Irit Zohar is the collection manager of Beit Margolin Biological Collections, in charge of cataloguing, digitization and conservation of the collections.
Irit participated in several SYNTHESIS training courses in collections management, and other courses such as fluid preservation course, CETAF shipping workshop, Mobilise training school, and more.
Irit’s research focuses on comparative anatomy and osteology of fish (from different habitats), using traditional methods, establishment of a reference collection, and new techniques (Micro CT; 3 D camera).
The fish osteological collection include more than 600 skeletons of fish from various habitats: Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Freshwater, and the Nile (Egypt). This collection is used to identify fish remains recovered from: lacustrine sediments, animals gut contents, and archaeological sites in the southern Levant and South Africa. Identification of the fish remains are used to reconstruct species composition from aquatic habitats, and changes in fish communities through time (diversity, speciation, body size, etc.), from the Lower Paleolithic (1.5 MYA) to historical periods. Analysis of the fish remains are used to characterize their economic value to past populations; detect past fishing technologies and processing methods.
Irit conducted several taphonomical experiments on fish natural death and fish bone survival following burning and cooking (using XRD and FTIR), as well as ethnographic studies on fish exploitation by traditional fishing communities in Panama (central America) and Sinai (Egypt).
Recent study focus on identifying the the fish isotopic signature (18O/16O; 87Sr/86Sr) as environmental marker of the aquatic habitat in which the fish were captured.
Zohar, I. (2017)
Fish exploitation during the Quaternary: Recent knowledge, in: Enzel, Y., Bar-Yosef, O. (Eds.), Quaternary of the Levant: Environments, Climate Change, and Humans, Cambridge University Press, University Printing House, Cambridge, United Kingdom, pp. 369-376.
Zohar, I., Dayan, T., Goren, M., Nadel, D., and Hershkovitz, I. (2018)
Opportunism or aquatic specialization? Evidence of freshwater fish exploitation at Ohalo II- a waterlogged Upper Paleolithic site. PLoS ONE, 13(6): 1-28
Sisma-Ventura, G., Tütken T., Zohar I., Pack, A., Sivan, D., Lernau, O., Gilboa A., and Bar-Oz, G. (2018)
Tooth oxygen isotopes reveal Late Bronze Age origin of Mediterranean fish aquaculture and trade. Scientific Reports 8, 14086-14097.
Zohar, I. and Artzy, M. (2019)
The role of preserved fish: Evidence of fish exploitation, processing and long-term preservation at the Eastern Mediterranean, during the Late Bronze Age (14th-13th Centuries BCE). Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 23: 900-909
Zohar I. and Cooke, R. (2019)
The role of dried fish: A multivariate model for identifying fish long-term preservation in the past. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 26, 101864.
Sisma-Ventura G., Tütken T., Peters S., Bialik, O. M., Zohar I., and Pack A. (2019)
Past aquatic environments in the Levant inferred from stable isotope compositions of carbonate and phosphate in fish teeth. Past aquatic environments in the Levant inferred from stable isotope compositions of carbonate and phosphate in fish teeth, PLOS ONE 14, e0220390.
Fisher, E. Cawthra, H.C., Esteban, I., Jeradino, A., Neumann, F.H., Oertle, A., Pargeter, J., Saktura, R. B., Szabó, K., and Zohar, I. (2020)
Coastal occupation and foraging during the Last Glacial Maximum and Early Holocene at Waterfall Bluff, eastern Pondoland, South African. Quaternary Research,1-41.