Those of you who keep up with the blog on a regular basis know that Aren has mentioned Area D – the lower city various times in his posts. As the supervisor of Area D, I figured it would be nice to fill you in on what happened there our first season. In fact, even many of the people who visited the site last summer have no idea what Area D is – they usually just stopped to ask directions to the other areas (actually, Aren is the one who told them to do that).
Area D is located north of the tell, next to the southern bank of the Ela River. Aren’s decision to excavate there (as far as I know) was based on the following:
– the survey findings, which led us to believe that there was an extensive lower city to the north of the tell during the Iron Age.
– reports that Moshe Dayan did some excavations of his own near our excavation area.
– the presence of several walls, visible on the modern-day surface, include what may be the line of the city fortifications.
while only having excavated one season in Area D, it seems that Aren was right all along – there is an extensive lower city at Gath dating to the Iron Age II, making Tell es-Safi/Gath one of the largest cities in Ancient Israel!!!
In our first season we opened five squares. We discovered vessels similar to those found int he 9th Century BCE destruction level in Area A, as well as several mudbrick walls dating to the period. This is hopefully just the beginning of great things to come in Area D!!!