Today, Louise Hitchcock and I visited Joe Uziel and Itzik Shai’s excavations at Tel Burna. As I mentioned before, they just started the excavation this week and already, they have absolutely fantastic finds! They have uncovered some of the most impressive Iron Age fortifications that I have seen in a long time, along with various other structures. Not only are the fortifications truly awesome, the are very clearly seen, as are many other features on the upper and lower parts of the tell – right near surface with very little, if any, laters layers or features covering them. In addition, it appears that the Iron Age II is the dominant period on the site.
Without any exageration, I believe that this project has the potential to become one of the most important Iron Age (“biblical period”) excavations in Israel in the coming years, and it is one of the few large scale excavations of what appears to be a full-blown Judahite site. I think that future seasons of the excavations should produce material of astounding importance.
In fact, if someone was contemplating joining a fresh project, with great directors, great Iron Age (mainly Judahite) finds, and the prospect of a long-term development, I would suggest Tel Burna as the current prime candidate. If anyone out there is looking to join a project, whether as a volunteer, or even better, on an institutional level, I highly recommend thinking about the Tel Burna excavations in the coming years.
Not that Tell es-Safi/Gath is not great – but other important excavations have to be “pushed” as well. And this is definitely a site of central importance – worthy of being “pushed”.
Way to go Itzik and Joe, and all the Burna team!!