Avital Heyman (b. 1963, Israel) graduated the Department of Art History, Tel- Aviv University. In her Ph.D.thesis (1996), titled “The Visual Representations of    Patrons and Patronage in Auvergnat Sculpture of the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries”, she discussed the social and political structures of Auvergne, as visualized in the Romanesque representations of the upraising laity, vis-à-vis its problematic relations with the Church. At present, she is a senior-lecturer (partial position) in Sapir College, Sderot (Department of Culture, Creativity and Production; Department of Interdisciplinary Humanistic Studies and Department of Architectural Engineering), and in Achva College, where she teaches medieval history in the Bedouin Program. She taught in various academic institutes in Israel (Tel-Aviv University; Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; various colleges of education; various art and design schools). Her teaching experience consists of special programs, aimed at particular groups, such as Arab women (Menasche College, 1995), Bedouin students (Achva College, 2011-present), a group of pilots of the Israel Air Forces (University of New Haven in its branch in Tel-Aviv, 1997). She specializes in unique interdisciplinary programs.

Avital Heyman’s scientific publications include a book by the Pindar Press, London (2005, ‘That Old Pride of the Men of the Auvergne’ – Laity and Church in Auvergnat Romanesque Sculpture), and numerous articles in scientific journals and collections of essays (such as: Arte Medievale, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Iconographica, Cahiers de Civilisation Médiévale).

Avital Heyman’s fields of expertise encompass Social and political art history of Romanesque sculpture; Medieval laity and the Church; Liturgical topography of cult centers of the Virgin Mary in the Massif Central, France; Topography and definition of cultural, cultic and pilgrimage roads; Migration of Jerusalemite cultic practices and traditions to northern Europe; Enigmatic Romanesque sculpture imagery; Crusader sculpture and architecture. Avital Heyman organized and participated in plentiful international conferences, meetings, and seminars, and she guides students and specialists in holy sites and pilgrimage centers in Israel and Europe.

Her interest in the medieval history of the relations established between churchmen and lay society led her to specialize in ecumenical relations, and she serves as organizer and counselor of ecumenical encounters. In 2010 she directed an ecumenical rite in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, aimed at bridging the divergent traditions of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem and Santiago de Compostela

As a specialist of the Holy Land, Avital Heyman works with all the Christian denominations and strives to strengthen the Christian presence in the Middle East in general, and in the Holy Land, in particular. Another aspect of her international activity is her involvement within descendants of Sephardic converted Jews of the Expulsion from Spain who wish to return to the Jewish people.



HEYMAN, A., ‘That Old Pride of the Men of the Auvergne’ – Laity and Church in Auvergnat Romanesque Sculpture, London: Pindar Press, 2005.

Referencied Articles:

HEYMAN, A., “The Donor’s Homage – Architectural Renderings in Twelfth-Century Sculpture and their Significance”, en Motar (Journal of Faculty of the Arts, Tel Aviv University, Ed. N. Kenaan-Kedar), 2 (1994), pp. 77-85 (in Hebrew).

HEYMAN, A., “The Representation of the Holy Sepulchre in Auvergnat Romanesque Sculpture: A Reflection of Crusader Patrons”, a M. Balard (Ed.), “Autour de la première croisade”, en Actas de la Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East, Clermont-Ferrand, 22-25 Juny 1995, París: Byzantina Sorbenensia, 14 (1996), pp. 633- 642 [PDF].

HEYMAN, A., “The Hand that Servers and the Servered Hand: Sculptural Evidence for the “Mountain People’s” Defeat  in Auvergne”, en Arte Medievale, II Serie, 12-13 (1998-1999), pp. 75- 82 [PDF].

HEYMAN, A., “Good or Bad Shepherds in Twelfth-Century Auvergne: Visual Evidence of Social Structures and Tensions”, en Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 142 (2000), pp. 57-68 [PDF].

HEYMAN, A., “Virtuous and Inquitous Nobles in Romanesque Auvergne”, en Iconographica, 4 (2005), pp. 22- 45 [PDF].

HEYMAN, A., “À l’ombre de Cluny: Hagiographie et politique du portail de Saint-Hilaire de Semur-en-Brionnais”, en Cahiers de Civilisation Médiévale, 50 (2007), pp. 289-312 [PDF].

HEYMAN, A., Ya se posan nuestros pies  antes tus puertas, oh Jerusalén¨, in Francisco Singul (ed.), Las tres peregrinaciones, Santiago de Compostela: Xacobeo, 2010 (in Spanish). [PDF]

HEYMAN, A., “Fulcher’s Bestiary at the Door of the Holy Sepulcher”, in Yitzhak Hen and Iris Shagrir (eds.), “See and Touch”: Pilgrimage and Holy Sites in Judaism, Christianity and Islam – Essays presented to Ora Limor, 2011, Ra’anana: Open University, pp. 215-230 (in Hebrew).

HEYMAN, A., “Fulcher’s Bestiary at the Door of the Holy Sepulchre,” Ad Limina, Vol. 6, 2015, pp. 33-80 (extended version of No. 8). [PDF]

 HEYMAN, A., “Sirens Chanting in Auvergne-Velay: A story of Exegetical Pilgrimage on the Via podensis”, Ad Limina, 4, Núm. 4 (2013), p. 69-115. [PDF]

HEYMAN, A., “The Deēsis of the Valley of Jehoshaphat: Melisende and the Monumental Sacred Deēsis Topography of Crusader Jerusalem”. Israel Museum, a special issue of Israel Museum Studies in Archeology, Jerusalem (forthcoming in Hebrew and English).

HEYMAN, A., “Un reto para el “taller de Melisenda”: la decoración de Santa María en el Valle de Josafat y el proyecto monumental de la Jerusalén cruzada,” Forthcoming in: Magistri Cataloniae, ed. Manuel Castiñeiras, Barcelona, 2016 (in Spanish).