Intact jar on the last hour of the last day – and Murphy’s Law in archaeology

As in the books, regarding Murphy’s Law in archaeology (see details below), today, as we finished final photographs and were about to cover over the areas, an intact jar was found in Area M. Due to the fact that it stuck out quite clearly from the balk, we had to quickly excavate it and remove it – along with a large amount of broken pottery from other vessels from its vicinity.

See below some pictures of the “baby” – some of us got a little emotional about this…

And in general, today we finished all the final photos, removed some finds (…), covered over the excavations areas, and packed up and brought back things to BIU.

It was a great season!

As to Murphy’s Law in archaeology, here are some examples:

  1. A wall that goes into a balk from one side, won’t come out from the other side.
  2. Major finds will be discovered in the last hour of the last day of the excavation.
  3. Just when you are sure that you fully understand a long-standing problem, a new find will completely contradict this viewpoint.

Supporting the Safi project

Now that the 2018 season is almost over, with the great finds that we have had (I will post a short summary of the season in the coming days), the Safi team will go back to their regular activities throughout the year. Volunteers, students and staff from abroad return home, BIU students go on vacation (and have tests) and the Israeli Safi staff prepare to work on the finds throughout the year.

Needless to say, the project has many expenses, and even though we just received a grant to work on some aspects of the project, there are many other research related costs to cover.

For those of you who have participated in the project, in the past or present, as well as those who follow our activities on a regular basis, we would be most grateful for support to continue doing the great work that we have been doing for more than two decades.

If you would like to support the project, donations would be greatly appreciated and very helpful. If you are interested in contributing to the project please get in touch with me ( for details how this can be done, including tax deductible options.



And here’s a nice picture of the Safi team, taken last week by the drone


Last day of digging and the shades are off (Tuesday, July 17, 2018)

Today was the last day of digging in Areas M and Y, and then, towards the end of the day, the shades came off.

In Area Y, Jill and her team did a little more digging and mainly cleaned. Adi Eliyahu came and did some sampling for microarchaeological analyses of the enigmatic mud brick structure/feature.

In Area M, Maria and her team worked on finishing the last things to dig – including a whole slew of complete and/or restorable vessels.

In Area D East, we did the final aerials.

As always, on the day the shades come off – its unbearably hot – but that’s life…

Quite a few people stayed back in the office to finish up processing of the finds – and we are doing well with all our “finishing up” tasks.

Here’s the daily clip and a nice aerial view of Areas D east and D west, looking eastward above the western side of the lower city, taken today:


Update for Monday, July 16, 2018

First day of excavation of the last week, with some nice results and quite a few visits!

Area D East finished cleaning up and is ready for aerial photos tomorrow morning – looking good!

Area Y was working on cleaning, section drawing and trying to understand the large baked brick feature – and associated pit with tons of burnt brick fragments. Quite hard to understand what is going on there – making it all that more interesting and challenging. Tomorrow, Adi will be on site to try and help us make headway with some in-depth microarchaeological analyses.

Area M continues to produce oodles and oodles of finds. This included today several many broken vessels of all kinds, but also several intact vessels such as cooking pots, jugs, juglets and platters of various types. Very cool!

Andy Creekmore and his team have joined in the fun, both excavation and discussing the results of the remote sensing from last year and how they match our finds so well!

We had quite a few visitors today, including: Ami Mazar (HU), Baruch Brandl and Sam Wolff (IAA), Ido Koch and Lidar Sapri-Hen (TAU), and a large group from Brazil led by Prof. Ademar Kaefer (Methodist University of Sao Paulo).

And here is the daily clip with some great shots:


Israel Science Foundation Grant to the Safi Project!

Today I was notified that the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) awarded a very nice 4 year grant to the Safi Project for the study of the Iron Age remains in the lower city.

Thanks to all past and present team members, scientific collaborators and staff, for ongoing contributions to the project, which laid the groundwork and foundations for this research grant. I am convinced that future work on this and related topics will produce more excellent research!