The Israeli media is reporting (see for example here) on the analyses conducted on vessels from the Philistine cultic favissa found in Yavneh, with particular focus on the drugs with psychoactive properties that were identified in the organic residue analyses of some of the vessels.
Although this is hardly fresh news (this appeared in the excavated report which we mentioned quite a while ago), it nevertheless is an interesting tidbit – which clearly catches the medias’ and the public’s attention.
As far as the title of the article (“Sex, drugs, and Philistines”) goes – I can only promise the latter of the three this season at Tell es-Safi/Gath… :-)
P.S. But it would be nice to find a cultic favissa at Gath…
Eric Welch (aka Chris…) has some great news to share:
His PhD dissertation, whose title was “God, Oil, and Politics: Hebrew Prophetic Texts and Dynamics of Regional Economy in the Southern Levant During the 8th and 7th Centuries B.C.E.” has been officially OKed at Penn State. So, as of the coming season, we will have to call him Dr. W.
And to top off the great news, Dr. W has been awarded a new position at the University of Kansas as Visiting Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies!
Way to go Eric!!
Here’s what Eric looks like when he gets something nice… :-)
Amit, Emuna and Dina continued to work today in the interesting feature (water system? cave?) south of Area A, and things are getting interesting – and still not too clear.
What now is clear is that this is a typical cave for the region – with a hard nari (calcrete) roof and sides of soft chalk. Very often, as in this case, the roof collapses, creating a depression. What is interesting though is that in the depression there are some walls, as well as a plastered area. So, most probably in addition to have served as a cave – it was reused for other functions at some stage.
So far, more than that is hard to say….
Here are some pictures from today. Note that the temperature outside today was unbelievably hot – something like 44 degrees centigrade in the shade!
Here are some pictures – as you can see – even though they were working in a depression – they were not depressed…
As mentioned yesterday, today we are doing some work at the tell at a feature that might be water system. So far, the tractor is digging out a lot of modern fill in this depression, and it’s hard to tell what this is. It be a water system going deeper, but it also might be cave with a collapsed roof…
We will wait and see.
Here some pictures from today’s work:
For many years now, an intriguing feature has piqued our interest at Tell es-Safi/Gath. Just to the south of Areas A and P, there is a round depression in the ground, in the small valley that is formed to the SE side of the upper tell (for those of you familiar with the site, on the way down to the bus parking). For many years, we have thought that this might represent a water system, but up till now, have not done anything concrete to check this out.
Well – all that will change as of tomorrow!
In collaboration with Zvika Zuk of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, who is a well-known expert on water systems (and is a co-director of the Tel Gezer Water System Project), we (Amit will be supervising the work in the field, I’ll come for a visit here and there…) are going to work with a tractor (yes, a tractor – I guess we will appear in BAR about this…), to clear the sediments that have accumulated at the top of this depression – and see if there is anything that can indicate that in fact this is a water system.
So, tomorrow and on Wednesday, we may have some interesting insights on what this interesting feature is.
And what can I say – I do hope it is some sort of water system (or the entrance to the unplundered tomb of Achish…) :-)
Updates will follow!
See here a short and very nice piece by Deane Galbraith on how the versions of the David and Goliath narrative can be used to explain some of the complexities of biblical redaction.
Check it out.
HT – Jack Sasson
See this beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” sung in the Elah Valley (right near Tel Socho) by the Israeli band “Makom Balev” (a place in the heart). And the clip was prepared by my cousin (“Avitz” Maeir)!
The clip can be found here