? What was daily life like associated with the MWS?  Can the food habits identified reflect certain ethnic groups? Are there differences between the food consumed by people that worked and lived near the wall and those living in contemporaneous cities? All of these will assist in tackling main issues of the Wall project such as who built the Medieval Wall System, the function of the system, how it was maintained, operated and its final abandonment etc.