As the last of the 2014 team at Tell es-Safi/Gath will be leaving Kibbutz Revadim this morning, I once again wanted to thank all the team members – and others who contributed and helped with its success – for all the hard work which enabled us to have such a successful season. Despite all the ups and downs and tensions around, we had some excellent results during the season – both important discoveries on their own as well as insights that indicate high potential for additional discoveries in future seasons!
In particular, I’d like to thank the team members who stayed on for the final week of the dig – which is the hardest and most demanding time in the excavation season. There’s a lot of hard and back breaking work, at a rather crazy schedule – but without the work done this week – we could not finish the dig – and be prepared to have another excavation season next year!
Last night we had a great final party. Our friend Yehuda came with a portable pizza oven and we made – and ate – a ton of very tasty homemade pizzas. Great way to end a great season!
I will post a general summary of the 2014 season in the near future, along with some additional photos – including the very nice photo of the team taken yesterday during the aerial photography!
See you all next year!
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We are about to finish the 2014 season at Tell es-Safi/Gath and thankfully, we have managed to continue the season despite the missiles being shot daily at us from the Gaza Strip. Although I fully understand those that were afraid to stay and decided to leave – you can’t tell someone not to be afraid – I’m grateful that most of the team did stay for most of the season and we accomplished a lot – including some very interesting new finds!
At the end of the day – along with the brave soldiers of IDF who are out there fighting the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists – the best thing that we civilians can do – is continue our daily life – and not let the cowardly murderers who shoot missiles at us stop us from living our lives!
Today was a cleaning day in all the areas – in preparation for final photographs – this evening, tomorrow and on Thursday….
Today we seem to have uncovered in Area D what looks like a bona fide metallurgical location! This includes quantities of slag, “hammer scale”, “tuyeres” and a crucible, with apparent evidence of both iron and copper related work! As the full scale of this was discovered only today (last day of excavation…), we will have some interesting stuff to look forward next year!
In other areas we were finishing up last minutes things, such as the possible donkey burial in E and some really nice Iron I levels (including Philistine I/very early Iron Age) in F.
Last day of digging – and tomorrow we brush away.
In the afternoon, we went for a field trip to Azekah, and while Yuval Gadot was guiding us on site – the air raid siren went off! So now we know that the Hamas does not have something personal only about the Safi excavation – they also are trying to stop the Azekah excavation as well! :-)
Friday the 18th of July was the final day of the 3rd week of the 2014 season. We had some great finds from various areas on the site, as well as visits from several groups.
In Area A, Louise and her team worked on the Iron I – especially the section around where the ivory bowl was found last year. Yotam from the WIS came to take various samples from this area.
In Area D, they continued working in the area of the metallurgy, on some of the 9th cent. destruction level and in various places in the pre-9th cent. BCE level. Of particular interest were fragments of a “notched scapula” which was found in this early level. Several such notched scapulae have been previously published from the 9th cent. destruction in Area A (as well as from other Philistine sites).
In Area E, they continue working on EB and LB materials. The possible donkey burial was worked on – although it is still not clear whether or not it is in fact another such burial.
In Area F they have some great finds. The earlier EB fortifications are becoming more and more impressive. They have also exposed some interesting levels dating to the Iron I – including several almost complete vessels! The LB is also coming along – and it looks that by next year we should have some substantial LB remains from F!
Area P was popping as well. with interesting finds from the LB levels, as well as from the early EB fortification stage.
All told, a great day to close the 3rd week – in preparation for the final week of the season!
Here are some photos from the day.
Check out this great clip, prepared by the YU team of the fantastic escapades of the fearless “Scrubber Ducky” during the 2014 season at Tell es-Safi/Gath. We were all very fortunate to have Scrubber Ducky with us this year!
We had a great today on the tell! First of all – no air raid sirens! And also – some great archaeology!
Area A: The are working in Iron I, LB and a bit EB, mainly doing various stratigraphic checks to make sure we understand various previously excavated contexts.
Area D: Some really cool stuff! We have what appears to be a clear metallurgical context, most probably dating to the post-9th cent. BCE “squatter’s phase”. This includes a large amount of metal slag, a fragment of a tuyerre, and other interesting remains. As we already have a 10th BCE metallurgical areas in Area A from several years back, this should give a very nice long range perspective on the metallurgy at Gath in the Iron Age. Most importantly, Prof. Amotz Agnon (yes, the grandson of…) came with colleagues to Area D today, to work on taking various samples for paleomagnetic analyses – both from the metallurgical area as well as from various installations. We also had some other nice finds in D, from the 10th and 9th cent.
Area E: Work continued in the EB levels, with today’s highlight being the possible discovery of another donkey burial – in addition to the one found and published a few years ago.
Area F: As usual working various periods, including Iron IIB, Iron IIA, Iron I, LB and EB. The very impressive architecture under the EB fortification wall is becoming more and more impressive – and we clearly have a lot more to understand about it!
Area P: Also in P we have more evidence of the pre-EB fortification phase. In the LB levels near the EB wall several nice beads were found.
Amir Golani, Ianir Milevski and Alon De Groot of the IAA visited today, and we had very interesting and important discussions at the different parts of the excavations.
All told – great day – here are some pictures:
Very nice day on the tell today. We only had one air raid siren and managed to get a lot of work done in various areas.
Area A: They worked in the Iron I levels and in addition to various Iron I pottery, also had two possible ivory fragments.
Area D: The evidence for metallurgical activities is becoming more clear, and today they found a fragment of a tuyerre, as well as pieces of slag and “hammerscale”. Also, some nice walls from the pre-9th, 9th and post destruction layers are coming up.
Area E: The E team is working in various EB levels, as well as a very nice LB context with tons of pottery. And somewhat surprisingly, a very nice piece of Philistine pottery with a nice bird came out in a recently re-opened square.
Area F: As usual working in various periods, including two places with nice 9th cent. remains, some nice Iron I floors, an LB terrace, and all the way at the bottom of F, some really cool evidence of an earlier EB stratum – below the EB city wall! We have even added a new stratum to F!
Area P: The really cool new is that we are seeing more of the EB architecture under the EB wall (as in F!), and a very nice flint blade was found in relation to this architecture. It’s not yet clear if it is an earlier fortification or other architectural features that were covered by the later EB wall. They also are digging in some LB contexts – and still looking for the continuation of the EB wall to the west.
Here are some nice pictures of today’s work: