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.
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….
Jo Verducci has notified me of a very nice essay that she has just published in Bible History Daily on Philistine adornment, referring, inter alia, to some of the finds from Safi.
Check it out!
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…
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…
As the picture of the seal from Area A (2014 season) made some people jealous, here’s an impression of a Late Bronze cylinder seal that we found in Area F in the 2009 season. As you can notice from this and the last seal, it seems that the people at ancient Gath liked to dance…
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:
Check out the youtube video of a talk that I gave to a group of YU students who spent the a month in Israel on a BIU program in science. The talk dealt with combination of archaeology and science as implemented at the Tell es-Safi/Gath excavations
But see this great clip of the unmanned helicopter that we used for taking the final aerial photos at the end of the 2014 season – as it lands next to Area F. This service was provided through Skyview and Griffin.