First Safi NEA issue is out!

Two complete issues of NEA (Near Eastern Archaeology) are coming out, completely devoted to the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project. All told, close to 50 Safi-related researchers contributed papers to these issues. From what I’m told, this is a first for NEA – two complete issues dedicated to a single project.

The first issue has now appeared (NEA 80/4 [2017])! I have not yet seen the hard copy (or final PDFs), but here is a picture of the cover (courtesy of Linda Meiberg – thanks Linda!). It looks great!!! This issue covers from the introduction and general articles, until the end of the Late Bronze Age (it includes also Middle Bronze Age, despite that the MB is missing on the cover…). Next issue deals with the Iron Age and later.

Thanks to all who contributed and worked on this issue (and the next)!


P.S. I hope that sometime in the future, we’ll be able to put out all the articles from these two issues (and some other Safi-related NEA papers) as a separate volume. That would be very nice as well.

Chris Hale will give a talk on the Philistine pottery from Area A

This Thursday afternoon at 4 pm, Dr. Chris Hale will give a talk on the Philistine pottery from Tell es-Safi/Gath, Area A, at the Albright Institute, Salah ed-Din St., Jerusalem.

Here is the full description of the event:

The Late Bronze-Iron Age I Pottery from Tel es-Safi, Area A: Research Design, Quantitative Methods, and the chaîne opératoire Approach

Excavations over the last decade in Area A at Tel es-Safi/Gath have revealed stratigraphy dating to the Late Bronze Age and early Iron Age periods, providing important information concerning Philistine material cultural elements at the site and their development over the early Iron Age in relation to the “local” Canaanite material culture (Asscher et al. 2015; Hitchcock et al. 2015; Maeir et al. 2015; Gur-Arieh et al. 2014; Hitchcock and Maeir 2011; Regev et al. 2010). The ceramics from these loci remain largely unstudied as these periods were extremely fugitive at the time of the Safi I publication, owing to the limited exposure of the relevant strata, and were thus only preliminarily described (Zukerman and Maeir 2012; Zukerman 2012).

This presentation will lay out a new research framework concerning the Tel es-Safi Area A Late Bronze-early Iron Age pottery. The assemblage poses specific challenges and opportunities for a ceramic analysis and requires a methodology capable of providing the necessary data to address some of the outstanding questions concerning the early Iron Age at both Safi itself and in the broader southern Levant. This methodology will utilize Estimated Vessel Equivalents (EVEs) as a primary quantitative measure (supplemented by other tools), enabling a variety of analyses that go beyond a typological and stylistic description of the assemblage (Verdan 2011; Orton et al. 1993; Orton 1975). In addition, a chaîne opératoire approach will be emphasised throughout the study (Roux 2016), aiming to identify the various operational sequences used in producing the pottery consumed at the site. By examining different “ways of doing” and their transmission as a measure of social boundaries, the study hopes to use both synchronic and diachronic pottery production and consumption practices to explore the social groups present in the Safi Area A early Iron Age community from socio-economic, technological, and evolutionary perspectives.

Chris Hale is the 2017 Glassman Holland Research Fellow and an Assistant Professor in the School of Liberal Arts and Humanities at O.P. Jindal Global University in India where he teaches archaeology, ancient history and interdisciplinary studies. He completed his Bachelor of Ancient History at Macquarie University in Sydney, and his PhD in the Archaeology of Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Levant at the University of Melbourne under the supervision of Louise Hitchcock. He was a 2016 Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens, and has also worked for the British School at Athens as a Knossos Curatorial Assistant with the Stratigraphical Museum on the island of Crete.

He is currently affiliated with several archaeological projects in various capacities, including the Mitrou Archaeological Project, the Palace of Nestor Excavation Project, and the Iklaina Archaeological Project in Greece; and the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project in Israel. His previous research was concerned primarily with a quantitative and typological analysis of central Greek Middle Helladic and Late Helladic I ceramics from the site of Mitrou, and the interregional interactions between central Greece and the islands of Aegina and Kea during the Middle Bronze Age. His research interests include pottery processing methodology, relative chronologies, pottery production and consumption practices, and interregional interactions.

Party for Dr. Sue Frumin!

Today, the Safi lab team joined in the celebrations in honor of Sue Frumin finishing her PhD!

Dr. Sue (not Dr. Seuss…) wrote an excellent PhD on the archaeobotanical remains of the Philistines, with a focus on the finds from Tell es-Safi/Gath. Parts of the PhD have already been published in articles (see for example here and here), and more will follow in the future.

Sue’s PhD is:

Frumin, S. 2017. Invasion Biology Analysis in Archaeobotany – Philistines Culture at Tell es-Safi/ Gath as a Case Study. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan.

Here are some pictures from the party, which was held in Udi Weiss’ archaeobotany lab at BIU.

Great food, great friends and a lot of fun!

Soon to be flying over Tell es-Safi/Gath and other sites…

Here’s a sneak peak at the type of drone (VAPOR 55) that should be flying over Tell es-Safi/Gath and some other sites in the not-too-distant future. The order has gone out for this cool piece of equipment, along with a LiDAR sensor!

This was purchased jointly, courtesy of an ISF equipment grant, by three of us at BIU – Rafi Kent, Boaz Zissu and Aren Maeir.

In addition to this, sometime in the near future, another, smaller drone is in the process of being purchased for use in the project!

The bronze bowl from Area J is back from the conservation lab!

The bronze bowl that Jill and her team found in Area J last summer (see here) has returned from the conservation lab – and it looks really nice. We still have a lot of study to conduct on this (both a bowl and an interesting bronze disk found next to it), but to get a rough idea (not too detailed…) on what it looks like, see the picture below.

Very cool!!