The Judean Shephelah is turning into one of the most intensively excavated regions in the Levant – and perhaps in the world!
As of the coming summer, the following ongoing projects are working at sites in this region:
* Tell es-Safi/Gath (goes without saying…)
* Kh. Qeiyafa
* Tel Zayit (don’t think they will be excavating this year)
* Tel Burna
* Tel Sochoh (new project)
* Tel Azekah (new project)
* Tel Beth Shemesh
* Tel Eton
* Gezer (although, “officially,” it is not in the Judean Shephelah, but it is close enough)
Now anyone with a head on his/her shoulders is probably asking: “why in the world would you need so many excavations in such a small area?”
That is a good question, but the answer is quite simple: This is a region which provides very important finds for the study of a wide range of cultures, and their interactions, in many periods. Most of these excavations focus on the Iron Age cultures, but there is much to be said about other periods and cultures as well. Also, as the “basics” about this cultures in this region are relatively well-known, the various projects can deal with more in-depth AND broader issues – going beyond the initial questions asked when starting to study a given region.
This is the time to raise a flag – and call for the formation of a Forum for the Study of the Shephelah – in which the various projects can get together to compare notes, brainstorm, and even argue – to push forward the research in a collaborative, inclusive manner! This is a real opportunity to create a force multiplier!!!!
Let’s hope others will be interested in developing this idea as well!