Fulfilling the Cobb Institute Research Mission ’ For more than a quarter of a century the Cobb Institute at Mississippi State University has pursued its founding mission to provide sponsorship for archaeological research in the countries of the Middle East and North America. While Cobb sponsored investigations in the Middle East have brought a new dimension of research activity to the Mississippi State campus, its North American research work has continued and enhanced existing programs that were pioneered and developed during the 1960's by Anthropology faculty.

Middle Eastern Archaeology

Lahav Research Project Excavations at Tell Halif, Israel

Since 1983 the Cobb Institute has been the major sponsor of the Lahav Research Project (LRP) and its program of archaeological and related investigations at Tell Halif in southern Israel (See map). The project has continued through four phases (I-IV) embracing twelve seasons of field excavation and regional survey work. These revealed nineteen separate occupation phases at the site (See strata chart). These include major settlements from the Early Bronze Age (3200-2300 B.C.) and from the Israelite period of the Iron II period (900-700 B.C.) as well as significant finds from the Chalcolithic era (3500-3200 B.C.) and from the Late Bronze Age (1550-1200 B.C.) when the site largely was under Egyptian influence. Traces also exist of Persian and Hellenistic period occupation (500-100 B.C.). Major settlement resumed again in the Late Roman and Byzantine eras (100-600 A.D.) when the region was the scene of Jewish and Christian resettlement after the Roman destruction of Jerusalem. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries A.D., the site was the occupied seasonally by Bedouin groups and fellahin from neighboring villages. Kibbutz Lahav was established on the eastern flank of the tell in 1952. Detailed excavation reports from each season have been filed with the Israel Antiquities Authority and with ASOR’s Committee of Archaeological Policy. In addition, numerous preliminary reports and interpretive studies on the LRP’s work have appeared in the Israel Exploration Journal, Revue Biblique, the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, and elsewhere (See LRP Publications). (For additional detailed results of the Project’s work, see below.)

The LRP was organized by Joe D. Seger in 1974; Phase I of its work was conducted between 1976 and 1980 with sponsorship by the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Phases II (1983-1989) and III (1992-1999) were conducted under Cobb Institute auspices. Phase IV was initiated in 2007 under Emory University sponsorship. During all field seasons, efforts have also been assisted by consortia of other American academic institutions and with support in Israel from the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research and the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology, both in Jerusalem, and from the Joe Alon Center for Regional and Folklore Studies at Kibbutz Lahav. Throughout, the LRP has been affiliated with the American Schools of Oriental Research as one of its approved projects. (See Staff list.)

Through all phases, financial support by consortium institutions was supplemented by gifts received as contributions from staff members, subscribers, and worker participants. We are sincerely grateful to this large group of individuals for their participation in and generous support of LRP work. (See Contributors List.)

At the same time, we also recognize that none of the project's work could have been accomplished without the help of the members of Kibbutz Lahav. With warm encouragement and much material assistance, Lahav's members have provided a supportive and congenial base for the LRP team's field research through all of the past three decades. The LRP is indebted to them.

Excavations in Field I, Tell Halif

A detailed report of excavation on the eastern (Field I) side of Tell Halif is found here. This report gives details of stratigraphy and finds from the Early Bronze Stratum XV through Stratum I as found in Field I. Excavation was directed by Dr. Joe D. Seger, Project Director, Dr. Paul Jacobs (Field Supervisor). The digital presentation was prepared by Dr. Paul Jacobs.

Excavations in Field IV, Tell Halif

A detailed report of excavation on the western (Field IV) side of Tell Halif is found here. This report gives details of stratigraphy and finds from the Iron II Stratum VI and Persian through Byzantine Strata V-II as found in Field IV. Excavation was directed by Dr. Joe D. Seger, Project Director, Dr. Paul Jacobs (co-Field Supervisor for FIeld IV 1992-93 seasons, Field Supervisor for 1999 season), and Dr. Oded Borowski, co-Field Supervisor for FIeld IV 1992-93 seasons). The digital presentation was prepared by Dr. Paul Jacobs.

Chert Cores from Tell Halif

Nine chert cores from which Canaanean style blades and tabular scrapers ("fan scrapers") have been struck were found in Field I at Halif. A few were found on floors of Early Bronze III houses, indicating that knapping of blades was part of the daily routine.

Figurines from Tell Halif

Some 800 ceramic figurines, the majority belonging to the Persian era and some to the Iron II period of Judah, were found in excavation of Field IV on the western edge of the tell. In this site they have been classified by type and described in detail. Each of the figurine fragments is shown in photographs, many also shown as drawings and QuickTime movies. This digital report on the Halif figurine corpus was prepared by Nancy Serwint of Arizona State University (descriptions and typology), Paul Jacobs, Cobb Institute of Archaeology, and Chris Holland, Concept House, Inc.

Figurines from Tell Maresha

Tell Maresha has yielded in excavation some 450 figurines from the Persian, Hellenisitc and Roman periods. The excavators, Dr. Amos Kloner and Dr Adi Erlich, have made the images of these figurines available for comparative study. This digital presentation of Maresha figurines was prepared by Dr. Adi Erlich (descriptions and typology), Paul Jacobs, Chris Holland, and Nancy Jacobs.

The Artifacts of the Pierides - Marfin Laiki Bank Museum of Larnaca, Cyprus

The Pierides Museum in Larnaca, Cyprus, includes items from the Neolithic to the Mamluk periods of the history of Cyprus. Some 2000 items in the Pierides collection are presented here. This digital museum site was prepared by Peter Ashdjian (Director of the Pierides Museum), Chris Holland, Paul Jacobs, and Nancy Jacobs.

Iron II Pottery from Field IV, Tell Halif

Refitted and whole pottery found in Field IV at Tell Halif. Many of these vessels were found on living floors of Iron II pillared houses. The whole forms are useful for excavators who ordinarily deal with sherds. The site includes 125 examples. Dr. Paul Jacobs constructed these vessels, photographed them, and pepared the descriptions. Dylan Karges created the drawings.

Halif Site 101 Salvage Excavation, 1985

In the spring of 1985 Paul Jacobs directed a salvage excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. The three week excavation centered on an area at the foot of Tell Halif and extending into the fields of Kibbutz Lahav. The salvage work was occasioned by planned construction of housing at Kibbutz Lahav. This digital report was prepared by Dr. Paul Jacobs.

Affiliated Academic Programs

Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures

North American Archaeology

The Lyon's Bluff Site (22OK520) is a Mississippian mound and village site located in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi. Several episodes of archaeological investigation have been undertaken at the site by MSU researchers over the past forty years. Most notable are the seasons of new excavations conducted at the site as part of MSU's archaeological field school program in the summers of 2001 and 2003.

The Lineage Bibliographic Index provides a research tool for those interested in the application of Darwinian theory in archaeology. Lineage provides a database of over 200 references pertaining to the work of archaeologists interested in the utility of Darwinian theory for explaining how and why particular kinds of cultural phenomena came to be.

During the summer of 2005, Cobb Institute researchers S. Homes Hogue and Jeffrey Alvey were involved in burial recovery at an unmarked African-American cemetery in Lowndes County, Mississippi that dates from the late nineteenth century to 1956. The cemetery was located on the outskirts of the Weyerhaeuser Pulp and Paper Plant near Columbus, Mississippi and was discovered when construction aimed at expanding a portion of the plant disturbed human remains.

From June 7 to July 1, 2004, Cobb Institute researchers initiated investigations at the Pocahontas Mound A site (22Hi500) in northeastern Hinds County, MS. The investigations were necessitated by MDOT plans to transform the Pocahontas Mound A site into a roadside park. The Pocahontas site is a Mississippi Landmark, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The park, which opened in the spring of 2008, features an educational center and interpretive trail designed to provide information to the public concerning the site’s cultural and historical importance.

A database of freshwater mussel shells recovered from archaeological sites in Mississippi, with descriptions of sites and collection and range maps for fifty species as they existed prior to modern human impacts in the state.