New article on Philistine technology

A new article on ancient technologies in the Iron Age Philistine culture, has just appeared. The article was published in a special issue of the Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies, with several studies focusing on ancient technology, in honor of Dr. Nava Panitz-Cohen.

The article, written by 16 of researchers who are connected to the Safi project, examines what we know and can learn about technologies (in a broad sense of the term) in use in the Iron Age Philistine culture, using the finds from Philistine Tell es-Safi/Gath as a case study, and how this can shed light on a broad range of issues relating to the Philistines and the Iron Age Levant. Special attention is placed on the importance of the study of technology for elucidating broad aspects of ancient culture.
The full title is:
Maeir, A. M., Ben-Shlomo, D., Cassuto, D., Chadwick, J. R., Davis, B., Eliyahu Behar, A., Frumin, S., Gur-Arieh, S., Hitchcock, L. A., Horwitz, L. K., Manclossi, F., Rosen, S., Verduci, J., Welch, E. L., Weiss, E., and Workman, V.  2019.  Technological Insights on Philistine Culture: Perspectives from Tell es-Safi/Gath. Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies 7(1): 76–118.

Lectures in NY in the beginning of April 2019

I will be in NY in the beginning of April, 2019, and I will be giving a few lectures. Here is one that is open to the public:

New York Aegean Bronze Age Colloquium: Monday, 1 April 2019, 6:00 pm (Hemmerdinger Screening Room (Library, Room E706), Hunter College): New Insights on the Philistines and the Sea Peoples in Light of Two Decades of Excavations at Tell es-Safi—Gath of the Philistines

Be there – or be square!



Kudos to Dr. Brent Davis – laureate of the 2019 “Michael Ventris Award for Mycenaean Studies”!

Wow, wow, wow!

Dr. Brent Davis (Melbourne) Safi core staff member, who is also a world leader in ancient Aegean languages and scripts, has been awarded the Michael Ventris Award for Mycenaean Studies for 2019!

At Safi – we already knew that Brent was great! This is yet another international recognition of this!

Here’s a picture of Brent (in the middle) with the Area K2 team in 2017.


Way to go Brent!


Winter visit to Tell es-Safi/Gath

Yesterday (March 10, 2019), Maria, Shira and I made a quick visit to Tell es-Safi/Gath, to see how it looks after the rains.

As you can see in the photos below – it looks quite cool. Totally green, with some very tall thorns in some areas (but for the most part, not in the excavation areas). Even though I’ve seen this often before, the view of the tell and its surroundings when it is totally green and overgrown is simply stunning.

Another nice thing is that the road leading to the tell is being paved all the way to the tell – which will make access much easier and quicker.

To our surprise and consternation, the project to develop the parking area started without being coordinated with us, and when we arrived at the site, were rather shocked to see a small “bobcat” tractor excavating a foundation trench for one of the walls of the new entrance area, right near Area D. Needless to say, we stopped them immediately and called the regional inspector of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Turns out, there was a lot of “lack of communication” (…) between the various involved parties, who for reason did not think it was urgent to have the archaeologist in charge of excavating the site involved…

So it was lucky that I had a sudden urge to look at the site, and hopefully, now, things will be better planned and coordinated (sheesh…)

And if already – don’t forget to sign up for the 2019 season!

Be there – or be square!!

Here are some pictures of the tell and the various areas:

Handheld LIDAR scanning of cave at Maresha

Last year, Boaz Zissu, Rafi Kent and yours truly received an equipment grant from the ISF to purchase some really cool equipment. This included a airborne LIDAR scanner (carried on a drone) and a hand held LIDAR scanner (GeoSLAM Zeb-Revo).

We are now in the process of starting to use this equipment and several students at BIU are being trained in the use of the equipment.

A couple of weeks ago, Itamar Berko, who is an MA student in our department, did a LIDAR scan of a rather complex cave at Maresha. He walked around the cave for about 40 minutes, holding the scanner. Then, based on the collected data, he produced a really cool 3D model of the cave.

See this link to check out the 3D model. Try it out and move around in the cave – it is quite astounding!

And this is the result of a very short scan! Imagine the detail that could be produced from a much more extended scan!

Definitely very cool. We hope to start using these tools in various manners in the near future.



On Thursday, March 7th, and 16:00, a very interesting workshop will be conducted at the Albright Institute in Jerusalem.

The workshop, entitled “A ‘GLOBAL TURN’ FOR THE ARCHAEOLOGY AND HISTORY OF THE SOUTHERN LEVANT”, will be given by Oystein LaBianca (Andrews University) and Terje Stordalen (University of Oslo), and respondents will be Ann Killebrew (Penn State Univ) and yours truly (Aren M. Maeir, BIU).

See here for an overview of what will be discussed.

Should be interesting! If you are in this neck of the woods, hope to see you there!