Article on 20 years of Iron Age archaeology at Tell es-Safi/Gath

As mentioned previously, a volume on the Shephelah in the Iron Age was just publilshed, edited by Oded Lipschits and myself. In the volume, there is a chapter on the excavations at Safi:

Maeir, A. M. 2017. Philistine Gath After 20 Years: Regional Perspectives on the Iron Age at Tell es-Safi/Gath. Pp. 133–54 in The Shephelah during the Iron Age: Recent Archaeological Studies, eds. O. Lipschits and A. M. Maeir. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.

Here is a link to a PDF of the article: Maeir_Iron Age after 20 years at Safi_in Lipschits and Maeir eds. Iron Age Shephelah_Winona Lake 2017

This article is published in:

The Shephelah during the Iron Age: Recent Archaeological Studies, eds. O. Lipschits and A. M. Maeir. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2017, copyright © 2017 by Eisenbrauns; placed here by permission of the publisher. The book may be purchased at:


Shephelah volume is out!

The volume on the archaeology of the Iron Age Shephelah, edited by Oded Lipschits and Aren Maeir (previously mentioned here), has appeared! In this volume, there are 8 papers by various excavators of sites in the Shephelah (in fact, almost all current or recent projects), giving an excellent overview of major issues relating to the Iron Ages (and some issues relating to the Late Bronze Age as well). In addition, the volume includes an overview chapter by Aren and Oded, and a chapter by Ido Koch on his observations on various issues relating to the Late Bronze and early Iron Age in Southwestern Canaan. For the table of contents, see here.

Jim Eisenbrauns just informed me that the volume has arrived – and it looks great!

The full title of the volume is:

Lipschits, O., and Maeir, A. M., eds. 2017. The Shephelah during the Iron Age: Recent Archaeological Studies. “. .. as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the Shephelah” (1 Kings 10:27, 2 Chronicles 1:15). Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.


Visit to Safi with a film crew

This Friday (March 24th, 2017) I was again at the tell, this time with a German film crew. The documentary team, from “Spiegel TV”, was filming a chapter of a very interesting program for the German public TV channel ZDF. The program, “Zeitreise“ (“Timeline“ in English) deals with the general world history, each time dealing with a different time period, with views from different places and cultures throughout the world (see here on the chapter on the year “0”).

The filming at Safi was part of a chapter that will deal with 1000 BCE. In Israel, they have chosen the topic of David and Goliath and the Philistines and the Israelites, and are filming at Safi and Jerusalem. Other parts of this chapter will be filmed in the Pacific, dealing with the Lapita culture, and in Mesoamerica dealing with the Olmec culture, as well as other places in Europe and the world.

The archaeological host of the program is Prof. Matthias Wemhoff, who is the director of the Museum fuer Vor- and Fruegeschichte in Berlin (which as you may know is an astounding museum!). So in addition to it all, it was very interesting to get to meet and discuss various issues with Prof. Wemhoff!

Here are a couple pictures of the crew filming Prof. Wemhoff talking about the 10th cent. in Area F. In addition, see the 360 degree video that I took in Area F Upper. From the pictures and the film, you can see how green the site is at this time of the year – especially for those of you who only get to see it in the summer – when everything, more or less, is dry and brown.

Here is the clip:

And here are the photos:




Vist to Safi for development planning

Today, I visited Safi with a very special group of representatives from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA), to do some initial planning, brainstorming and discussions about future plans to develop the cultural heritage potential at the site. This particularly important in light of two possible substantial sources that may fund this.

We discussed the possibilities for heritage development for the lower city, in relationship to the siege system to the east of the tell, and on the tell in general (especially at the summit). There is a lot of more work to do, but it was a very productive meeting.

It was nice being on site. Everything was green – and the flowers and birds were out in droves. We saw 3-4 Imperial Eagles (Aquila heliaca), the usual gaggles of Western Jackdaws (Corvus monedula), and a few Common Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus). It was especially nice to see how, every time the Eagles came near the   jackdaws and kestrels, the smaller birds went up to intercept the Eagles and chase them away. Sort of looked liked WW II movie of fighters intercepting bombers…

And on the way out, we saw a couple of Little Owls (Athene noctua), a very common Safi inhabitant (see the picture below).

As I was on site with the INPA people, I saw how they use their online biological reporting system. Very cool! The wardens have on their smartphones an application thru which they can report, online, live, a sighting of any fauna or flora, with an exact xyz coordinate, which is automatically uploaded to the INPA data base!

Here are two pictures from the visit:

43rd Annual Archaeological Congress in Israel: 6th of April 2017, with 3 Safi presentations!

On April 6th, 2017, the 43rd Annual Archaeological Congress in Israel will be held at the He brew University (Mt. Scopus Campus, Rabin Building).

This will be a full day of very interesting lectures, including 3 by Safi team members: 1) I’ll be talking about new finds at Safi in the last few seasons; 2) Amit, Maria and I will be presenting on cult and temples at Tell es-Safi/Gath of the Philistines; 3) And Adi will be talking about steel production in the Iron Age.

Should be very interesting!

Check out the conference’s program here.