The date 11/12/13 indeed is an auspicious day! Not only did I become a grandfather, but the hXRF arrived in the lab as well!
Persistent rumours out there are saying that the project director has become a grandfather.
This is duly confirmed!
Today, I brought in the beautiful ivory bowl from Area A to the Safi lab at BIU to have it drawn and photographed. Here you can see me removing the bowl from its special packaging, carefully handling it with gloves so that the ivory is not adversely affected by its handling. Needless to say, there were a lot of oohs and ahhs from the “crowd”…
It’s quite something – and from our initial study of the bowl and its parallels – it’s quite a special little fellow! :-)
Unless the weather is really bad, in three weeks, on Tuesday, Dec. 31st, we will conduct a short, half day dig at the site, to uncover an interesting stone installation that can be seen on the surface of the tell, in the lower city, about 200 or so meters east of Area D. If all goes well, we will excavate this stone installation, which appears to be similar to the large stone basin which was found in the 9th cent. BCE destruction level in Area A, and most probably served as part of an oil press. If this does in fact turn out to be something similar, this will strengthen our supposition that this type of oil press might represent a type typical of the 9th cent. BCE, prior to the appearance of the types well-known from various 8th and 7th cent. BCE sites (such as at nearby Ekron and Batash), and more developed than a type which is known at various sites in the Iron I (as discussed by R. Beeri in PEQ 2008).
This, by the way, has interesting implications vis-a-vis the question of whether or not olive oil production was a substantial agricultural production activity in Philistia prior to the 7th cent. BCE.
Should be very interesting!
See here a picture of the “bathtub” in the middle of Area A, in a photo taken in the 2004 season.
Amit, well-known to all of you who are involved in the Safi project, and the Handheld XRF which we will soon be receiving, are among the stars in a BIU newsletter that just came out.
Check it out! (on page 3)
Today, I went down to Tell es-Safi/Gath to meet two architects who deal with landscape/restoration in regards to a proposal that we are preparing on Tell es-Safi/Gath and its environment. To start with, it was very nice to visit the site – I have not been there since the summer. Second, here is a nice view from the north towards the tell. Those of you who are familiar with the site – notice that the large plowed area to the north of the site – where in most years there were various agricultural growths.
On my way down from Jerusalem to the tell, I stopped at site of Eshtaol, which has been reported extensively in the news in recent days (such as here, here and here). This is a fantastic site, with well-preserved architecture and finds from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, Pottery Neolithic, Late Chalcolithic, and Early Bronze IB (=Erani C). Amir Golani and Benyamin Storchan, two of the directors of the excavations, were very kind to give me a thorough tour of the site, as it was about to be covered over (that very day!). As they said, I was probably the last archaeologist to ever see the site…
To all Safiites, past, present and future, and to everyone else (is there anyone else?) as well – wishing you all a happy Chanukah!
Arik Einstein, Israel’s top singer – who has been compared to an Israeli combination of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Bob Marley – passed away last night. Anyone who has even the slightest idea about Israeli music over the last 40 years or so, will know that he really was in a different class than all.
And even though this has nothing directly to do with Tell es-Safi/Gath, here’s a clip of one the nicest songs he ever performed:
The Annual Meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research was just held in Baltimore, and although I did not participate (had too many things “on my plate” and had to act mature and responsible for a change), a paper of mine was delivered in the annual session on Philistia that Jeff Chadwick (aka Akhish Melekh Gath) and I chair. Jeff was kind enough to deliver the paper in my name.
As I gave a general overview of the finds from the 2013 season which might interest those reading the blog, here is the PP presentation, and the text of the lecture as given at the meeting.
Here is the PP presentation: ASOR 2013 Season at Tell es-Safi
And here is the text of the talk: ASOR Safi 2013 update talk
Today, Nov. 25th, 836 years ago (in 1177), the Battle of Montgisard (aka the Battle of Gezer) took place, in which the Frankish army under the command of young King Baldwin of Jerusalem, resoundingly defeated the Muslim army of Saladin.
Without a doubt, the Frankish knights and soldiers standing on the ramparts of Blanche Garde (those of the castle’s garrison who had not joined the battle itself) could see the battle – which was conducted just about 19 km to the north. Even nowadays, with all the smog of our modern industrial age, Gezer can be very clearly seen from the top of Tell es-Safi/Gath, standing on the foundations of Blanche Garde. A decade later, in 1187, the tables had turned, and Saladin completely destroyed the Frankish army at the Battle of Hattin.