Hebrew, Portuguese and soon Spanish video captions for the Biblical Archaeology MOOC!

As mentioned previously, the online course (MOOC) on Biblical Archaeology is going very well, and as of yesterday, 2100 participants have registered for the course!

Now we have some nice news about this. The entire course is in English, but to enable those interested in the course who don’t know enough English to follow it, there are now captions for the videos in the Hebrew, Portuguese (so far from the videos in Lesson 1, but more to follow), and I hope very soon in Spanish as well!

So, if any friends, family, colleagues or students are interested, and this will make it possible for them to follow the course – do them to register!

And if anyone (preferably with a background in biblical archaeology so as to know the relevant terms) is interested in volunteering to try and translate the video captions into other languages, do get in touch with me!

And BTW – just to get you and others more interested, in the lesson that will go online this coming Wednesday (January 23, 2019), in addition to some very interesting aspects of Israelite and Judahite culture and daily life, we will have a video on making biblical period food (and accompanying recipes to that participants can try them out on their own!). This was a lot of fun!



P.S. And thanks to Jorge Fabbro for the Portuguese translation!

Talk on Philistine cult and burial with emphasis on Safi

Today, I participated in the 15th Annual Joint Conference of the IAA Southern District and the Dept. of Bible, Archaeology and Ancient Near East of BGU, which dealt with various issues relating to cult and burial.

I have a paper on cult and burial at Philistine Gath, discussing various finds at Tell es-Safi/Gath and what they say about the Philistine culture in general.

Most of the papers presented in the conference were published in the proceedings that were available at the meeting, which, in addition to my paper (which was published in Hebrew, as the paper that was presented), also included an important paper by Gunnar Lehmann and colleagues (this was in English), on the Iron I/IIA “200 Cemetery” at Tell el-Farah (South), which is also an important cemetery in Iron Age Philistia, with, among other finds, several cremation burials.

The titles of these two papers are:

Maeir, A. M. 2019 Burial and Worship in Tel Tzafit/Gath in the Early Iron Age: Evidence for the Diverse Sources of the Philistine Culture (In Hebrew). Pp. 99–112 in Worship and Burial in the Shfela and Negev Regions Throughout the Ages. Proceedings of the 15th Annual Southern Conference, eds. D. Varga, Y. Abadi-Reiss, G. Lehmann and D. Vainstub. Beersheba: Israel Antiquities Authority and Ben-Gurion University. (see here for PDF)

Lehmann, G., Golding-Meir, R., Sparks, R. T., and Neumeier-Potashnik, B.
2019 Tell el-Far’ah (South) Cemetery 200 Revisited. Pp. 4*-18* in Worship and Burial in the Shfela and Negev Regions Throughout the Ages. Proceedings of the 15th Annual Southern Conference, eds. D. Varga, Y. Abadi-Reiss, G. Lehmann and D. Vainstub. Beersheba: Israel Antiquities Authority and Ben-Gurion University.

3D model of the Safi lab!

Now here is something cool! Itamar Berko, who is an MA student in the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at BIU, will be utilizing the handheld LIDAR scanner (Geoslam Zeb-Revo) that we recently purchased (joint ISF equipment grant to Boaz Zissu, Rafi Kent and Aren Maeir) for field research in caves.

For practice, he did a quick, walk-around scan of the Safi lab.

Go to this very cool 3D model that he produced. Don’t be scared of the blog of dots! Check it out and “go inside” – and you’ll be able to see actual details of the rooms and even furniture in the lab. And take into account that this was done very quickly, with a relatively look resolution. Cool!

Imagine how effective this would be to walk into a dark cave, and be able to collected data in a short time that would enable to produce an accurate 3D model of the cave. Much simpler than standard measuring methods!


New paper on the warlike character of the Philistines

A new paper has just appeared, in which I discuss and question the age-old image of the Philistines as a warlike and fearsome culture and people. Based on the relatively small amount of weapons found in Iron Age Philistia, I suggest that perhaps a big part of this image is due to ancient, and modern, ideological perspectives.

The title of article is:

Maeir, A. M. 2018. The Philistines Be Upon Thee, Samson (Jud. 16:20): Reassessing the Martial Nature of the Philistines – Archaeological Evidence Vs. Ideological Image? Pp. 158–68 in Change, Continuity and Connectivity: North-Eastern Mediterranean at the Turn of the Bronze Age and in the Early Iron Age, eds. L. Niesiołowski-Spanò and M. Węcowski. Philippika 118. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

For a link to a PDF – go here.




Kiwis at Safi 2019!

John Stringer, who was a team member in 2018, is organizing a group of Kiwis (that is New Zealanders…) that will come as a group to the 2019 season at Tell es-Safi/Gath.

John has already made a very nice patch for the team (see below)!

If you want to join Team Kiwi 2019 – be in touch with John at: ijohnstringer@icloud.com

Kia Ora (that’s “be well” in Maori…)!


Debate on the early Philistines – TAU 12/12/18

Two weeks ago, I participated in a very interesting seminar at Tel Aviv University, where Prof. Shlomo Bunimovitz and myself debated the understanding and origins of the early Philistines. Shlomo claimed that the early Philistine originated from a distinct region in the Aegean (most probably the eastern Aegean), and only after the initial phase, did the Philistine culture begin the show mixed cultural influences.

On the other hand, I argued, as I’ve written often, that the Philistines did not originate from one region, but rather, the originate from various regions to the west of the Levant, and from the very early phase of the Philistine culture, it was mixed, entangled culture.

The debate was in Hebrew, and for those interested, a recording can be found here.


Month long program in Israel – including excavation at Tell es-Safi/Gath!

Are you (or anyone you know) interested in a month-long, fully accredited, academic program in Israel, this coming summer (June/July 2019), which is partially subsidized, in which you will study about the history of Israel from early to modern times, and as part of the course there are two weeks of excavation at Tell es-Safi/Gath?

If so – check out the program “ISRAEL: FROM THE PAST TO THE PRESENT” – through BIU and Onward Israel!

Apply now – there are limited places!

Don’t miss this opportunity!


And of course – don’t forget to sign up for the MOOC on Biblical Archaeology!