The International Bethlehem Conference

Bethlehem University
The Faculty of Arts / The Office of the Dean of Research
Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Program

Call for Papers 2023
The International Bethlehem Conference
Bethlehem: History, Archaeology and Cultural Heritage
Venue: Bethlehem University, 5 Frère Street, Bethlehem, Palestine Conference
Date: 9-10 March 2023

The Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Program at Bethlehem University is pleased to announce the international conference: “Bethlehem: History, Archeology and Cultural Heritage” to be held simultaneously in-person and online at Bethlehem University/Palestine on 9-10 March 2023.

Bethlehem is an important city rich in its long history. It is the birthplace of Jesus Christ, who was born in the cave on which the Church of the Nativity was built and became the city’s distinctive landmark. Over time, ancient and contemporary cultural landmarks were erected in the city and its geographical surroundings that characterize the cultural, social and political scene. Bethlehem, like other Palestinian cities, contributes to the understanding of the nature of the Palestinian struggle for freedom against Zionist settler colonialism and ethnic cleansing project and Zionist settler colonialism and its political, social and cultural ramification on the scene in the city and its environs. Bethlehem and its surroundings are distinctive for their cultural heritage sites, where various archaeological excavations and numerous research and field studies have been carried out in the field of archaeology and cultural heritage. Therefore, this conference will address multiple themes on the archaeology, heritage, and history of Bethlehem, and will highlight its tangible and intangible heritage, and some related problems that still need to be addressed.

Scientific Committee
• Iman al-Saca / Saint Xavier University- Chicago
• Jamil Khader / Bethlehem University
• Hamdan Taha / independent researcher, and Coordinator of the History of Palestine Project, former Undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities
• Issam Halayqa / Birzeit University
• Omar Al-Ghul / Yarmouk University
• Omar Abed Rabo / Bethlehem University
• Mahmoud Hawari / Former Director of the Palestinian Museum, Professor in the Master’s Program in Tourism at Bethlehem University
• Hanadi Younan / Bethlehem University
• Jutta Häser / Bethlehem University

Conference Themes

  1. Bethlehem in History
    • Historical geography
    • travel literature
    • Bethlehem in historical and archaeological sources
    • Oral history (city, villages, camps)
    • Bethlehem in the records? documents of churches and monasteries
    • Bethlehem in the Ottoman Records (sijjillat) and Sharia Courts
  2. Ancient Inscriptions from the Bethlehem Region
    • Inscriptions from the Middle Bronze Age – until the second century AD
    (beginning with Egyptian and Aramaic)
    • Inscriptions from Bethlehem in the Roman and Byzantine period
    • Arabic inscriptions from Bethlehem until the end of the Ottoman period
    • Coins and other currencies from the Bethlehem region through the ages
  3. Archaeological Excavations and Surveys in the Bethlehem Region
    • The monasteries in the wilderness of Bethlehem and its rural surroundings
    • Graves and burials in Bethlehem through the ages
    • Church of the Nativity and Religious Heritage
    • Dead Sea Scrolls
  4. The Cultural, Natural and Political Scenes in Bethlehem and its Environs
    • The urban development of Bethlehem and its rural surroundings through the ages
    • The political scene in Bethlehem
    • The impact of settler colonialism on the cultural, urban and political scene in Bethlehem and its surroundings
    • Arts, crafts and traditional industries
  5. Preservation, Development and Management of Cultural Heritage Sites and Institutions
    • Management of archaeological sites and cultural heritage projects of preserving cultural, archaeological and architectural heritage sites in the Bethlehem region
    • Traditional architecture in Bethlehem and its rural surroundings
    • Historic centers and plans for their preservation and sustainable development
    • Museums: managing and developing them
  6. Educational Programs on the Local and Regional history
    • Community Archaeology (universities schools and local institutions)

Important Notes
• The length of the presentation is 20 minutes plus 5 minutes for discussion.
• Abstracts will be reviewed by expert scientific committees.
• Selected papers from the conference will be published in a special issue in the Bethlehem University Journal after anonymous review and revision
• Abstracts and complete research papers are to be submitted according to the dates below, and any inquiries related to the conference should be sent to the conference e-mail.

Conference languages
• Arabic
• English

Important dates
• Conference Date: 9-10 March 2023
• Abstract submission date: 15 November 2022
• Reply to accepted abstracts: 1 December 2022
• Complete research papers, after making the required revisions, due: 15 January 2023
• Announcement of the final program of the conference: 1 March 2023

Terms and conditions of participation
• To submit a paper or poster to the Bethlehem International Conference, candidates must send an abstract by email to: ,
• The research must be original.
• The research should not be extracted from a dissertation or a master’s thesis.
• The abstract should include a clear title, research problem and results, and should not exceed 250 words.
• The author needs to provide his/her contact information, his/her institutional affiliation and his/her e-mail address clearly for communication purposes.
• In cases of research collaboration among different authors, the first author will be expected to present the paper.
• Each candidate or group may submit only one paper.
• Use Simplified Arabic font size 14 in Arabic papers and Times New Roman font size 12 in English papers.
• Final studies and papers should not exceed 7000 words, including full documentation, according to the format used in the discipline.

The conference activities will include a tour of the landmarks and cultural heritage sites in Bethlehem, and it will conclude its activities with a concert by one of the Palestinian heritage groups in the area.