End of season party and presentation of festschrift to Jeff!

Last night we had a great end of season party for the 2021 season at Tell es-Safi/Gath, the final summer season of the project! Team members from this season (including some members who had not been with us in the 4th week), as well as some team members from previous seasons (including Itzik, Joe, Owen, Debbie, Kristina and Liora) joined together for a great evening of friendship, which was topped by the great homemade pizza that Yehuda Mizrahi made! As usual, Yehuda came with all the greatest materials, and made us fresh pizza, of many varieties, in his portable pizza oven!

At the beginning of the evening, we had a very special and emotional event. Friends from Israel and abroad got together, face to face and on zoom, for a surprise presentation of a festschrift in honor of Jeff Chadwick, on the occasion of his 66th birthday! The volume, which hopefully will be out in November (in time for the ASOR meeting in Chicago where we plan to present it officially to Jeff), includes papers from friends and colleagues of Jeff from various stages of his career. Last night, we presented him a mockup of the volume, with all the articles that will appear in this great tribute to him.

The volume will be entitled:

Maeir, A. M. and Pierce, G. A. (eds.). 2021 (in press). “To Explore the Land of Canaan”: Studies in Biblical Archaeology in Honor of Jeffrey R. Chadwick. Archaeology of the Biblical Worlds. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Needless to say, this was a very moving event – and we completely surprised Jeff – he definitely didn’t see this coming!

After the presentation, I presented to the participants a short summary of this very successful season, gave out participation certificates to the team members, and spoke a little about future plans for the continuation of research on the site.

Great evening to end a great season to end the last summer season of the project!

Thanks to the team members of this season – and to all team members of the 25 years of summer season – since 1996!

Aren

Aerial photos, pajamas, and straight to bed!

So today, the last day in the field, we took our aerial group picture (to be posted soon), finished aerial and ground photographs (including multispectral from one of the drones), and covered over all the areas with geotech clothes (pajamas).

Great end to a great season!

We still have packing and trips to deliver stuff later today, and the tonight, the final party of the season – and of the projects 25 years of sumner seasons!

Final digging, cleaning and shades down…

Today was the last day of digging, followed by cleaning, and then the shades went down in all area. Tomorrow, we start talking final photos, continue cleaning and more photos on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. It’s a small and very capable team doing the work!

We also had some distinguished visitors today, including Ami Mazar and Nava Panitz Cohen from HUJI, Dvir Raviv from BIU, and Gideon Avni and Svetlana Talis from the IAA.

Update for the first day of the 4th week (Monday, July 26, 2021)

Great day with lots of finds – nice way to start off the last week of the 2021 season!

Maria and her team in Area M had lots of finds. The most impressive was somewhat a surprise – a large and well-made pavement in one of the buildings. In addition to this, they cleaned the bottom of the stone olive press (finding in it a strainer cup, a “ring” stand, a loomweight, parts of a “beer jug” and other pottery), cleaned a plaster installation nest to the press, and found a bunch of other finds (including an additional loomweight).

In Area S, Shira and her team excavated quite a few vessels and other finds. This included an almost complete juglet, two sling shots (perhaps evidence of the battle during the siege and conquest of Gath?), and various other finds.

Jeff’s team, in Area D East, found the foundation of one of brick walls near the city wall, and further clarified the large stone outer fortification.

Yeshayahu, our field conservator, J, our draughtsman, were both on site today, as well as Johanna Regev (and her daughter) who took lots of samples for 14C dating from all kinds of contexts.

All told – a great day, with great finds – and a great (if compact…) team! :-)

Update for Friday, July 23, 2021

Last day of the 3rd week came and went with some nice results.

In Area S, several nice finds included a zoomorphic vessel (already reported), and several other almost complete vessels.

In Area M, more and more finds from the 9th cent BCE destruction. An interesting feature (which was sampled extensively) was a burnt brick wall with plaster still adhering to it.

In Area D East, various elements of the fortification were further exposed, including parts of an outer tower and a possible paved entrance.

We said goodbye to several team members who left at the end of this week. One more week to go, though with a much smaller team.