Program of the 48th Archaeological Congress in Israel (in Hebrew)

See below the full program of the 48th annual Archaeological Congress in Israel, which will be held at the new IAA building (near the Israel Museum in Jerusalem) on April 3rd, 2023.

As previously mentioned, Shani, Shira and I will be presenting a paper on musical instruments as used in Philistine cult.

Check it out!

Wrap up on the Darius sherd…

A nice article in which the so-called “Darius Sherd” fiasco is discussed, with a bit of perspectives, just appeared in the Times of Israel (written by Melanie Lidman). In the article, the story about how this sherd was found and what subsequently happened is recapped, and then Melanie discusses with various archaeologists (including me) and other experts about what happened, what went wrong, and what can be learned for the future.

I guess the best think we can take from this interesting “episode” is to try and do better next time…

Check it out!

Podcast about the Philistines and Safi!

Glad to report that a great recording of an interview between Tristan Hughes and yours truly, on the Philistines and the excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath, has just appeared on Tristan’s excellent The Ancients podcast.

So, if you have about 40 minutes, and want to hear about the Philistines, the Late Bronze/Iron Age transition, the relationship between archaeology and the Bible and other textual sources, and of course, about the excavations, at Tell es-Safi/Gath, check it out!


48th Annual Archaeological Congress in Israel: April 3rd, 2023

On April 3rd, 2023, the 48th Annual Archaeological Congress in Israel will be held at the new campus of the IAA in Jerusalem (next to the Israel Museum and the Bible Lands Museum).

Do mark this in your calendar if you can be there.

Among other lectures, Shani, Shira and I will be presenting a lecture on Philistine musical instruments. The full program will be published in the near future.

פרס לפרסום מאמרים של מרכז רנרט

מוזמנים ומוזמנות לטקס הענקת פרסים לתלמידים ותלמידות המחלקה ללימודי א”י וארכיאולוגיה ע”ש מרטין (זוס), שפרסמו מאמרים מחקריים על ירושלים. הפרסים יוענקו מטעם מרכז אינגבורג רנרט ללימודי ירושלים ביום חמישי, ה-23.3.23 בשעה 5 בערב (פרטים למטה)

השנה, הפרסים יוענקו ל: אנט נגר, דנית לוי קלובסקי, חיים שחם, ותהילה ליברמן

2 day hike to the “Samaria Desert”

This past Thursday and Friday, I had the pleasure (and muscle pains…) to participate in a two day departmental hike in the “Samaria Desert” led by my fabulous colleague Dr. Dvir Raviv.

We started the first day with a view eastward from the vicinity of the settlement Kida, overlooking the region that we would walk for the next two days.

From there we walked to the site of Kh. Jab’it, a Roman-Byzantine site with remains of a village and Byzantine church. From there we continued into Wadi e-Rashash, a wadi leading down to Phasael in the Jordan Valley. We first stopped at Ein Rashash, a very nice perennial spring, and viewed the nearby caves which Dvir recently surveyed. These caves are the northernmost evidence of the Bar Kochba hiding caves.

From there we continued down the wadi until we reached its expansion in the area of Phasael. There, we visited various sites (Bronze Age, Iron Age, Hellenistic, Roman, and Medieval and Modern) in the region. This included the Iron Age fortresses at Rujm e-Muheir and Tell esh-Sheikh Diyab, the Hellenistic and early Roman remains of Phasael/Phasaelis (including the large open pool at Tell esh-Sheikh Diyab), and from there we went on to our camping spot for the night, underneath the Ha-Bik’a Memorial Monument.

Early the next morning we rose with the crack of dawn and started our climb up the Sartaba Mountain, from around -200 to 377 asl! The ascent to the site was astounding (if quite strenuous). We walked along the ancient route up to the site, passing ancient hewn stairs, and near the site, the remains of the syphon aqueduct, part of the water supply system to the site of Sartaba.

We reached the top of the Sartaba mountain and were greeted by the stupendous views in all directions, with the Jordan Valley far below. The site of Sartaba (Alexandrium) is a well-known fortress of the Hasmoneans and Herod, and according to the Mishna, was one of the sites on which fire signals were lit, to mark the beginning of a new month during the time of the Second Temple (which was set by the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem). The remains on the site are poorly preserved – but impressive – indicating the potential for future archaeological research.

From the Sartaba we headed down eastward, where we met our bus that took us back to Bar-Ilan University.

This truly was a great experience! There were about 25 of us, including 5 faculty members and 20 students. While Dvir provided most of the explanations (geography, geology, historical geography, history and archaeology), I spoke about some of the Bronze and Iron Age sites, Boaz Zissu explained about some of the Classical period sites, and Avi Picard and our departmental chair, Kobi Cohen-Hatab, talked about various modern historical issues. In addition to this, some of the students added their parts as well, on botany, astronomy and other issues.

One of the things that I did, late in the evening at the camp site, was that I led a “Hyde Park” discussion about the current political turmoil in Israel, trying to focus on sharing what people were feeling about this – and less trying to argue who was right or wrong. Hopefully, discussions like this can help us move forward in these very difficult political times in Israel!

While I was totally charley horsed the next day, it was worth every moment and every effort!

See below for some pictures from the trip!

Congratulations to Maddi!

Congratulations to Madaline Harris-Schober (Maddi) for being awarded the annual Sean Dever Prize, for the paper she gave last year at the ASOR meeting in Chicago, in the session that Jeff and I chaired.

Below is the official notice. Way to go Maddi!

The W.F. Albright Institute’s Sean W. Dever Memorial Prize Committee is pleased to announce the winner of the 2023 Sean W. Dever Memorial Prize for the best paper presented at a conference by a Ph.D. candidate in Syro-Palestinian or Biblical Archaeology.

The winner is Madaline Harris-Schober <>, a dual Ph.D. candidate in Archaeology at Ludwig Maximillians Universität Munchen and the University of Melbourne. Her paper, “The Mystery of ‘Shrine 22’: A Philistine Ritual Space from the Early Iron Age,” was presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Overseas Research (ASOR) in Boston, MA on November 17, 2022.

The Sean W. Dever Memorial Prize was established in 2001 by Professor William G. Dever and the late Mrs. Norma Dever in memory of their son Sean.