Daniel Fuks


As an archaeobotanist, Daniel Fuks studies past human-plant interaction, with a primary geographic focus on the southern Levant. He seeks to bring the local archaeobotanical data he generates to bear on scholarship of long-term plant domestication and diffusion, ancient agriculture/pastoralism, and ancient economic history in the Mediterranean and beyond. He completed undergraduate degrees in Music and Economics at the University of Pittsburgh (USA) and an MA and PhD in Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University (Israel). In between degrees he also gained experience in small-scale vegetable, orchard, and vineyard cultivation in Israel. He conducted his PhD research as a member of the ERC-funded NEGEVBYZ project on the Byzantine-Islamic transition in the Negev, supervised by Prof Ehud Weiss (Bar-Ilan) and project PI, Prof Guy Bar-Oz (U. Haifa). He is currently a British Academy Newton International Fellow at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, U. Cambridge, supervised by Prof Matthew Collins and co-supervised by Prof Cyprian Broodbank. His research project, “The flowering desert”, aims to reconstruct first millennium CE agricultural developments in the Negev desert and beyond from ancient herbivore dung microbiomes and rubbish-dump plant remains. 

Key publications:

Fuks, D. and Dunseth, Z. 2020. Dung in the dumps: what we can learn from multi-proxy archaeobotanical study of herbivore dung pellets. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00334-020-00806-x

Fuks, D., Bar-Oz, G., Tepper, Y., Erickson-Gini, T., Langgut, D., Weissbrod, L. and Weiss, E. 2020. The rise and fall of viticulture in the Negev Highlands during Late Antiquity: An economic reconstruction from quantitative archaeobotanical and ceramic data. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 117 (33): 19780-19791. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1922200117.

Fuks, D., Amichay, O. and Weiss, E. 2020. Innovation or preservation? Abbasid aubergines, archaeobotany and the Islamic Green Revolution. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 12(50). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-019-00959-5.

Dunseth, Z.*, Fuks, D.*, Langgut, D., Weiss, E., Butler, D., Yan, X., Boaretto, E. Tepper, Y., Bar-Oz, G., and Shahack-Gross, R. 2019. Archaeobotanical proxies and archaeological interpretation: a comparative study of phytoliths, seeds and pollen in dung pellets and refuse deposits at Early Islamic Shivta, Negev, Israel. Quaternary Science Reviews, 211: 166-185. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.03.010.

*Equal contribution

Bar-Oz, G., Weissbrod, L., Erickson-Gini, T., Tepper, Y. Malkinson, D., Benzaquen, M., Langgut, D., Dunseth, Z., Butler, D., Shahack-Gross, R., Roskin, Y., Fuks, D., Weiss, E., Marom, N., Ktalav, I., Blevis, R., Zohar, I., Farhi, Y., Filatova, A., Gorin-Rosen, Y., Yan, X. and Boaretto, E. 2019. Ancient trash mounds unravel urban collapse a century before the end of Byzantine hegemony in the southern Levant. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 116(17): 8239-8248. http://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1900233116.

Amichay, O., Ben-Ami, D., Tchekhanovets, Y., Shahack-Gross, R., Fuks, D. and Weiss, E. 2019. A bazaar assemblage: reconstructing consumption, production and trade from mineralised seeds in Abbasid Jerusalem. Antiquity 93 (367): 199-217. http://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2018.180.

Fuks, D. and Marom, N. 2018. The plants and animals of the Land of Israel. In Greer, J. Hilber, J. and Walton, J. (eds.), Behind the scenes of the Old Testament: Historical, cultural, and social contexts of Ancient Israel, pp. 28-36. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

Fuks, D., Ackermann, O., Ayalon, A., Bar-Matthews, M., Bar-Oz, G., Levi, Y., Maeir, A.M., Weiss, E., Zilberman, T. and Safrai, Z. 2017. Dust clouds, climate change and coins: consiliences of palaeoclimate and economy in the Late Antique southern Levant. Levant 49 (2): 205-223. https://doi.org/10.1080/00758914.2017.1379181.

Fuks, D., Weiss, E., Tepper, Y. and Bar-Oz, G. 2016. Seeds of collapse? Reconstructing the ancient agricultural economy at Shivta in the Negev, Antiquity 90(353). https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2016.167.