“Caveat lector” on a new book on the Sea Peoples…

A new book on the Sea Peoples has now been published by Osprey Publishing, who put out many popular books on military related themes. Some of these books are excellent, some less.

The book, which I purchased during my recent trip to Paris is entitled:

D’Amato, R., and Salimbeti, A. 2015. Sea Peoples of the Bronze Age Mediterranean c. 1400 BC – 1000 BC. Elite 204. Oxford: Osprey.

What can I say – caveat lector


Definitely “for the birds”…

A new book has just appeared in the OBO series, which seems to combine between two of my most passionate interests – the Ancient Near East and ornithology!

Definitely interested in checking out this new volume:

von der Osten-Sacken, E. 2015 Untersuchungen zur Geflügelwirtschaft im Alten Orient. Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 272. Fribourg: Academic Press.

Here is the blurb which describes the volume:

This monograph studies the economic use of birds from the beginning to the domestication of some of them. Since when do humans hunt birds and how did they use them? The development of methods and significance of fowling and bird keeping are examined with a particular focus on economically relevant, especially fowl-like species.
Different kinds of ancient Near Eastern evidence and source materials (archaezoological, archaeological and philological) are examined and compared to ancient Egyptian and Greco-Roman sources. The book is based on a revised habilitation thesis that was critically evaluated by experts of all relevant disciplines and topics. In its breadth and comprehensiveness, it is an unique work and will be the indispensable reference work on poultry in the Ancient Near East for many years to come.


New article published online – on the environmental effects of Hazael destruction on the environs of Tell es-Safi/Gath

An article, whose research and publication was spearheaded by Oren Ackermann (our geoarchaeologist) – and a big team of collaborators (including yours truly), has just been published online in the journal Anthropocene.

In this article we discuss evidence retrieved from a deep section which was cut in a valley to the east of the site. The sediments in this pit were analyzed by a very broad team of experts in may fields (and thus, the long list of co-authors). From this study, which builds on earlier research which we conducted in and around the tell, we see that the destruction of Tell es-Safi/Gath by Hazael (ca. late 9th century BCE) had a significant anthropogenic effect on the landscape. Among other aspects, evidence shows that the sedimentation rates increased after the destruction of the site. We suggest that this can be used in other cases as well in which the correlation of a high sedimentation rate and an anthropogenic marker in the sediment, with a documented human event, may enable the deciphering of anthropogenic fill.

The full title of the article is:

Ackermann, O., Greenbaum, N., Ayalon, A., Bar-Matthews, A., Boaretto, E., Bruins, H., Cabanes, D., Horwitz, L. K., Neumann, F., Porat, N., Weiss, E., and Maeir, A. M.
2015. Using Palaeo-Environmental Proxies to Reconstruct Natural and Anthropogenic Controls on Sedimentation Rates, Tell es-Safi/Gath, Eastern Mediterranean. Anthropocene (doi: http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.ancene.2015.03.004).

The online, pre-proofs version of the article can be found at:



Lecture by Ami Mazar on the Rehov apiary

Today, Prof. Amihai Mazar (HU), have a very interesting lecture, with his up-to-date thoughts on the apiary (honey producing installation) which he and his team discovered at Tel Rehov. The lecture was given as part of the departmental seminar of the Dept. of Land of israel Studies and Archaeology at BIU.

As usual, Ami was stimulating, interesting and threw out quite a few interesting ideas!

Visit to Tell Rumeideh and Hebron,

Today, I had the opportunity to visit Hebron and Tell Rumeida. Not only did I get a chance to see, once again, the antiquities on Tell Rumeida (including the new excavations) and the Al Haram el-Khalil/Tomb of the Patriarchs site, I had a very interesting tour with Thomas, a former member of the TIPH observer group, who showed us around central Hebron through his perspective – which is not one that you get to hear very often.

As you may know, Hebron is one of the most highly debated, and some say craziest, places on this planet, and to hear a slightly different perspective from those that I’ve heard until now (including both Israeli and Palestinian views of all kinds) on someone’s daily experiences in Hebron was very interesting.

Here are some pictures next to the EB and MB fortifications on Tell Rumeideh, which I took today:

photo 2 photo 4

And just for fun, here is a photo of Jeff Chadwick, aka Achish Melekh Gath, posing at the same place, way before the most recent excavations, when he was MUCH younger… :-)



The Elephant from Revadim…

A very interesting study has been published by colleagues from TAU, BGU and other institutions, on evidence of early butchery of elephants found at the prehistoric site near Kibbutz Revadim (about 1/2 a km to the east of the kibbutz, just to the south of Route 3), where the Safi team stays during the season. This site, the Revadim Quarry site, is of the late Acheulian cultural complex, of the Lower Paleolithic period, and dates to ca. 500-300 thousand years ago.

Various aspects about this site have been published in the past (such as herehere and here), but this new study shows some very interesting evidence of early human butchery of elephants, and even more interestingly, animal fat residue on stone tools relating to this.

So, while dealing with much earlier periods than those that we usually deal with at the Tell es-Safi/Gath excavations, this is quite an interesting aspect of the early history of this region.