Faculty Profiles

Daniel Master Faculty Headshot

Daniel Master, Ph.D.

Professor of Archaeology

On Faculty since 2000
BGH 540

For more than twenty-five years, Dr. Daniel Master's archaeological research has been part of the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon. The ancient city of Ashkelon was founded in the Stone Age and remained a major port until the end of the Crusades. This market town linked ancient highland kingdoms like Israel and Judah to lucrative Mediterranean markets. The Leon Levy Expedition has finished new excavation, and Dr. Master is working to publish the results of our many seasons of digging.

Beginning in 2016, he began a new project at Tel Shimron, in Northern Israel. In cooperation with his co-Director, Mario Martin of Tel Aviv University, he is investigating the largest city in the Jezreel Valley. This excavation is sponsored by the Museum of the Bible. Once again he will be investigating the Stone Age through the Medieval Period, but this time at an inland agricultural center. He is looking forward to taking another journey through the history of the ancient world. (Photo credit: Todd Rosenberg Photography).

Harvard University
Ph.D., Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, 2001

Harvard University
M.A., Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, 2000

Miami University
M.A., Ancient History, 1995

Philadelphia College of Bible
B.S., Bible, 1992

  • Archaeology
  • Ancient Israel
  • Philistines
  • Historical Geography
  • Petrography
  • Old Testament Literature

Biblical archaeology’s top 10 discoveries of 2016
Christianity Today

"Some of the secrets of the Philistines, the nemesis of the ancient Israelites, are expected to be revealed as archaeologists study remains excavated from a cemetery at Ashkelon. The excavations took place over the last three summers, but were revealed only in 2016. Although most of the main cities of the Philistines have been excavated, there is still a lot of important information that has eluded scholars. But that may change with the new information gleaned from these burials. 'It was just a goldmine of a cemetery,' said Daniel Master, a Wheaton College professor who co-directs the excavation..." view more

A bone to pick about Philistines
Discover Magazine

“'Seeing the Philistines face to face . . . allows us to proceed for the first time from a really solid foundation,' says Daniel Master, Ashkelon co-director and Wheaton College archaeologist. Master and Aja were tipped off about the cemetery in 2013, when a retired Israeli surveyor insisted he’d found human bones and pottery just outside Ashkelon’s gates during a construction project decades ago. Aja probed the grounds with a backhoe until he struck bone, locating the long-lost burial grounds..." view more

Philistine cemetery found in Southern Israel

"Archaeological research into the Philistines, an ancient people who ruled Ashkelon from 1150 BCE to around 604 BCE, has long focused on deciphering the way they lived and where they came from, as little has been discovered regarding their origins. However, this may just have changed according to Wheaton College’s Daniel Master, an archaeologist and the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon co-director. In a recent New York Times article, Dr. Master recounted the team’s new discovery: a cemetery that may have been harboring artifacts and human remains for 3,000 years – or perhaps even longer. This would be the first Philistine cemetery ever discovered, the archaeologist added, remarking that with the site located right next to the once-Philistine metropolis, it was unmistakable..." view more

Unearthed bones bring Philistines to life
The Harvard Gazette

"'It was just a goldmine of a cemetery,' said Daniel Master, an archaeology professor at Wheaton College in Illinois and a co-director of the Harvard-backed Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon, which carried out the first-ever excavation of a Philistine burial ground, found at the site in 2013. 'Every kind of idea we would want was there.'..." view more

  • 2016- Co-Director, Tel Shimron Excavations
  • 2016-17 Curator, Israel Museum, Ashkelon: A Retrospective, Exhibition at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem
  • 2012-2014 Co-Curator, “Masters of Fire: Copper Age Art from Israel,” Exhibition at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University
  • 2011-2013 General Editor, Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology and the Bible
  • 2008-9 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, Albright Institute for Archaeological Research, Jerusalem
  • 2007- Field Director, Co-Principal Investigator, Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon
  • 2007- Research Associate, Harvard Semitic Museum, Harvard University
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology of Syria-Palestine
  • Archaeological Method and Theory
  • Historical Geography
  • Old Testament Archaeology
  • Religions of Israel and the Ancient Near East
  • Advanced Seminar: Ashkelon and the Ports of the Mediterranean
  • Advanced Seminar: Greeks in the East
  • Advanced Seminar: Advanced Historical Geography
  • Advanced Seminar: Ancient Economy
  • Advanced Seminar: Social Background of the Biblical Writers
  • Advanced Seminar: Tell Dothan
  • Advanced Seminar: Maritime Archaeology
  • Advanced Seminar: The Late Bronze Age Transition in Palestine Biblical Studies
  • Old Testament Literature
  • Exodus
  • Deuteronomy

The Philistine Cemetery of Ashkelon Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, Master, Daniel M. and Adam J. Aja, 2017

The Basilica, Bouleuterion, and Civic Center of AshkelonAmerican Journal of Archaeology, Ryan Boehm, Daniel M. Master, and Robyn LeBlanc, 2016

Buy Low, Sell High: The Marketplace in AshkelonBiblical Archaeology Review, Daniel M. Master and Lawrence E. Stager, 2014, Winner of Best of BAR award.

Economy and Exchange in the Iron Age Kingdoms of the Southern Levant  Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, Daniel M. Master, 2014 

The House Shrine of Ashkelon, Israel Exploration Journal, Daniel M. Master and Adam J. Aja, 2011

Ashkelon 3: The Seventh Century B.C., Lawrence E. Stager, Daniel M. Master, and J. David Schloen, (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2011) Winner of the Levi-Sala Prize for best archaeological field report.

Ashkelon 1: Introduction and Overview (1985-2006), Lawrence E. Stager, J. David Schloen, Daniel M. Master, eds. (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2008)