Visit to Safi with a film crew

This Friday (March 24th, 2017) I was again at the tell, this time with a German film crew. The documentary team, from “Spiegel TV”, was filming a chapter of a very interesting program for the German public TV channel ZDF. The program, “Zeitreise“ (“Timeline“ in English) deals with the general world history, each time dealing with a different time period, with views from different places and cultures throughout the world (see here on the chapter on the year “0”).

The filming at Safi was part of a chapter that will deal with 1000 BCE. In Israel, they have chosen the topic of David and Goliath and the Philistines and the Israelites, and are filming at Safi and Jerusalem. Other parts of this chapter will be filmed in the Pacific, dealing with the Lapita culture, and in Mesoamerica dealing with the Olmec culture, as well as other places in Europe and the world.

The archaeological host of the program is Prof. Matthias Wemhoff, who is the director of the Museum fuer Vor- and Fruegeschichte in Berlin (which as you may know is an astounding museum!). So in addition to it all, it was very interesting to get to meet and discuss various issues with Prof. Wemhoff!

Here are a couple pictures of the crew filming Prof. Wemhoff talking about the 10th cent. in Area F. In addition, see the 360 degree video that I took in Area F Upper. From the pictures and the film, you can see how green the site is at this time of the year – especially for those of you who only get to see it in the summer – when everything, more or less, is dry and brown.

Here is the clip:

And here are the photos:




Vist to Safi for development planning

Today, I visited Safi with a very special group of representatives from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA), to do some initial planning, brainstorming and discussions about future plans to develop the cultural heritage potential at the site. This particularly important in light of two possible substantial sources that may fund this.

We discussed the possibilities for heritage development for the lower city, in relationship to the siege system to the east of the tell, and on the tell in general (especially at the summit). There is a lot of more work to do, but it was a very productive meeting.

It was nice being on site. Everything was green – and the flowers and birds were out in droves. We saw 3-4 Imperial Eagles (Aquila heliaca), the usual gaggles of Western Jackdaws (Corvus monedula), and a few Common Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus). It was especially nice to see how, every time the Eagles came near the   jackdaws and kestrels, the smaller birds went up to intercept the Eagles and chase them away. Sort of looked liked WW II movie of fighters intercepting bombers…

And on the way out, we saw a couple of Little Owls (Athene noctua), a very common Safi inhabitant (see the picture below).

As I was on site with the INPA people, I saw how they use their online biological reporting system. Very cool! The wardens have on their smartphones an application thru which they can report, online, live, a sighting of any fauna or flora, with an exact xyz coordinate, which is automatically uploaded to the INPA data base!

Here are two pictures from the visit:

43rd Annual Archaeological Congress in Israel: 6th of April 2017, with 3 Safi presentations!

On April 6th, 2017, the 43rd Annual Archaeological Congress in Israel will be held at the He brew University (Mt. Scopus Campus, Rabin Building).

This will be a full day of very interesting lectures, including 3 by Safi team members: 1) I’ll be talking about new finds at Safi in the last few seasons; 2) Amit, Maria and I will be presenting on cult and temples at Tell es-Safi/Gath of the Philistines; 3) And Adi will be talking about steel production in the Iron Age.

Should be very interesting!

Check out the conference’s program here.


As previously posted, next week, on March 15th-16th, 2017, there will be a very interesting conference at Tel Aviv University.

Here is the detailed schedule:

The Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University 
is pleased to announce the Annual Aharoni Symposium

From Nomadism to Monarchy? “The Archaeology of the Settlement Period”– 30 Years Later

WednesdayThursday, March 15–16, 2017
Room 223, Gilman Building, Tel Aviv University

12:45 Gathering
13:00 Welcome and Introduction
Oded Lipschits, Omer Sergi, and Ido Koch (Tel Aviv University)

Session Chair: Ido Koch (Tel Aviv University)
13:15 Philistines, Canaanites and Egyptians: The Early 12th Century BCE Revisited
Shirly Ben-Dor Evian (The Israel Museum, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University)
13:40 Settlement Oscillations in the Southern Levant in Light of Climate Changes
Dafna Langgut (Tel Aviv University)
14:05 Notes on Scribal Practices in the Early Iron II
David Vanderhooft (Boston College)
14:30 Break

Session Chair: Omer Sergi (Tel Aviv University)
15:00 The Book of Josiah or the Book of Joshua? Excavating the Literary History of the Story of the Conquest
Cynthia Edenburg (Open University of Israel)
15:25 Geographical Observations on the Old North Israelite Tales in Judges
Oded Lipschits (Tel Aviv University)
15:50 The Role of the Ark in the Conquest Accounts and in the Book of Samuel
Thomas Römer (Collège de France and University of Lausanne)
16:15 Coffee Break

Session Chair: Yuval Gadot (Tel Aviv University)
16:45 Under Hazor’s Shadow: The Upper Jordan Valley in the Iron I
Assaf Kleiman (Tel Aviv University)
17:10 Sixty Years after Aharoni: A New Look at the Iron Age I Settlement in the Upper Galilee
Ido Wachtel (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
17:35 The Early Iron Age in the Northern Coastal Plain (Western Galilee)
Gunnar Lehmann (Ben Gurion University of the Negev)
18:00 Canaanites in a Changing World: The Jezreel Valley during the Iron I
Eran Arie (The Israel Museum, Jerusalem)
11:45 Gathering

Session Chair: David Vanderhooft (Boston College)
12:00 An Untold Story: The Human-like Figures and the Snake on an Architectural Model from Beth-Shean’s Northern Temple
Tallay Ornan (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
12:25 Late Bronze/Iron Age Animal Economy – Continuity vs. Change
Lidar Sapir-Hen (Tel Aviv University)
12:50 Production Autonomy to Centralization: The Iron I-IIA Transition from a Metallurgical Perspective
Naama Yahalom-Mack (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
13:15 Break
Session Chair: Dafna Langgut (Tel Aviv University)
13:45 The Iron I Settlement of Tall ZirāꜤa in Northern Jordan: Transitions between the Late Bronze Age and the Iron II
Dieter Vieweger (German Protestant Institute of Archaeology Jerusalem and Amman [DEI], University of Wuppertal [BU])
14:10 From Communities to Kingdoms across Western Jordan: Tracing Uneven Trajectories of Development
Benjamin Porter (University of California, Berkeley)
14:35 A False Contrast? On the Possibility of Nomadic Monarchy in the Iron I Arabah (Early Edom) in Light of Recent Research
Erez Ben-Yosef (Tel Aviv University)
15:00 Coffee Break

Session Chair: Erez Ben-Yosef (Tel Aviv University)
15:30 Societal Transformations in Southwest Canaan during the Late Second Millennium BCE
Ido Koch (Tel Aviv University)
15:55 Like Frogs out of a Pond: Identity Formation in Early Iron Age Philistia and Beyond
Aren Maeir (Bar Ilan University)
16:20 The Many Beginnings of Israel: An Archaeological and Historical Perspective from the Central Canaanite Hill Country
Omer Sergi (Tel Aviv University)
16:45 Were There Israelites? The Demographic, Cultural and Political Change of the Iron I “Highlanders”
Yuval Gadot (Tel Aviv University)
17:10 Break

Session Chair: Oded Lipschits (Tel Aviv University)
17:40 Greetings and Awarding of Scholarships
Leo Corry, Dean, The Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities, Tel Aviv University
Ran Barkai, Chair, The Jacob M. Alkow Department of Archeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, Tel Aviv University
Oded Lipschits, Director, The Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University
18:10 The Rise of the Israelite Monarchy in Retrospective
Nadav Na’aman (Tel Aviv University)
18:40 The Rise of Ancient Israel: The Need for Revision on Almost Every Front
Israel Finkelstein (Tel Aviv University)