and first director of the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums (1948). Born in Odessa (Ukraine) Yeivin immigrated to Palestine as a child and was educated in Tel Aviv. He served in the Turkish army in World War I and afterward studied Egyptology, Semitic philology, and Arabic at the University of London. During that period he had the unique opportunity to acquire considerable field experience on excavations in Palestine as well as in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Because of his philological expertise he was appointed chief translator for the British mandatory government in Palestine from 1944 to 1948.
Following the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, the country and Jerusalem, its capital, were divided. The Jewish state was suddenly detached from all Palestinian archaeological organizations, collections, and records libraries, including the Palestine Museum (now the Rockefeller Museum), which remained in the Jordanian sector of Jerusalem. Yeivin was assigned the task of creating a new archaeological service to deal with excavation and antiquities. He did so by creating the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums (IDAM). Upon his retirement from the IDAM, Yeivin, with Yohanan Aharoni, founded the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University. Of the several excavations Yeivin conducted, the most important was at Tel ῾Erani, which he identified with Gath of the Philistines, an identification no longer accepted. His work at ῾Erani revealed an Early Bronze Age city, one of the major cities of the third millennium in the central part of the country. Unfortunately, he published only preliminary reports of that excavation.
[See also ῾Erani, Tel.]
- Abramsky, Shmuel, ed. Sefer Shemu'el Yevin: Meḥkarim ba-Mikra, arkhe'ologyah, lashon ve-toldot Yisra'el, mugashim lo be-hagi῾o la-sevah. Jerusalem, 1970.
- Aharoni, Yohanan, ed. Ḥafirot u-meḥḳarim: Mugash le-Profesor Shemu'el Yeivin/Excavations and Studies. Publications of the Institute of Archaeology, no. 1. Tel Aviv, 1973. See pages 9–11.
- “Bibliography of Shmuel Yeivin.” Bulletin of the Israel Exploration Society 13 (1947): 67–73.
- Yeivin, Shmuel. A Decade of Archaeology in Israel, 1948–1958. Istanbul, 1960.
- Yeivin, Shmuel. Preliminary Report on the Excavations at Tel Gat (Tell Sheykh ῾Ahmed el῾Areyny). Jerusalem, 1961.
- Yeivin, Shmuel. The Israelite Conquest of Canaan. Istanbul, 1971.