Another review of Safi I

Jeff Chadwick has given me a head’s up (thanks!) to a just-appeared review of Tell es-Safi/Gath I, by Larry Herr, which has been published in BASOR 370 (2013).

Overall, the review is very positive (it commences with: “This is a monumental publication. It is virtually 1,000 pages of archaeological data, illustrations, and interpretations. Perhaps such a huge publication is only fitting, for the site of Tell es-Safi/Gath is even more monumental, one of the largest and most imposing sites in southern Israel at about 50 ha spread over a high, strategic hill. But what really makes this publication a monument is the rigor and seriousness with which Maeir and his large team of 36 authors have approached their project…“), though Larry has some suggestions regarding how to make such a monumental volume easier to use (in particular, regarding the placement of illustrations). His comments are definitely taken seriously – and in fact – we deliberated on many of his very thoughts when we were putting together the volume.

Larry also questions the connection between the siege system around the site to the conquest of Gath by Hazael, feeling that while a possibility, it is not proven. While I agree that we have not found a sign “Built by Hazael” – I strongly believe that all the archaeological, historical and biblical evidence is best interpreted that the the siege system and the contemporaneous destruction level as being related to this event. I see no other explanations that would fit in with the available data.

Larry – thanks for the review – and your appreciation of the immense effort that all the editors, authors, and excavators put into this!