Melissa Barker first qualified as a French Chef in 1999, at the Belvoirpark Swiss Hotelschule and worked for many years in the Restaurant industry. In 2008, she gave it all up to start a new career in Archaeology. She passed her BA Degree in Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilisations with Honours in 2014, and went further to complete her BA Honours Degree with Cum Laude in 2016. In 2021, she completed her Master’s Degree in Ancient Food and Ceramics (UNISA). Her research focused on the Yale Babylonian cooking recipes (YOS 11 25) written in 1700 BC, as well as the pottery that was used during this period.
Between 2013-2018 Melissa participated in archaeological excavations at Hazor, Israel, a World Heritage Site. For the last three years of this period she assisted in the ceramic restorations of the site.
Tell Hazor is the largest archaeological site in Northern Israel of about 200 Acres and had a population of 15000 to 20 000 people. Hazor is located in upper Galilee just north of the Sea of Galilee in the Southern Hula valley. In Middle Bronze period/Canaanite period (1750BC) and the Israelite period of (900 BC), Hazor was the largest fortified city in Israel. To put it in perspective it is 10 times larger than Jerusalem, and in 2005 it was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Currently Hazor is being excavated by the Hebrew University under the directorship of Prof Amnon Ben Tor and Shlomit Becar, as site supervisor