CRASL: Center for Research & Archaeology of the Southern Levant



CRASL draws on the many talents of a multi-disciplinary network of long-time associates in the USA and in Israel and welcomes you to join us and contribute whatever you have to offer.


Dr. Jessie A. Pincus - Project Director

Dr. Jessie A. Pincus doing a field study in Israel Dr. Jessie A. Pincus, former Faculty Fellow in the Texas A&M University CHC, Center for Heritage Conservation, collaborates with members of the Department of Geology and Geophysics at Texas A&M University. She completed her doctoral thesis at Bar Ilan University in Israel, where she spent 2003 - 2009 focusing on geoarchaeological support projects. Her dissertation is entitled "Geoarchaeological Data Acquisition and Modeling with Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) of Ancient Agricultural Terraced Fields in the Negev and Tell es-Safi/Gath". She is a State of Israel licensed archaeologist. She taught the course in Soils for Construction and Foundations at Texas A&M, while working as a postdoctoral researcher.

Her undergraduate work was begun at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio and completed at the University of Miami in Florida. Her doctoral work concentrated on geoarchaeological data acquisition and modeling using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) for strategic planning and decision support. She has been working since 2005 at several sites in the Southern Levant, with an emphasis on rough terrain GPR with archaeological support application, as well as interfacing of results in a GIS database model. Her work was under the supervision of Professor Aren Maeir, Professor Hanoch Lavee, formerly of the Department of Geography, Bar-Ilan University, and Dr. Moti Haiman of The Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology and the Israel Antiquities Authority. Professor Ben K. Sternberg, Ph.D., Director of the Laboratory for Advanced Subsurface Imaging, University of Arizona has also guided her in an advisory role towards GPR post-processing analysis throughout her career.

Dr. Jessie Pincus overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem in 2010 In addition to her doctoral work, Jessie has completed numerous projects and archaeogeophysical surveys throughout Israel. These sites include Kiryat Anavim Cemetery and Tel Mond Cemetery, forensics projects in support of the Israel Defense Forces' MIA department; and Hazor Archaeological Project, Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project, The City of David Excavations, Neolithic Sha'ar HaGolan Archaeological Project, and Tel Burna Archaeological Project, to name a few. Her doctoral work has focused on advanced data modeling of numerous archaeological, geological, geophysical, hydrological and climatic datasets, including data acquisition in the Negev desert at her 5 research sites of Avdat, Nizzana, Shivta, the Yatir Forest, and Tell es-Safi/Gath. She has also worked at several sites in the USA, including the Miami Circle in Florida, one of the few Prehistoric architectural structure remains in the country, the ancient Ortona canals in Central Florida, and Little Salt Springs on the west coast of Florida. She has published portions of her work in several journals and research editions.

Jessie brings specialized experience in rough-terrain situations where on-site innovation allows her to produce useful reports for both the researchers and professionals in the field.

Michael S. Pincus - CRASL Director

Michael S. Pincus on GPR Survey in Israel Michael S. Pincus is an Information Technology executive, strategist, and content analyst, who has given professional counsel to government, defense, and commercial enterprises in many fields over the last 25 years. Operating since 1986 through his US company Mnemotrix Systems, Inc., he provides custom intelligent agent database, and information mining, fusion and analysis services hosted and distributed over the Internet to corporate clients world-wide. His work includes advanced methods in data mining and fusion, for retrieving and correlating text and images using concepts and ideas and in natural language.

Having founded Thunderstone Software/Expansion Programs International, Inc. in 1981, which became a world leader in advanced information technology (builder of the search technology for eBay and Dogpile), he went on to design and implement advanced computing applications for NASA, the US Dept of Agriculture, the Dept of Energy, the Dept of Defense and other branches of the U.S. Government, for private corporations and educational institutions worldwide, and contributed to much of the early R&D in Artificial Intelligence in the field of Information Mining and Data Fusion.

Jessie with her Dad in the Negev
Jessie with her Dad
His work in the field of information mining and fusion was first introduced into the defense and aerospace world by Harry Zubkoff who was the editor in chief of Defense Media Review and Chief of the Pentagon's daily news publication "Current News". Mr. Pincus worked personally with Dr. Jonas Salk of the Salk Institute and Foundation building a unique medical informatics research database system which Dr. Salk and his associates used to strategically assist AIDS and retro-virus disease researchers worldwide, before his untimely death in 1995. He accumulated a great deal of international business experience, having pursued business extensively in Japan and the Pacific Rim, in Europe and in the Middle East. Mr. Pincus has built and hosted over 250 Business Intelligence, Market and Trend Analysis Systems for Leading Fortune 1000 companies.

Mr. Pincus's career spans over twenty-five years working with world class CEO's, scientists, and industry professionals to improve their strategic analysis skills, effectiveness, and competitive advantage.

Kathy W. Pincus - IT Director

Kathy in the Jerusalem bougainvillea during 2010 summer surveys Kathy W. Pincus is an Information and Database design specialist with expertise in applying advanced text analysis algorithms to complex information systems tasks including real-time applications across networks and the Internet. She is an expert in the design and integration of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) with near surface remote sensing applications. She has held the position of CIO and CTO for Mnemotrix Systems, Inc. since it began in 1986 as a technology developer and integrator for Advanced Information Systems applications. Mnemotrix has provided hosted online services where advanced technology solutions are required, always using state-of-the-art solutions.

Kathy runs the GPR System for a Negev survey Kathy has many years of hands-on experience in building and supporting advanced information processing applications, having participated in numerous projects and technical programs over the years. Having helped to found Thunderstone Software/Expansion Programs International, Inc. in 1981, which became a world leader in advanced information technology, she assisted in the design and implementation of hundreds of text application systems and computing applications for NASA, the Dept of Agriculture, the Dept of Energy, the Dept of Defense and other branches of the U.S. Government, for private corporations and educational institutions worldwide, and contributed to much of the early R&D in Artificial Intelligence in the field of Information Mining and Data Fusion.

In recent years she has focused on creating technical breakthroughs using Mnemotrix's intelligent text software and tools combined with state-of-the-art GIS technology, so that Mnemotrix is able to provide Text-to-GIS and GIS-to-Text solutions which do not exist elsewhere. She has extensive hands-on experience working in geoarchaeological support throughout Israel, by handling the data processing and systems functions for GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) surveys and is licensed by GSSI (Geophysical Survey Systems, Inc.) in this field. She has helped to create a GIS data model for open area archaeology in ancient agriculture which plots 30 years of survey reports on a high resolution map of Israel, in conjunction with the ADASR (Ancient Desert Agriculture Systems Revived) Project.

Currently she divides her time between Texas and Israel supporting all the many IT needs for CRASL, and working on specialized applications in both worlds.

Wayde Brackin - Texas Director & Program Coordinator in College Station

Wayde Brackin Wayde brings a different perspective to CRASL, as he believes that it is only through a better understanding of the past that we can better prepare leaders of tomorrow. Wayde's other interests include Martial Arts, good food, and always good company.

Wayde at David Gareja Monastery in Georgia
Wayde Brackin

Wayde has a passion for people, cultures, and history; starting in childhood it has matured with him. His curiosity about the past is utilized to effect positive change for the future. After Graduating from Sam Houston State University, he served in the United States Marine Corps. While overseas he often utilized his appreciation for history, allowing him to connect with the indigenous people of the regions. His journey has taken him through Native American Burial Grounds, Historical American Locations, Fortifications of Alexander The Great, Ancient City States along the Silk Road, Third Century Christian Churches, Cathedrals, Castles and much more.

Wayde's greatest accomplishment has been serving and seeing his actions positively affect change in people's lives. His greatest honor is having served with some of the greatest Men he has ever known, and carrying their sacrifice and memories with him. His motivation? The fallen, the forgotten, his brothers fighting silent battles, and those with open futures but facing overwhelming obstacles. Wayde says, "It is the burden of morally conscious leadership to serve, investing in their people and the future."

Dr. Aren Maeir - Academic Advisor

Aren Maeir of Bar Ilan University Aren Maeir is a professor at Bar Ilan University and director of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project. Born in 1958 in Rochester, New York, USA, he moved to Israel in 1969 and has lived there since. Following his service in the Israel Defence Forces (where he reached the rank of captain), he did his undergraduate and graduate studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (PhD 1997 summa cum laude), and did a post-doctorate (2002-2003) at the (now defunct) Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at MIT. He has been teaching at Bar-Ilan University since 1993, and acted as doctoral advisor for Jessie Pincus during her program there. He has participated in, and directed, numerous archaeological excavations in Israel, including at the following sites: Jerusalem, Hazor, Yoqneam, Tell Qasile, Beth-Shean, and since 1996, at Tell es-Safi/Gath.

His expertise lies in the Bronze and Iron Age cultures of the Eastern Mediterranean, with special emphasis on those of the Ancient Levant. Among the topics that he has studied are: ancient trade; metallurgy; pottery production and provenience; scientific applications in archaeology; archaeological survey; the archaeology of Jerusalem; The Middle Bronze Age of the Levant; chronology of the 2nd Millennium BCE; the Sea Peoples and the Philistines; relations between Egypt and the Levant; ancient weapons and warfare; ancient cult and religion.

Between 2005 and 2007 he served as the Chairman of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University. Along with Prof. Steve Weiner of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, he initiated and co-directs a joint Bar-Ilan University/Weizmann Institute of Science program in Archaeological Science.

Since 1996 he has directed the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project, excavating the ancient site of Tell es-Safi, which is identified as Canaanite and Philistine Gath (one of the five cities of the Philistines mentioned in the Bible, the home of Goliath).

Robert S. Carr - Heritage Conservation

Bob Carr in Jerusalem 2010 Bob Carr co-founded the Archaeological and Historical Conservancy of Florida in 1985. He has served as its full time director since 1999. He has worked as an archaeologist with the State of Florida's Division of Historic Resources and with the National Park Service. He was Miami-Dade County's first archaeologist and became the County's Historic Preservation Director in 1999. Bob has a Master's Degree in Anthropology from Florida State University. He is a former editor of the Florida Anthropologist and former president of the Florida Archaeological Council. He is a recipient of the Bullen Award, and received Florida's Historic Preservation Award in 2003.

With decades of experience in heritage conservation and learning projects in the US and the Bahamas, and years of working closely with Dr. Jessie Pincus and other CRASL participants in Florida, in 2010 Bob turns his attention to Classical Archaeology. He brings his expertise in managing a working 501(c) to CRASL and his enthusiasm for our many projects to come in the Southern Levant. This includes his experience in bringing "heritage trails" into municipality planning.

Shmuel Silinsky - Jerusalem Coordinator

Shmuel Silinsky in Jerusalem 2010 Born in New Jersey, Shmuel obtained a BSc at Cornell University in 1972 in Agriculture with a concentration in Communication Arts. His study of agriculture was mainly ornamental horticulture, including soils, plant pathology, plants and man, and rural sociology, and included coursework in archaeology in the Dept of History of Art and in the Classics Dept. The focus was on Old World civilizations of the eastern Mediterranean, primarily Pre-Classical such as Minoan, Mycenaean, Egyptian, etc.

In 1980 he undertook an independent study in Medicinal Plants and Pharmacognocy (plant sources of medicines) with a focus on 19th and early 20th century pharmacology.

In 1981 he moved to Jerusalem where he remains to this day having raised a family and worked as a Jerusalem educator, where he has many years of experience teaching and working in cooperative manner with various local groups and communities. He is considered an expert in the history and development of Jerusalem, especially the Old City.

Shmuel's horticultural experience includes extensive independent specialty work with desert plants. He has kept as a hobby a personal collection of cacti and succulents for many years, including many rare and unusual specimens, including independent research on the uses of the plants by native peoples. He has brought his extensive experience in landscape design from California into Jerusalem.

Through a lifetime friendship with Michael Pincus, Shmuel has given his many unique skills and qualities towards the goals of CRASL, and provides unique access to nooks and crannies in Jerusalem which are off the beaten path.

David Sussman - Israeli Tour Guide

David Sussman in Israel David Sussman is well known for his mastery of story-telling, charisma and colorful personality. David came to Israel on a visit in 2001 and never left. Since then he has immersed himself in the land and culture. He is an associate of Rabbi Shmuel Silinsky, CRASL's Jerusalem Coordinator. David served in the Israeli army in a combat unit as a Lone Soldier.

After his near death experience in the Second Lebanon War, David realized the importance of educating people about Israel. He graduated from the Archeological Seminar's two year course in 2009 and become a licensed tour guide from the Israel Ministry of Tourism.

David appears on cable network during a weekly show called Israel News Now as the in house tour guide for the segment called "Land of the Bible". He also travels the world telling his amazing survival story and has spoken to a multitude of groups including many high schools, colleges, and independent groups as well as putting together trips to Israel for CRASL Center for Research and Archaeology of the Southern Levant. David lives in Jerusalem with his wife and two children.

David helps to handle CRASL's itinerary building, logistical coordination, and special event planning needs . CRASL staff are available in the USA and in Israel 24/7 in assisting you in arranging flights, hotels, car rentals as needed, meals and coordinating adjunct visiting of historical sites and attractions and whatever else you will need when in Israel participating in our projects and programs.