Sneak peak: Objectives of the 2018 season

With just a week to go before the 2018 season starts, here is a short overview of the objectives of the upcoming season.

To start with, this will be first season, since the very beginning of the project (in 1996), where our excavations will focus solely on the lower city. For now, all the excavation areas in the upper city have been closed. That said, there is a good chance that we will return for a short season in Area F during the spring of 2019, to check out a very specific issue that is remains unanswered.

We will have a nice sized team this year, and in the 2nd and 3rd weeks we will be close to 100 team members working on site. This includes participants from all over the world – archaeologists, students and volunteers. Go team!

In the lower city, we will be excavating in three areas:

Area D East: We will continue excavating in the eastern part of Area D, where we believe that we have found the city gate. Jeff Chadwick will be taking over as field director of the area, following several years that this area was expertly directed by Amit Dagan.

Two new areas will be opened in the lower city, based on the results of the magnetometry survey that Andy Creekmore and his team conducted last year. And in fact, this survey showed some very interesting anomalies in the parts of the lower city between Area D in the west and Area K in the east.

Area M: Will be directed by Maria Eniukhina, and will focus on a location in which the remote sensing indicates that there may be buildings and/or streets.

Area Y: Will be directed by Jill Katz, and will focus on what looks like, based on the remote sensing, a large building with several rooms, with apparent evidence of high temperature fires.

It must be stressed that these assessments are based on the remote sensing – and clearly, only after we start excavating, will we be able to say what in fact will be found in these new areas. I believe this will be VERY interesting, and based on the the stratigraphy in other parts of the lower city, there are good chances that the Iron Age remains are very close to surface!

In addition to this, there are three other things that are planned:

* Additional remote sensing (Ground Penetrating Radar [GPR] and perhaps magnetometry) in the lower city, that will be carried out by Andy and his team in the last week of the season. This will supplement and expand on the remote sensing conducted last season, and in particular, compare between two remote sensing methods (GPR and magnetometry).

* Some very specific probes will be conducted in Area D West by Vanessa Workma, to check out some details relating to the Iron IIA metal production zone.

* Check out and plan for the possible small-scale spring season to be carried out in Area F, to conduct a limited probe into the MB and EB levels.

To this we can add that we will be trying out some new equipment (toys…) this season, including our new drones, a GoPro camera, and related hardware and software.

All told – I believe we going to have a great season – with lots of finds and LOTS of fun.

No less important – I will continually update throughout the season.



Newspaper article about one of the volunteer team members!

John Stringer, a team member for the 2018 season, who is joining us from New Zealand, sent me a newspaper article that appeared down under, which tells of his upcoming participation in the dig!

Nice article – even if a little inaccurate in some of the details (e.g. – we DID NOT find Goliath’s tomb…), but they did spell John’s name correctly! :-)

Water puddles at Tell es-Safi/Gath in mid-June!

Today, I was on site, guiding a group and came upon something that I have not seen in the 25 odd years I’ve been hanging around Tell es-Safi/Gath.

Yesterday and today, there was quite an unusual rain event throughout the country – and there were several impressive rain showers.

When I got to the tell, the dirt roads near the tell were muddy and with puddles. And, when I got to the tell, there were actual puddles on the dirt road next to Area D in the lower city! Remember – this is mid-June and in most years, the last rains were over in April or early May!

This really is something extraordinary – and hopefully, will be good for the new areas that we are opening – in that the topsoil won’t be very dry and hard.

Here’s a picture so that you believe me:

Some pre-season work at the tell

Yesterday (Thursday, June 7th), Louise, Maria, Vanessa and me went out to the tell, to do some work at the tell. This included: measuring worked masonry in several areas (Louise), and trying to set up the points in the two new areas (M and Y) in the lower city, and most importantly, getting used to some of our new equipment (or as some would say, having a chance to play with some new toys) – a GoPro (Hero 6 Black with a really nice gimbel grip) and a Mavic Pro drone.

Louise got a lot done, the measuring didn’t work out since someone destroyed our GPS base point that survived from last year (until just a week ago!), and we definitely managed to try out/play with our new equipment/toys…:-)

Here are a few pictures:


Lecture, field trip and other “extra-excavation” activities for the 2018 season

See below a link to the schedule of the lectures, field trips and other “extra-excavation” activities that we will have in the 2018 season – which is starting is less than 3 weeks! It’s going to be great!

Lecture schedule 2018

Needless to say – this is a basis for change…