Join the excavation this summer (2021)!

If you are not an Israel citizen and want to join the excavation team at Tell es-Safi/Gath this summer (the season is from July 4 to 30, 2021), there may be a way to get in to Israel!

If you will be able to prove that you have been vaccinated (or have recuperated from Corona), you can submit a request to come to the excavation as a student.

If you are interested – please get in touch with me directly –


Test Flying the LiDAR Drone!

Today, Maria and Noam started test flying the DJI M600 with the LiDAR sensor (see an earlier post on this here and here), as they are about to be fully licensed for operating the drone (the Israeli Aviation Authority requires a “mini-pilot license” for this). Hopefully, in the next month or two, this equipment will finally be fully operational!

Here are some pictures from the “action” today (thanks to Noam and Maria):

Stopping discrimination and harassment in archaeology!

Bravo to Prof. Barbara Voss, an archaeologist from Stanford University, for bravely calling out, documenting, and condemning the many cases of discrimination, harassment, abuse and misconduct in archaeological research. In fact, she shows that unfortunately, this is almost epidemic in character. Too often, young student and scholars, as well as members of various minority groups are highly represented among the victims. No less important, Prof. Voss goes on to suggest methods to stop this culture of harassment.

In two articles in American Antiquity, one documenting the phenomenon and one suggesting how to stop and prevent this (both of which were nicely summarized here), I believe that Prof. Voss makes a very important contribution to the field of archaeology in general.

On a personal level, I must state that from the very beginning of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project, one of my primary objectives (as the director), in addition to carrying out top-notch research, was to create a safe, friendly and non-threatening environment, in the field and in the lab, for all participants of the project. People of all backgrounds and lifestyles were always welcome and encouraged to learn, research and grow, and this enabled the creation of a safe and friendly, multi-cultural environment, one in which all participants could feel comfortable – and not feel threatened in any way. I believe this is the way archaeological research (and life in general) should be conducted!

Once again, I congratulate Prof. Voss on her important and groundbreaking publications!

HT: Jack Sasson

Happy Holidays to all!

Happy, joyful and meaningful holidays for those of you celebrating Passover (starting on Saturday night, March 27, 2021), Easter (Sunday, April 4, 2021), or just marking the beginning of spring!

I do hope that these holidays will mark a big change for the better, after the very hard year that we have all gone through, with its worldwide plague. We can but hope and pray that in the coming days, weeks and months, we will all return to a more safer, healthier and happier place.

Sign up for the MOOC in Biblical Archaeology!

Interested in archaeology in general and biblical archaeology in particular?

Now’s the time to sign up and take the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) “Biblical Archaeology: The Archaeology of ancient Israel and Judah“.

The course is running right now (for the 4th time). So join the thousands of students, from all over the world, who have taken this course (now and in the past).

You can join for free, or with accreditation (for a small fee).

See below the summary video clip of the course, to get a feeling of what you will learn – and experience – during the course:

What do we do in archaeology?

Did you ever wonder what archaeologists actually do, from the planning stage, through the field work and analyses, and up until the final publications? Or are you interested in joining our dig team this summer – and want to get an idea what we do? Or are you just curious?

If so, check out this nice video, part of my MOOC course “Biblical Archaeology: The Archaeology of Ancient Israel and Judah” (sign up for this course! It’s free! And it’s running right now!), in which I give a brief overview of what archaeologists do!

Response to Peter Parr on publishing archaeological remains

A short piece of mine was just published in PEQ, in response to an editorial by Prof. Peter Parr, on the need to publish excavations on time!

Publications that appear decades after excavations are over are unacceptable!

Check it out!

Maeir, A.M. 2021. A response to “On delays in the publication of excavation reports” by P.J. Parr (PEQ 152.3, 181-83). PEQ 153(1): 1-4

New article on EB botanical finds and implications

A new article on the analyses of the archaeobotanical finds from the Early Bronze Age levels at Tell es-Safi/Gath, and their implications for understanding the subsistence patterns and methods, land use, connectivity and other issues. The macro-botanical remains that were examined represent a so far unparalleled extensive sampling of botanical contexts from EB contexts in the Levant, and are based on the collection of enormous amounts of sediments from many contexts. The botanical remains from these sediments were then collected using floatation and “picking,” and the analyzed in the BIU archaeobotanical lab.

The article was spearheaded by Su Frumin, and the full reference is:

Frumin, S., Melamed, Y., Maeir, A. M., Greenfield, H. J., and Weiss, E. 2021. Agricultural subsistence, land use and long-distance mobility within the Early Bronze Age southern Levant: Archaeobotanical evidence from the urban site of Tell eṣ-Ṣâfī/Gath. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 37: 102873

Here’s the abstract:

The ongoing discussion on the nature of the organization of Early Bronze Age settlements and their social structure in an intensely settled part of the southern Levant (independent ‘city-states’ vs ‘neither cities nor states’) calls for data on which to base our understanding of shared economic patterns and regional connections. Here, we report the results of our macrobotanical investigation of the Early Bronze Age III (2,680–2,600 cal BCE) levels at Tell eṣ-Ṣâfī/Gath, a large fortified settlement in central Canaan. A dense residential neighborhood was sampled at high resolution for a multi-faceted analysis of plant use in order to address its economic strategies and regional relationships. The resulting rich and diverse plant assemblage enables reconstruction of the diversity of agriculture, fuel sources, land use practices, mobility, and connectivity. Results of the study provide, for the first time, direct botanical evidence for the structural patterns of an intensive localized agro-pastoral economy and enable comparative analysis of the regional diet. Moreover, the results shed light on rare yet continuous long-distance plant dispersal and human mobility across biogeographical boundaries within the southern Levant.

Check it out!