Amazing find! A green balloon inside of an Iron IIA jug! :-)

See there this amazing photo of a green balloon that Elisheva, our new pottery restorer, found inside an Iron IIA Late Philistine Decorated War jug from Safi!

I think this can be a great title for a children’s book: “Elisheva and the Green Balloon”…

elisheva and the green balloon












Now seriously folks – this is a method to restore a pottery vessel which is very fragmented – the balloon serves as a basis for the slowly reconstructed sherds….




Safi Archaeology at the 2014 “Night of the Scientists” at BIU

This evening (Sept. 18, 2014) is the annual “Night of the Scientists” at various academic research institutions throughout Israel, aimed at exposing the public, from kids to seniors, to the fascinating worlds of science.

Needless to say, BIU will take part in this fascinating – and very important – event, and more importantly for us, a team from the Tell es-Safi/Gath lab, including Maria, Dina, and Natalie, led by the new Dr. Amit Dagan (who is still waiting for patients to contact him… :-)), will present various finds from the Safi excavations and run a workshop on ancient writing.

Below is a clip of last year’s events at BIU and if you look closely – you can see the 2-3 seconds in which they show the archaeological finds from Safi.


Grand Valley State University Group at Safi 2015!

Prof. Liz Arnold, from Grand Valley State University (GVSU), who has been on the Safi team for the last two years, will, as of the 2015 season, be officially leading a group from GVSU that will participate in the excavations.

We are all looking forward to welcoming the GVSU team!

See below the flyer for application to the program at GVSU.

GVSU Safi 2015 flyer


The forthcoming Jewish Study Bible from Oxford (2nd edition)

As a contributor to the forthcoming 2nd edition of the Jewish Study Bible from Oxford University Press edited by A. Berlin and M. Brettler (I wrote one of the background chapters, on the archaeology of the Land of Israel in the Biblical Period), I’ve been asked to give some PR for this VERY interesting – and quite comprehensive, soon-to-appear volume.

Here’s a link to a PDF with details, and the TOC, of the volume.

Check it out – and note the special sale price that they are offering

JSB2e Promotional Flyer


P.S. I don’t get percentages on the sales… :-)


Geoarchaeology and Environmental Archaeology at the Annual Meeting of the Israel Society of Ecology and Environmental Sciences – BIU, 16-18 sept., 2014

The annual meeting of The Israel Society of Ecology and Environmental Sciences will be held this year at BIU (see here for the complete program in Hebrew).

As part of the meeting, on Tuesday afternoon, a session on various aspects of geoarchaeology and environmental archaeology will be held. In this session, at which I will serve as the chair, there will be several talks, including:

1) Oren Ackermann, Safi geoarchaeologist, will give a paper on the long-term environmental effects of the destruction of Gath by Hazael

2) Udi Weiss and Sue Frumin, Safi archaeobotanists, will give a paper on the changes in plant species and plant-use seen in Philistia during the Late Bronze/Iron Age transition.

3) Yoav Avni (GSI) will talk about the collapse of agricultural systems and their environmental effect using the late Byzantine Negev as a case study.

4) Eli Ashkenazi will give a paper on abandoned agricultural fruit tree gardens in the Negev, planted by Bedouins decades ago, which still have viable fruit harvest till today.

Should be very interesting. Also, this is an important step to open up “communication” between ecologists, who almost always only study the last few decades, to the insights that archaeological studies of ancient ecological systems have – and how their effects can often be seen until today!