Chongqing University delegation in the lab!

Yesterday, we had the honor to host a high level delegation from Chongqing University during their visit to BIU. I presented to them about the excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath and about potential programs in archaeology (especially the summer excavations at Safi) in which students from their university could join.

Needless to say, the discussions and questions were very interesting – and indicated the big potential for programs to be developed between our two institutions. And hopefully, in the future, some of our team will be from Chongqing!

Here’s a picture of the visit:


Monthly meeting for “lunch and an idea” in the project lab

As of this month, we will commence having a monthly meeting in the project lab, in which, over lunch (that everyone brings on their own), a short presentation of an “idea” – some topic which is currently being dealt with in the project related research projects, will be discussed.

The first meeting will be on Tuesday, Dec. 20th, 2016, in which I will talk about the idea of the Philistines as pirates.

See the full Hebrew notice below:

“צהריים בצפית” – נפגשים לסנדוויץ’ ורעיון

הזמנה לקהל הסטודנטים והמרצים מהמחלקה ללימודי א”י וארכיאולוגיה, “לתבל לכם” את ארוחת הצהריים.

 נשמח לארח אתכם, פעם בחודש, במעבדת חפירות תל צפית/גת (במרתף בניין הפקולטה מדעי היהדות). המפגשים יתקיימו בימי ג’, בהפסקה בשיעורים, בין 13:30 ל-14:00.

בכל מפגש, אחד (או אחת) מצוות חפירות תל צפית (וחוקרים וחוקרות הקשורים לחפירה) יציג בקצרה ובאופן חוויתי “רעיון” (לא יותר מ-15 דקות) – אודות אחד ממגוון נושאי המחקר שבהם אנו עוסקים – בזמן שאתם נהנים מארוחת הצהריים שלכם!

מה דרוש? בואו עם סנדוויץ’ (או כל אוכל אחר) – ואנו נספק את הקפה/תה – והחוויה!

  • התכנסות ב-13:30 – ההרצאה תחל ב-13:37, ותמשך עד 13:52, כך תוכלו להספיק להגיע לשיעור אשר מתחיל ב-14:00

המפגש הראשון יהיה ביום ג’, ה-20.12.16

פרופ’ אהרן מאיר יציג את הרעיון:

האם הפלישתים היו פיראטים?

מצפים לראותכם! כולכם מוזמנים!

צוות חפירות תל צפית


re: New article by Louise Hitchcock on transitions between periods

Louise has brought to my attention a new article of hers that was just published that deals with the issue of how to define a transition between culture, periods, etc.

In particular, she discusses the LB/Iron Age transition in the eastern Mediterranean, with emphasis on issues relating to the Philistines.

The full title is:

Hitchcock, L. A. 2016. “What Does a Transition Mean?,” in P. Armstrong and J. Emerling (eds) Festschrift for Donald Preziosi. Journal of Art Historiography 15 (2016) 1-6.

Check it out – very nice!

New paper on ground stone objects from EB Safi

A new paper on the ground stone objects from Early Bronze Age Tell es-Safi/Gath has just appeared (see link here)!

The paper, spearheaded by Jeremy Beller (originally part of his MA dissertation at the Univ. of Manitoba), deals with the “life history” of basalt ground stone objects from the Early Bronze Age III levels in Area E.

The full title is:

Beller, J. A., Greenfield, H. J., Shai, I., and Maeir, A. M. 2016. The Life-History of Basalt Ground Stone Artefacts from Early Urban Contexts: A View from the EB III of Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel. Journal of Lithic Studies 3(3).

And here is the abstract:

Recent archaeological excavations at the early urban settlement of Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel present the opportunity to reconstruct the life-history of basalt ground stone artefacts of an early urban domestic neighbourhood. Tell es-Safi/Gath is a multi-period site located on the border between the Judean foothills and the southern coastal plain of central Israel. Survey and excavations over the last two decades demonstrated that it was a major urban centre for the region during the Early Bronze Age (EBA) III. At the eastern end of the site, a neighbourhood of commoner residences (some perhaps associated with mercantile activities) have been exposed. This paper describes and analyses the basalt ground stone tools found in association with this domestic neighbourhood. It seeks to establish the nature of production, distribution, consumption, and discard associated with ground stone tools within a domestic context. The study involved several forms of analysis including typology, macroscopic observations, and excavation data. It is suggested that basalt sources from the northeastern regions of the southern Levant were exploited for the small-scale production of basalt artefacts by nonspecialised craftsmen. These commodities were then transported in more or less finished form to Tell es-Safi/Gath where they were further redistributed or sold to the settlement residents. The residents of the Tell es-Safi/Gath neighbourhood utilised the basalt artefacts for traditionally domestic tasks, and ultimately intentionally discarded or recycled them in a few depositional contexts. In summary, this paper presents a unique investigation into the life-history of basalt ground stone artefacts discovered in the EB III occupation levels of Tell es-Safi/Gath. It further demonstrates the potential of ground stone tools for understanding the behaviour and daily life of non-elite people.

Check it out!



Workshop on Hazael Destructions – Jan. 19, 2017

Please reserve the date for an upcoming workshop (for researchers and graduate students in the field), the first of the RIAB Minerva Center for this academic year, which will be held at BIU on Thursday, Jan. 19th, 2017.

The workshop, organized by Dr. Amit Dagan and Dr. Omer Sergey, will deal with sites in southern Israel at which there is possible evidence of a “Hazael destruction” – as well as some more or less contemporaneous sites. The workshop will include short presentations about the various sites and then a hands-on “table-top” presentation of ceramic assemblages from the relevant sites.

More details will be posted in the future. In the meantime – save the day!

Delegation of All-China Youth Federation visits the lab

Today, we hosted a delegation of the “All-China Youth Federation” in the lab, coordinated by Dr. Danielle Gurevitch, of BIU. The All-China Youth Federation is a government organization that coordinates most of the foreign programs and activities of Chinese students outside of China.

During the visit, I explained to them about the excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath and showed and explained to them about some of the finds. In addition, we discussed the possibility of having Chinese students join us in the dig (and also the possibility of Israeli students participating in archaeological excavations in China!).

Here’s a few pictures of the visit:


New article on Philistine names

A new article dealing with Philistine names and terms, jointly written by Aren, Brent and Louise, has just appeared!

See here a link to the final proofs of the article (as I do not have permission to post the final version)

The full title is:

Maeir, A. M., Davis, B., and Hitchcock, L. A. 2016. Philistine Names and Terms Once Again: A Recent Perspective. Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage 4(4): 321–40.

And here is the abstract:

In the last decade or so, new data and interpretations on the onomastics of Iron Age Philistia have appeared.In this article, we review, discuss, and suggest some insights regarding some of these Philistine personal names (e.g., Goliath), names of deities (e.g., PTGYH), and terms (e.g., seren). We assess them from linguistic, cultural, anthropological, and historical points of view. We then propose how they can be understood within the wider socio-cultural context(s) of Iron Age Philistia specifically and the wider eastern Mediterranean in general, and how they can be incorporated into efforts to understand the origins, development, and transformation of the Philistines and their culture(s).