Degree Year


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Archaeological Studies


Cynthia R. Chapman
Amy Vlassia Margaris


Oberlin College, ONESC, Herbert G. May, Levant, Harry Thomas Frank


Housed in Oberlin College’s Religion department, the Oberlin Near East Study Collection encompasses a wide variety of archaeological material from the Southern Levant. Its roughly 650 artifacts encompass a vast time span from the Epipaleolithic to the Modern Period with most objects coming from the Iron Age. As a teaching collection, the objects were used to vivify Biblical texts for generations of students in Oberlin’s School of Theology and later in the College’s department of Religion. Starting in the 1980s, the collection began to receive only limited use with its contents being largely forgotten. This thesis utilizes the collection's artifacts, archival documentation, and secondary sources to reconstruct the history of how the collection was assembled and how it was used to teach at Oberlin College. By focusing on these themes, the collection can be used as a proxy to better understand a chapter in the field of Biblical Archaeology as well as the wide variety of collecting strategies employed by Biblical Archaeologists.