Tell es-Safi/Gath on the NOVA documentary

Despite the fact that I had thought that we would be starring in the NOVA documentary on the Bible, in fact, from what I was told, the Philistine section had been completely cut out of the movie as shown on TV last week. Nevertheless, to compensate, various extras for the televised version have been added to both the NOVA website and to the DVD that they will be selling.

So, if you want to look at the short 5 minute section on the Philistines, including a minute or two of views of the dig at Tell es-Safi and short interviews with Justin Lev-Tov and yours truly, go to to this link.

And although I have not yet had the chance, I hope to shortly post something about the ASOR conference and all the Safites that participated.


3 thoughts on “Tell es-Safi/Gath on the NOVA documentary

  1. That was an interesting segment, & even though your portion was short, at least they spelled your name right! I’m looking forward to any comments you post about the conference!

    By the way, at the very end of that NOVA segment, they show someone washing a piece of painted pottery, then rubbing their fingers over it. Was that someone from your excavation? If so, I’m a bit troubled that someone would rub their fingers over the art. Others have mentioned their concern over the way the Qeiyafa Ostracon has been handled in the published photos (showing people touching it). This stands in stark contrast to the normal care given, for example, to less important artifacts such as the pig bones that Justin Lev-Tov is shown in the video carefully brushing at the site, as if they were covered with precious gold. I would think that all excavators would be trained to treat painted & inscribed artifacts with the highest of care. Every dot of paint on an ancient artifact seems precious, espeically considering all the money that is soon to be spent photographing/analyzing that particular ostracon here in the States with hi-tech equipment. Am I being ridiculous? (Bear in mind that I have no actual field experience myself.)


  2. Justin Lev-Tov

    I resent the remark that pig bones are “less important artifacts” and the implication that I brushed them with all too much care. Israel Finkelstein himself wrote that “pig taboos…are emerging as the main, if not only, avenue that can shed light on ethnic boundaries in
    the Iron I.” My indignation isn’t serious, but I do think that bones in general are not given their fair share of attention as opposed to pottery, not all of which is decorated, inscribed, or even aesthetically pleasing.


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