Brent Davis’ new book arrives!

Brent Davis, long-time team member and Louise’s chief assistant in Area A, had a great thing happen today!

His just published book, “Minoan Stone Vessels with Linear A Inscriptions” (Aegeaum 36; Liege) arrived by FedEx to the dig today!

Way to go Brent!

We put the book in the pottery trays while we were reading pottery from Brent’s squares – and eventually he even saw the book in the tray! :-)

Here’s Brent as he gets the book and opens the package, along with proud Louise – who was his doctoral adviser!

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Thursday, July 3rd on the dig

Another great day on the dig!

All the areas are finding great stuff and as we near the end of the first week things are looking great!

In Area A, we have a variety of finds: Jo’s team is working in Iron I and they have a couple of nice walls, a “reel” shaped loomweight, and a pit.

Sharon’s team is uncovering what appears to be part of an 8th cent BCE house – so far with not bad preservation!

Here are some views of A, including the loomweight, excavating the pit, and the 8th cent. pit:

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In Area E, they are excavating both in EB and LB levels. Among other things there is a very interesting area with a ashy like sediments with an enormous amount of charred botanical material – what appears to be many different species of plants.

Here’s some views of Area E, with the LB levels (with Hannah and Lindsay), and Jon and Adi excavating the sediments with botanical finds:

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In Area P, it seems that they may have the top of the EB wall in the western square, while in the center of the Area, in the LB levels next to the wall, a large chunk of what looks like bitumen was found.


In Area F they are working in Iron IIB, Iron IIA and LB, and today they found a large part of an LB jar.


In Area D they are working both in the post-9th cent destruction “squatters level” with many finds, as well as expanding the pre-9th cent level.

Here’s a view of Esther holding a chameleon that was found next to Area D:

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And just an example of complex things can get in the excavation, here is a picture of a 9th cent. BCE handle in the “squatter’s level” which is just below surface in Area D, and lodged in the “hole” of the handle – a modern 9 mm shell casing!

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Nice day!


Update for July 2nd

Quick update for July 2nd:

First thing in the morning, we had a visit from Prof. Bill Dever, who spent with us several hours going around to the various areas in the excavation. It was very nice talking to him – and of course hearing his stories – and having an opportunity for some of the students to see in person someone whom they had heard of previously.

Here’s a picture Prof. Dever with Jo Verducci and Eric Welch, both past recipients of the annual Sean Dever memorial prize for the best lecture at the ASOR session!

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Later on, Louise (who as you may remember just published with me an article about the Philistines as pirates, happened to meet a pirate walking around the tell and took a picture with him…

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Later on, we found out where the pirate came from – and here’s a picture of his ship:

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And now for some archaeology:

In area A, they are working in Iron I and Iron II levels, and have come up with some cool finds, including a couple of pits and a loomweight

Here’s Sophie with the loomweight that she found:









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In Area E, they are working on various EB and LB levels. One of today’s finds was a fragment of a decorated LB faience bowl

In Area P, the are busy looking for the continuation of the EB wall, and for the LB surfaces right next to it.

In Area F, they have started excavating in levels from various areas – and we await some great finds – and already today at the end of the day they found a very nice faience inlay (or bead).

In Area D, in addition to opening two new squares in which already, right below surface they have the post-9th cent. BCE destruction squatter’s level (which we discovered already last year), a very important discovery today was a new area in which the pre-9th cent. BCE levels in this area are appearing.

Great day – and an indication of all that should be popping out real soon!



2nd day of excavating!

Today, the 2nd full day in the field, all the areas were digging full steam away, and we already had some nice finds and important insights.

To start with, as I was walking between the Area P and Area F, on the southern side of the tell summit, I found a torso of small female figurine, just lying on the ground asking to be found!

In the various areas, things started popping out.

In Area A – among other finds, a nice decorated bone spindle whorl was found, as a well as a yet unidentified piece of bronze

Here’s Derio with the spindle whorl

Derio with spindle whorl











Here’s Cass with the piece of Bronze:

Cass with Bronze from Area A











In Area E, we have cleared and are ready to excavate several features and floors, from the E5 (EB III) and E6 levels (EB II-III).

In Area D, the already have some nice remains from the 9th cent. destruction level, including a complete lower grinding stone and a nice restorable krater

Here’s the balk in which the grinding stone and krater was found:

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In Area P – they have started digging in search of the continuation of the EB wall to the west (based on where the GPR noted its location) and also preparing for work in a square with LB materials.

In Area F, they are working on cleaning the various to be excavated, but we can already see all kinds of very interesting features which are about to be exposed.

And here is Eric peaking out from under the tarps in Area F:

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And finally, a couple of nice shots of the tell that I took from the east:

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Great day – with much more to come!

First day out in the field of the 2014 season!

Today we had our first day out in the field for the entire team. We started the day with various things that had to be done before excavation begins, such as finishing to put up shades, cleaning areas, “schlepping up” tools, etc., and by the end of the day, almost all areas were up and running and excavating away! By tomorrow morning – all field will be in full steam!

It’s a great team – a combination of a large group of experienced returnees, along with a excellent group of first time members. It looks like we are going to have a great season!!!

Here’s a picture of the Area A team picking up the shade as sun rises in a very romantic manner.

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And here’s the Area E team getting the introductory talk before the beginning of work.

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And here is Phil, from the Aussie team, holding an almost complete bowl (or lamp) – which he found today in Area A – an auspicious sign of  all the great things that we will be finding this season! Hoowah!!!!



Sad news – Yuval Peleg, IAA archaeologist, killed in work accident

Unfortunately, I just heard some very sad news. Yuval Peleg, a senior – and very excellent – archaeologist working for the IAA, was killed in a work related accident.

This is such sad news – Yuval ז”ל, was both a very nice person and an excellent scholar. יהי זכרו ברוך

With the excavation seasons now starting (or already going on) – please, please – let’s all be careful out there!

Staff meeting at the lab

Today, a large part of the staff of the 2014 season gathered together at the lab in BIU in preparation for the 2014 season. While not all could come due to MY FAULT (for not announcing this sufficiently in advance; mea culpa…), a very nice group did manage to get to the lab. I think we had a great and very productive day!

I started with a general overview of new finds and research directions that the project has been carrying out in the last year, and some of the things we will be looking for this season. I also stressed some of the points which I wish all the staff to focus on during the season.

After that, some of the staff got lessons with the new Leica total stations, while other worked on preparing computers and notes for the season.

In the afternoon, after lunch, there were three more talks: Adi Eliyahu talked about the different aspects of archaeological science that she is dealing with, and how this can be utilized in the field; Sue Frumin talks about some of the results of the archaeobotanical research – and practical aspects for retrieval in the field; and Ron Kehati gave a talk on methods of collecting faunal remains.

Needless to say, in addition, we all talked “shop” – discussing plans and ideas for the season – as well as just “shmoozing” – as it is great to see all these good friends again!

I believe I can say that we all finished the day with the feeling that this is going to be a great – and very productive – season!


Preparation day at Safi

Today, a large group of the staff met at Safi for a day of preparations – a long and hot day from 7 am to 3 pm! Thanks to everyone!

We worked on several things:

1) We marked old and new squares in the various areas, helped by Yehuda and Shachar Shapira and co., who for years have given us a day of their time to make sure that the squares are accurately set up.

2) We started setting up the tarps – since this year the workers who helped us in the past are not available. We set up E and the breakfast area, and laid out the tarps for Area A (to be connected to poles, etc.). We still have to put up the tarps in D, F and P.

3) We did some ground penetrating radar (GPR) in Area P, to try and delineate additional sections of the EB wall. The GPR was conducted by Jessie Pincus and her family (Mike, Kathy and Gavriel – all together of Mnemotrix Inc.) who have been connected with the project for many years. And in fact – BOOM – we seem to have gotten a great signal of the continuation of the EB wall, about 10-15 meters east of the westernmost section excavated last year!

Here is the GPR in action:

GPR in Area P


Once again – thanks to all for their hard work – it was not an easy day – but a very important one.

As I was walking around the tell today, I bumped into a group of visitors from Louisiana – who were visiting sites in Israel in the footsteps of David. I invited them to return and excavate with us next year – and I sure hope they will take up the offer! :-)