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Jodi Magness, Ph.D. - UNC-Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, NC, US

Jodi Magness, Ph.D. Jodi Magness, Ph.D.

Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism, Department of Religious Studies. Adjunct Appointment, Department of Classics. Faculty member, Carolina Center for Jewish Studies and the Curriculum in Archaeology | UNC-Chapel Hill


Dr. Magness' research interests include Jerusalem, Qumran & the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient synagogues, Masada and the Roman Army in the East.



Jodi Magness, Ph.D. Publication Jodi Magness, Ph.D. Publication Jodi Magness, Ph.D. Publication Jodi Magness, Ph.D. Publication Jodi Magness, Ph.D. Publication



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Great Battles: The Siege and Fall of Masada Jodi Magness and the Galilean Synagogue of Huqoq Archeologist Jodi Magness and 3D IMAX Movie, Jerusalem (WNCN News) Official Trailer - Jerusalem: Filmed for IMAX and Giant Screen Theaters



Archaeologist Dr. Jodi Magness in UNC's College of Arts and Sciences specializes in the archaeology of ancient Palestine (modern Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories) in the Roman, Byzantine and early Islamic periods. Her research interests include Jerusalem, Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient synagogues, Masada, the Roman army in the East and ancient pottery.

She has published 10 books, including The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls, The Archaeology of the Early Islamic Settlement in Palestine, The Archaeology of the Holy Land from the Destruction of Solomon's Temple to the Muslim Conquest, Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit: Jewish Daily Life in the Time of Jesus, and has written dozens of articles. Her next book, titled Masada: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth is scheduled to appear in May 2019.

She is featured in the National Geographic IMAX film, "Jerusalem" (now available on DVD at Amazon.com and select retailers), numerous documentaries including the National Geographic series, “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman,” and produced a 36-lecture course on "The Holy Land Revealed" with The Teaching Company's Great Courses and (new as of December 2015), the 24-lecture course "Jesus and His Jewish Influences."

She has participated on 20 different excavations in Israel and Greece, including co-directing the 1995 excavations in the Roman siege works at Masada. From 2003-2007, she co-directed excavations in the late Roman fort at Yotvata, Israel. Since 2011, she has directed an excavation project at Huqoq in Galilee where stunning new mosaics have been unveiled that decorated the floor of a Late Roman (fifth century) synagogue.

Areas of Expertise (7)

Archaeology of Ancient Palestine

Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls


Ancient Synagogues



Ancient Pottery

Accomplishments (6)

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Public Scholar Award (professional)


Archaeological Institute of America Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (professional)


Dr. Jodi Magness was honored with this award from the AIA.

Fellow in the School for Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study (professional)


The fellowship in Princeton, N.J., was in 2207-2008.

2006 Irene Levi-Sala Book Prize (professional)


Her book, "The Archaeology of the Early Islamic Settlement in Palestine," was awarded this prize in the category of non-fiction on the archaeology of Israel.

2003 Biblical Archaeology Society's Award for Best Popular Book in Archaeology (professional)


"The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls" won this award in 2001-2002.

Outstanding Academic Book for 2003 by Choice Magazine (professional)


"The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls" also won this award from Choice Magazine.

Education (2)

University of Pennsylvania: Ph.D., Classical Archaeology 1989

Hebrew University of Jerusalem: B.A., Archaeology and History 1977

Affiliations (4)

  •  Archaeological Institute of America President (2017-2020)
  • Managing Committee of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens : Member
  • Board of Trustees of the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem (past member and vice president)
  • North Carolina Society of the AIA and Boston Society of the AIA (past president)

Media Appearances (7)

"The Rise of the Synagogue in Jewish Life"

The Not-Old Better Show  online


Jodi Magness, an archaeologist who specializes in ancient Palestine, explores the origins of the synagogue and how it became a prominent part of religious Jewish life in the centuries after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 A.D.

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"Unearthing the World of Jesus"

Good Times Radio  radio


On this week's episode: A special interview with Dr. Jodi Magness. Dr. Magness is an archeologist and scholar of religion.

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The Magdala Stone may be a Portal to Early Religion

NPR  radio


Jodi Magness discusses the Magdala Stone, which dates back to when the Second Temple stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (between 516 BC and 70 AD).

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Top of Mind with Julie Rose: Jerusalem

BYU Radio  radio


Dec 07, 2015 - See BYU Radio BYU Radio’s “Top of Mind with Julie Rose” interviews Jodi Magness about the National Geographic documentary, Jerusalem, explores the claim all three faiths have on the holy ground. Magness is also featured in the film. (1:03–22:10)

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Historical Certainty Proves Elusive at Jerusalem's Holiest Place

The New York Times  print


Within Jerusalem’s holiest site, known as the Temple Mount to Jews and the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims, lies a historical question about what may be the world’s most contested piece of real estate.

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UNC professor finds treasures buried in Israel

WNCN  online


Half a world away, and centuries deep in history, Jodi Magness spends every summer digging into Israel’s past. “I always say an archaeological dig is like summer camp for adults,” Magness said. The professor at the University of North Carolina has packed her bags, along with dozens of students and staff, and headed to Galilea each summer since 2011. That’s when they began excavating a Jewish village called “Huqoq,” which dates back to the time of Jesus.

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Jerusalem tomb houses some of Jesus’s earliest followers, filmmaker says

The Washington Post  print


Magness is quoted in this piece about Canadian-Israeli filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici who is convinced that a Jesus-era tomb he recently explored with a team of archaeologists contains the remains of some of the earliest followers of Jesus and possibly those of the man who buried him.

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Event Appearances (1)

See Jodi's web site

Various locations  http://jodimagness.org/lecture.php

Articles (1)

View Magness' CV

Various publications

Link to CV for current articles

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