Indiana Jones and archaeology exhibition in Montreal

See here for a CNN article about an exhibition that is opening in Montreal on the effect that the Indiana Jones movies had on archaeology. As I’ve written before, I could not agree with this more!

And yes, as I’ve said many times before, real archaeology is MUCH more dangerous than it seems in the movies :-)


Thomas Römer lecture series at TAU

The following announcement has been sent out by Oded Lipschitz of TAU, regarding an very interesting lecture series by Thomas Römer, one of the leading biblical scholars in the world today, that will be held at TAU in the month of May. It should be VERY interesting.

Here is the notice:

The Ancient Israel Studies program of the Department of Archaeology
and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, Tel Aviv University, will host a
three-meeting open Scholarly Seminar on

Current Deliberations and New Developments in Biblical Studies

With the participation of Prof. Thomas Römer (Collège de France and
the University of Lausanne), the 2010-2011 Sackler Institute of
Advanced Studies Scholar, Tel Aviv University.

The first meeting will take place on Wednesday, May 4, 18:15 – 19:15
Tel Aviv Campus, Gilman Building, Room 449
Topic: The Rise of Deuteronomistic History – The Current Debate on the
Origin of the Books of Deuteronomy through Kings
Discussion – 19:15-19:45

The second meeting will take place on Sunday, May 15, 18:15 – 19:15
Tel Aviv Campus, Gilman Building, Room 318a
Topic: New Perspectives on the Formation of the Pentateuch – The Case
of the Book of Numbers
Discussion – 19:15-19:45

The third meeting will take place on Wednesday, May 18, 18:15 – 19:15
Tel Aviv Campus, Gilman Building 449
Topic: Older (Pre-exilic) Traditions in the Torah – The Case of the
Patriarchal and Mosaic Traditions
Discussion – 19:15-19:45


Lab talk – Hoo-Goo Kang on impressed handles from Kh. Qeiyafeh

Today, we had the first of this academic year’s Tuesday morning lab talks. We had the opportunity to hear Hoo-Goo Kang, a PhD student of Yossi Garfinkel at Hebrew University, who is working on the Iron Age pottery from Kh. Qeiyafa, talk about the very interesting large collection of jar handles with a finger-like impression on them.
This phenomenon, which although known from other site is quite unique at Qeiyafa due to the large quantity of such handles, the date, and the possible meaning (perhaps hinting to some sort of bureaucratic structure), is very interesting and thought-provoking find.
Clearly, I won’t go into the details of his presentation so that he can publish it fully in the manner which he prefers, but it definitely is an important cultural facet of the early Iron Age Shephelah.

Here is Hoo-Goo giving his talk


Call for applications for field school in archaeological science

The following call for applications for the 2009 field school in archaeological science (see reports on last year’s field school, here and here, and general information here), to be held as part of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project’s upcoming season has been published.

Here is a nice picture of the archaeological science field school as it looks in the excavation area and how it is integrated into the regular field work of the project

And here’s a picture of some of the field office lab facilities in which results are analyzed in the afternoon/evening, after the day’s work in the field

See below for the full text of the call:
Continue reading “Call for applications for field school in archaeological science”

Tell es-Safi/Gath in the list of this year’s most important finds in Biblical Archaeology

Todd Bollen, who runs an excellent blog and website on biblical studies and biblical archaeology related issues, has compiled a list of the 8 most important finds in biblical archaeology for this year.

Number 2 on the list is Tell es-Safi/Gath. What is particularly nice is that Todd places the Tell es-Safi/Gath excavations in the list, not on the basis of this or that particular find, but based on the overall finds and general contibution that the Tell es-Safi/Gath excavations has provided on a wide variety of issues.

Thanks Todd!!
Continue reading “Tell es-Safi/Gath in the list of this year’s most important finds in Biblical Archaeology”

Tell es-Safi/Gath in the new B.A.R. issue

The January/February 2009 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review has appeared, and although I have not yet received my printed copy, much of it has appeared online. This is, apparently, the “Dig Issue” – which in addition to the regular articles, has a list of the digs that will take place this summer. Clearly, this is an important issue for all those interested in joining a dig in the summer, and needless to say, for those of us who want the volunteers to join a specific dig … (YES! do join our team at Tell es-Safi/Gath!!!).

In any case, from what I have seen online, Tell es-Safi/Gath has made it into this BAR issue in at least two places.

The first is in the article about high-tech archaeology, which includes not only several pictures of the people digging at Tell es-Safi/Gath, but also has a very nice small section about the archaeological science work going on at the dig, and in particular, the field labs that we have on site (discussing some of the importance of this unique feature) and the similarly unique field school in archaeological science (which is conducted on site, along with our “regular” field school in field archaeology).

In addition, there is a very nice piece about one of our volunteers from last year, Yvonne Oleson, who received a grant from the BAS to join the dig. In a very nice piece, “Vonnie”, who joined the dig along with her husband Ole, describes her experiences at the dig, which seem to have been very positive…
Continue reading “Tell es-Safi/Gath in the new B.A.R. issue”

100,000 visitors!

Today, the 100,000 websurfer visited the blog. Although I would like to offer the lucky person a life-time free entry to the Tel Zafit national park (which is free anyway …), I don’t know who it is, so anyone who surfed to the site today can think it was him/her…

And by the way, do you realize what this says about what SO MANY people have to do with their free time on a regular basis?

Here’s the staff (end of 2002 season) looking towards to future…

Continue reading “100,000 visitors!”

Dr. Uziel!!!

Just got the great news that Joe Uziel, long time member of the Safi staff and currently, the Area Supervisor of Area D (the lower city), has just had his PhD cofirmed, and so, as of now, he may be officially be called Dr. Uziel!!

Joe’s thesis, which is entitled: The Southern Coastal Plain of Canaan During the Middle Bronze Age (Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, 2008), is a regional study of the Southern Coastal Plain of Canaan during the Middle Bronze Age (ca. 2000-1550 BCE), based on previous studies (excavations and surveys) of the regions and the publication of the MB finds from two previously unpublished excavations – Tel Nagila and Tel Yavneh Yam. Joe carried out an in-depth analysis of the material culture, settlement pattern and political structure, and I believe produced a study that will be of much importance for anyone studying the coastal plain in general, and the Land of Israel during the MB.
Continue reading “Dr. Uziel!!!”

Vandalism on Tell es-Safi/Gath!!!

Yesterday I found out that some @#$%^&* unknown delinquents seriously vandalized the new signs and outlooks that were set up at Tell es-Safi/Gath by the Nature and Parks Authority!!! Here is an article (in Hebrew) on the results of this horrible event with some pictures.

I do hope that these @#$%^& villains will be caught and punished.

Continue reading “Vandalism on Tell es-Safi/Gath!!!”

The Genetics of the Druze population – very interesting

One of the most fascinating, and probably promising avenues for the study of human antiquity is the study of ancient human genetics. These studies have opened up fanstastic windows to the past, relating to diverse aspects such as unique populations groups, origin of modern humans, development of language, etc (see an example of these studies here and here). As usual, along with the interesting and important studies, there has been a lot of “bunk”, which some of you may have already come across..

In recent years there has been quite an intense ongoing discussion, and debate, regarding studies on the genetic origins of the jews and other related populations. In fact, even Nadia Abu el-Haj (know from other aspects) has been involved in this … (see some of these discussions, here and here). Also in this case, a lot of good science, and lot of very bad science, has been intertwined …

Just now, a fascinating study on the genetics of the Druze has just appeared (and summarized briefly here), which demonstrates that they are a unique, and very old “genetic refuge” – which offers a fascinating glimpse of the genetic makeup of the near east thousand of years ago.

Continue reading “The Genetics of the Druze population – very interesting”