Visit to Safi with WIS

Today, I was on site with a group from the Weizmann Institute, a class in Archaeological Science, led by Steve Weiner and Elisabetta Boaretto.

The tell and surroundings were nice and green, and there was water in the Elah Valley riverbed.

We toured various parts of the tell. I gave a general explanation about the site and our excavations, and Steve and Lisa spoke about a few of the studies that they had led on site.

Really nice day, and a great group. Here are some photos:

Safi beer jug in BAS article about ancient beer…

A short article just appeared on the online “Biblical History Daily” of the Biblical Archaeology Society, dealing with recently published evidence of beer from Chalcolithic Tel Tsaf and Peqiin. As one of the illustrations for this article, they put in a picture of a Philistine “beer jug” from Tell es-Safi/Gath (held in my hands), taken when we had the massive press conference about the ancient yeast from various sites (see here). Unfortunately, the caption of the photo said that it is a “Bronze Age beer jug” – while it is from the Iron Age IIA (ca. late 9th cent. BCE).

It’s the details that count…:-)

Winter visit to Safi

Today, I had chance for a quick visit to Safi, with Steve Weiner and Lisa Boaretto from WIS, in preparation for a field trip next week for a group of students from WIS. So, we had a chance to see the site after the rains last week, with the exceptional views that the site always have to offer in the winter months.

We also took a look at Areas M and A.

Here are some pictures from our visit today!

Happy new year (and annual summaries)!

Merry Christmas (for those celebrating), Happy New Year, and in general – Season’s Greetings – to all!

Here’s wishing one and all – a great 2022. Hopefully it will be much better than 2021 (and, needless to say, the year before that, 2020…).

As usual, various summaries of 2022 appear in various media, and a very nice one appeared just now in Haaretz – the Top Archaeology Stories of 2021!

Now I don’t want to toot my horn too much – but Gath stars in two of the 10 stories!

Just saying…

Safi dinner after the Safi day at ASOR 2021

After the long day of Safi related events at the ASOR meeting, Safi team members and friends got together for a great supper at Milt’s Kosher BBQ in Chicago (highly recommended!).

Here’s a picture of me raising a toast, to friendship, camaraderie, great times and great research, and congratulating Jeff on receiving his Fs!


Great news for former Safi team member Emily Poelina-Hunter

Louise Hitchcock, who as many of you know headed the University of Melbourne team at Safi for many years, and has been a major contributor to research at Safi, has sent me some great news about Emily Poelina-Hunter (aka Em), who was a member of the Melbourne team at Safi during the 2011 season.

Louise writes:

I’m very pleased and (so very) proud to announce that one of my former PhD students, Emily Poelina-Hunter has been hired for a Level B Lectureship in Aboriginal Studies at La Trobe University.
Emily did her PhD on tattooing among Early Bronze Age (ca. 2900-2000 BCE) inhabitants of the Cycladic Islands in Greece based on evidence for tattoo kits and on Cycladic marble figurines. 
As far as I know, Emily is just the second indigenous scholar to get a PhD in Australia in Archaeology, but the first in Classical Archaeology. Although Emily’s research focus was prehistoric, she has studied and taught ancient Greek.

Here’s a picture of the 2011 University of Melbourne team at Safi. Em is in the first row on the right side.

Congratulations and success to Em in her new position!


Safi day at the ASOR 2021 meeting in Chicago!

Today, we had a full day of Safi related activities at the 2021 ASOR meeting.

It started with two sessions in honor of 25 years to the project, in which 9 great lectures were given, followed by a session in which we presented Jeff his Festschrift volume.

Following that, we’re going out to dinner to Milt’s kosher BBQ restaurant!

Was a great day! Here are some pictures

Festschrift for Jeff Chadwick is out!

I’m really happy to announce the publication of a Fs in honor of our good friend and colleague – and longtime senior Safi staff member, Jeff Chadwick (BYU).

Jeff and Aren in Area D East, at the end of the 2021 season.

The volume was edited by yours truly and George Pierce (BYU).

The full title is:

Maeir, A. M., and Pierce, G. A., eds. 2021. To Explore the Land of Canaan: Studies in Biblical Archaeology in Honor of Jeffrey R. Chadwick. Archaeology of the Biblical Worlds 4. Berlin: De Gruyter.

The volume can be found at:

The volume will officially be presented to Jeff in two weeks, at a special session at the ASOR meeting in Chicago.


New article on ground stone production technology and metal technology

A new article has just appeared, spearheaded by Jeremy Beller, which deals with using manufacturing marks on ground stone objects to study the spread of metal technology in the Southern Levant during the Early Bronze Age.

This is one more result of the very productive grant that Haskel Greenfield and I received a few years ago from the Canadian SSHRC.

The full title of the article is:

Beller, J. A., Greenfield, H. J., and Maeir, A. M. 2021. Evaluating Manufacture Marks on Ground Stone Objects as a New Proxy for the Spread of Metal Technology in the Southern Levant. Journal of Archaeological Science Reports 40(Part B): 103233.

For the next 50 days (counting from Nov. 2nd, 2021), the article can be downloaded for free at:,rVDBY7cc

Here is the abstract of the article:

In the southern Levant, metal technology was first represented by exotic and prestige items during the Chalcolithic. Later, in the Early Bronze Age, metal implements were gradually adopted for domestic tasks. Since metal tools are rare in the archaeological record, the spread of metal technology can be traced through proxy measures, such as butchering marks on faunal remains. This study tests whether the marks made by metal and stone implements on a soft-stone medium can be distinguished from one another. It further examines a sample of manufacture marks on soft-stone artifacts from the Early Bronze Age site of Tell eṣ-Ṣâfi/Gath, Israel in order to determine whether metal technology had been integrated into the manufacture of ground stone objects. The results indicate that manufacturing marks on soft-stone objects can indeed be used as a proxy for tracking the spread of metallurgy, but also that metal implements had not been utilized in the manufacture of ground stone objects at EB III Tell eṣ-Ṣâfi/Gath.