Delegation of All-China Youth Federation visits the lab

Today, we hosted a delegation of the “All-China Youth Federation” in the lab, coordinated by Dr. Danielle Gurevitch, of BIU. The All-China Youth Federation is a government organization that coordinates most of the foreign programs and activities of Chinese students outside of China.

During the visit, I explained to them about the excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath and showed and explained to them about some of the finds. In addition, we discussed the possibility of having Chinese students join us in the dig (and also the possibility of Israeli students participating in archaeological excavations in China!).

Here’s a few pictures of the visit:


Philipp Stockhammer and Louise Hitchcock at the lab

Today, we had a very interesting visit to the Tell es-Safi/Gath lab. Dr. Philipp Stockhammer, from Heidelberg University, an expert on Mycenaean pottery (and who works on the pottery from Tiryns, Greece), came to the lab to look at the LB and Iron I pottery from Tell es-Safi/Gath. Along with him came Louise Hitchcock, who is already a full team member of the Safi team, but wanted to see some of the materials in lab.

The visit was very important, and interesting, as their was some fascinating discussions on the relevant pottery (local and imported pottery of the LB and Iron Age, and in particular, the Aegean and Aegeanizing pottery from these period). Philipp, with this extensive experience with Aegean pottery had several important observations on the finds from Safi.

Joe Uziel was in the lab and explained about the LB pottery, and Alex Zukerman explained about the Iron I pottery.

All told, a very interesting afternoon.


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:
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Special issue of IJES – Archaeological Science in Israel

Today, the special issue of the Israel Journal of Earth Sciences (56 (2-4): 2007) dedicated to “Archaeological Science in Israel” has appeared. This triple issue, which was edited by Elisabetta Boaretto, Ruth Shahack-Gross, Sariel Shalev, Ehud Weiss and Steve Weiner, contains a collection of articles that summarize what’s happening in Israel in some of the main fields of archaeological science (see table of contents here).
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Bi-weekly lab talk on Kfar Menachem site

This last monday, Amit Dagan, one of the regular Safi staff, and graduate student at Bar-Ilan University, gave a talk about his MA thesis research, one of the regular bi-weekly talks at the lab.

Amit is researching and will publish the finds from a small site that is located about 1.6 km to the east of Tell es-Safi/Gath, which was excavated about 5 years ago by Yigal Yisraeli of the Israel Antiquities Authority. This site is apparently a small rural site dating to the Iron IIB (ca. 8th cent. BCE).

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Profs. Trude Dothan and Ephraim Stern visit the Safi lab

Yesterday, 3/3, I had a busy day. Later in the afternoon I participated in the ceremonial opening of the National Park at Tell es-Safi, and I’ll write about this (and show some pictures) in another post.

Earlier that day, we had a visit to the lab by Prof. Trude Dothan, the grand madam of Philistine studies, and co-director of the Tel Miqne-Ekron excavation project, and Prof. Ephraim Stern, the former director of the excavations of Dor. They came to the lab to see the finds from the recent season, and in particular, the finds from the cultic corner in Area A which we discovered in the previous season.

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Evidence of the Lost Tribes in Antartica?

Actually no! But nevertheless, today, we had a great talk at the lab, as part of the bi-weekly lab talks, by Dr. Rafi Netzer, about his recent trip to the Southern Atlantic Ocean and the Antartica. Rafi, who has a PhD in ecology, showed absolutely fantastic pictures of the scenery and wildlife that he saw on the trip, and talked about the very interesting logistics of the trip, the geography of this fascinating zone, and the ecological and biological background.

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A chronological note

For the few of you who do not yet know, tomorrow, March 18th, is my 50th birthday! As of tomorrow, I am officially “over the hill”!

In addition to the absolutely fantastic surprise b-day party that my wife made for me on Saturday night, today, past and present members of the Safi team got together in the Safi lab to have a toast for by b-day, AND, present me with the Table of Contents of a volume that was put together to celebrate the occassion, entitled “Tell it in Gath,” with articles (mostly, but not only, on aspects related to Safi and/or the Philistines) written by 20 people who are connected with the Safi project, which hopefully will be published in the not-to-distant future.
What a fantastic b-day present!

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Two noteworthy events: Shira’s B-day and Alex gives a talk

Yesterday (10/2/08) we had two noteworthy events in the lab.

The first one is that we celebrated Shira’s b-day (I believe she was 18 years old … :-), and here is a picture of her happinly cutting her b-day cake.

image_00011.jpg Shira and her cake

Following that event, Alex gave a very interesting talk about problems and issues relating to the publication of archaeological excavations. This is VERY relevant to what all of us on the Safi staff have and will continue working on for a long time, how to publish, in the most efficient but meaningful manner, the finds from an archaeological excavation. In particular, he discussed the problematic issues of the different emphases that can be placed on stratigraphic and/or architectural analysis, and how this effects the character of the archaeological report. He also discussed the very well-known, but extremely complicated issue of why and how we make typologies of various classes of archaeological finds – in particular relating to pottery.

image_00012.jpg Alex – enthusiastically waiting to start his lecture …

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Lab meeting – Joe talks about MB II settlement patterns

Yesterday (Monday, 21/1/08) we had one of the bi-weekly lab meetings with a presentation. This time, Joe Uziel (see mentioned here), long-time member of the Safi team (and someone who used to contribute regularly to the blog …) talked about one of the chapters of his soon to be completed PhD, which deals with the Southern Coastal Plain of Israel during the Middle Bronze Age II.

Specifically, he spoke about various aspects of the settlement pattern during the various phases of this period. Among other things, he showed some very interesting patterns that one can see before, during and after the MB II, distinct regional groupings of sites, and some very interesting connections between settlement and cemetery locations and the relationship between sites and various natural features.

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