Due to popular request (yes, Brent, you are popular :-)), here is a different version of the Philistine bird sherd:
If you really are interested in digging with us this summer, but you are wondering how to fund a trip to Israel to join the Tell es-Safi/Gath team, here’s an idea:
If you qualify to participate in a Taglit/Birthright trip to Israel, look into going on a Birthright group that will travel to Israel right before the season – and then, back-to-back, stay on for the dig! For those who qualify, the entire trip, including your flights and your stay in Israel with Birthright (10 days) is fully funded. And then, you would only have to pay for your R&B during the period of the dig!
And this way, you can substantially enrich the depth and meaning of your trip to Israel – not only with the Birthright group program – but immediately following it, get a chance to participate, with your own hands, in the exciting discovery of Israel’s past, meet Israelis and foreigners who are interested in these issues, and get a feeling of what life in Israel is like! A real “hands-on” experience – one that you will cherish for year to come!
Check this out!
Just for fun, here’s a nice picture of the beautiful Philistine Bichrome sherd with an excellently made depiction of a bird, which was found in the 2013 season in Area F.
Today, in addition to the “regular” stuff going on in the Safi lab, we have two visitors:
* Dr. Philipp Stockhammer (Heidelberg) is in Israel to look at Late Helladic pottery from a few sites in Israel (including Beth Shemesh and Tell es-Safi/Gath). Today, he is in the lab examining the ca. 25 LH sherds that we have discovered in the last few seasons at Safi. I hope he will have some interesting insights from this.
* Dr. Liora Horwitz (HU), who of course has been mentioned often here, and who is the primary project zooarchaeologist, is in the lab, searching for bones to be sent for isotopic analysis.
* And then there’s the rest of us – just working away…
In the last week I came upon a couple of great sites at which you can find aerial photos, and most importantly, early aerial photos of the Levant.
Based on a tip from David, I found the absolutely fantastic website of the German Bayern State Archives (Bayerisches Hauptstaatarchiv), which has hundreds upon hundreds of german WWI aerial photos of many parts of the Levant. The include many photos not included in the well-known collections of aerial photos put out by Dalman (1925) and Kedar (1991).
Although I could not find any photos of Tell es-Safi/Gath itself, I did find a few of the site of et-Tine, which is an Arab village which was destroyed in the Israel War of Independence in 1948, and before that served as the location of a German and British airstrip during WWI. This site, et-Tine, is located about a km to the NW of Kfar Menachem, just 4 km or so from Tell es-Safi/Gath.
Here is one of the photographs of et-Tine, courtesy of David Kennedy:
And BTW – if anyone knows of other European collections of early aerial photographs in which sites in the Levant can be seen – I’d be glad to hear about them
Today I received a digital copy of the entry on Gath which I wrote for the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Archaeology.
This a rather extensive entry on the site (textual references and archaeology), updated to early 2013.
Here is the pdf - Maeir_Gath_Oxford Encyc Bible and Archaeology_2013
The full reference is:
Maeir, A. M. 2013 Gath. Pp. 443–51 in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Archaeology, ed. D. M. Master. New York: Oxford.
For those of you who will be in this neck-of-the-woods on March 10th, 2014, save the date for the following event:
UPDATE: I’VE BEEN INFORMED THAT PARTICIPATION IN THIS WORKSHOP IS BY INVITATION ONLY DUE TO LIMITED SPACE. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING AND DID NOT RECEIVE AN INVITATION, PLEASE CONTACT THE ORGANIZERS.
The Levantine Ceramic Project – 2014 Mini-Workshop 1: Israel and the Palestinian Territories which is organized by the Levantine Ceramic Project (which is directed by Andrea Berlin of BU)
The workshop will be held at the Albright Institute in Jerusalem (Salah ed-Din St.)
Needless to say, there will be a Safi representation at the workshop:
“Technological and Typological Analysis of Early Bronze Age Plastered Ware,” which will be presented by Adi Eliyahu Behar (speaking for her collaborators Itzick Shai, David Ben-Shlomo, Haskel Greenfield and yours truly).
Other papers on various topics related to ancient Levantine ceramics will be presented as well. Sounds like this will be a very interesting day!
Overall, the review is very positive (it commences with: “This is a monumental publication. It is virtually 1,000 pages of archaeological data, illustrations, and interpretations. Perhaps such a huge publication is only fitting, for the site of Tell es-Safi/Gath is even more monumental, one of the largest and most imposing sites in southern Israel at about 50 ha spread over a high, strategic hill. But what really makes this publication a monument is the rigor and seriousness with which Maeir and his large team of 36 authors have approached their project…“), though Larry has some suggestions regarding how to make such a monumental volume easier to use (in particular, regarding the placement of illustrations). His comments are definitely taken seriously – and in fact – we deliberated on many of his very thoughts when we were putting together the volume.
Larry also questions the connection between the siege system around the site to the conquest of Gath by Hazael, feeling that while a possibility, it is not proven. While I agree that we have not found a sign “Built by Hazael” – I strongly believe that all the archaeological, historical and biblical evidence is best interpreted that the the siege system and the contemporaneous destruction level as being related to this event. I see no other explanations that would fit in with the available data.
Larry – thanks for the review – and your appreciation of the immense effort that all the editors, authors, and excavators put into this!
The lecture will be at the OI on Wednesday, April 23rd and will be entitled: “New Light on the Biblical Philistines: Recent Study on the Frenemies of Ancient Israel”.
The following day, on Thursday, April 24th, 2014, I will be giving a workshop at the OI (participation may be limited to OI people – do check) entitled: ”The Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project: An Overview after 17 Years of Excavation”.
Please follow the announcements of the OI to find out exactly where and when these lectures will take place, and if possible, you are invited to come and listen to them (depending though on the OI’s exact guidelines – check here when relevant).
Hope to see you in the windy city!