Great book: “Complex Communities” by B. Porter

Just finished reading a great book – Complex Communities: The Archaeology of Early Iron Age West-Central Jordan, B. J. Porter (Univ. of Arizona, 2013). The book describes his research on early Iron Age sites in central Jordan, and provides a very sophisticated and well-thought out view on communities existing in a marginal zone. Short, dense – but highly readable, and with many important insights for the study of the early Iron Age Levant in general, and marginal (and non-marginal) societies in general. I particularly liked how he stresses the need to look at a much higher resolution at the various groups which are defined in most scholarship about the Iron Age Levant (Israelites, Philistines, Moabites, etc.), and how community level archaeological research can provide important and even revolutionary insights on these (and other) cultures and periods.

Very relevant for studying non-marginal early Iron Age cultures as well – such as the Philistines, Canaanites, and Israelites/Judahites.



Palestinians and Philistines

As I’ve clarified many times before, there is no cultural (and genetic) connection between the ancient Philistines and the contemporary Palestinians – save for that the Palestinians are people who live in the area which from Graeco-Roman times was known as Philistia – in itself a toponym which remembers the presence of the Philistine culture in the southern Coastal Plain during the Iron Age.

But now, I think we have a good connection!

I’ve been informed that due to the missiles that the Palestinians in Gaza are firing towards Ashdod, the Museum of Philistine Culture in Ashdod is still closed! Is nothing sacred? :-)

And if on this topic – do you think that the tunnel diggers in Gaza have collected the archaeological finds that were found during their excavations? One can only wonder what they have found during this escapades….

Some things never change…

Just to show that some things never change, here is a picture (on the right) of a one of the PEF surveyors in the 19th cent CE, measuring with a Theodolite under an umbrella, while working on the Survey of Western Palestine (and which serves as the symbol of the PEF) – and next to it (on the left), Jill Katz (YU), director of Area P at Tell es-Safi/Gath, measuring with a Total Station, working as well under an umbrella.

As I said, some things, such as the hot sun in the Levant, never change…

 IMG_2388PEF symbol


Rocket men (and women)…

For all those of you who bravely participated in archaeological excavations in Israel this summer during and despite the hostilities in Gaza, and continued excavating despite the falling rockets – and in particular those of you who were in the regions near Gaza – here’s a song for you.

You are all officially Rocket Men (or women) – OK – Rocket people


A neat seal from this season!

We are about to bring in a bunch of finds from this year’s season for conservation in the HU conservation lab, and before they are sent it, I thought a nice, preliminary picture of a beautiful conical seal which was found by Louise’s team (in Jo’s square) in the early Iron Age levels in Area A – would be very nice to show. This is a type that is known from other early Iron Age Philistine contexts, and has decoration, and some hieroglyphs, and the various sides. Once it’s cleaned and documented, we’ll eventually publish more details about it. Meanwhile – enjoy it! :-)

So – here it is:

conical seal 2014 temp picture small

Archaeology summer camp at the Safi lab!

Shira and Mor took part as counselors in a summer camp for kids interested in science which is held each year at BIU (נוער שוחר מדע). As part of the various activities relating to science which they kids were involved in, each day a group of kids came to the Safi lab and had a hands-on learning experience about archaeology. Shira and Mor taught them about various things going on in the lab – and helped them create various replicas of archaeological finds. See below Shira and Mor in action – and two coins and a beautiful mosaic that Mor, Shira and the kids made.

coin from summer camp 2014 coins from summer camp 2014 Mor and Shira summer camp 2014 shira and mor summer camp 2014IMG-20140804-WA0007