BiographyI was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in Russia, and received my PhD from the Leningrad Branch of the Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in 1988. In 1990 I immigrated to Israel.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
My main field of research is religion and society in the Greco-Roman Mediterranean. I am convinced that the analysis of human behavior, including ritual and religion, cannot be based exclusively on the research of the culture which gave rise to it. I therefore combine the traditional historical approach focused on the interpretation of written sources with approaches developed by other disciplines, such as archaeology, anthropology, sociology, and neuropsychology.
Historical phenomena have not only an 'outside', that is, social behaviour as attested by various sources, but also an 'inside,' the consciousness of people who were engaged in a particular type of behavior. The mental make-up of the people of the past is both challenging and difficult to reconstruct. To accomplish this task, I juxtapose ancient written testimonies and archaeological remains with the results of modern research in neuropsychology and cognition. My current research is focused on two themes, alteration of consciousness and insanity in Greek culture, and biased thinking in ancient Greece.
My studies of religion and cults of the both the Greco-Roman and indigenous population of the Black Sea area make use of methodologies current in history, archaeology, and anthropology.
In addition to Classical Greek culture, I am interested in late antique (early Byzantine) archaeology and epigraphy in Israel, mainly in the Negev.