New article on Magnetometry at Tell es-Safi/Gath

I’m happy to announce the appearance of a new article on remote sensing (using magnetometry) at Tell es-Safi/Gath, and the insights we have from this study on the urban planning of Iron Age Philistine Gath and other Iron Age urban sites in Philistia and beyond.

The article appears (after quite a long gestation period…) just after the completion of the 25th summer season at Tell es-Safi/Gath, which is planned as the last full summer season that I will direct at the site.

While I will continue directing research at the site for several more years, field activities will be based on short seasons at different times of the year.

In addition, while too late to put into this article, the results of the 2021 have added some additional interesting insights on the lower city of Iron Age Gath, which we hope to publish in the future.

The paper, jointly written by Andy Creekmore and yours truly is entitled:

Creekmore, A. T., III, and Maeir, A. M. 2021. Philistine Urban Form at Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel: A Magnetometric perspective. Levant 53: 1947647.

Here is the abstract:

Some scholars view Philistine settlement in the southern Levant as the dominant, colonizing imposition of a new urbanism following a period of small cities and structural realignment during the Late Bronze Age. Others view Philistine urbanism as a gradual process that marks emergent, rather than imposed, cities. Here we explore Philistine urban planning through magnetometer and excavation data from Tell es-Safi/Gath. Results show that the northern lower city has dense, symmetrical buildings bordering main streets, an industrial area, potential extra-mural settlement, and many burned structures. Comparing these results to planning in other Philistine cities, we argue that these cities were moderately planned because they have many shared features, an emphasis on ordered spaces, and possibly discrete locations for industrial activities, but spatial divisions and street widths were not rigidly enforced, and the relative location of specialized activities varies. This finding is consistent with the emergent model of Philistine urbanism.

See below a short clip and a photo of the field work at Tell es-Safi/Gath, in the 2017 season, in which the magnetometric survey was conducted.