3D model of Persian Period Phoenician mask from Achziv!

So Noam is continuing to print 3D models of cool objects. Here are pictures of a Phoenician mask from the Persian period at Achziv, which we made a 3D model from the item in the Israel Museum, for the MOOC on biblical archaeolgy.

Check it out (it’s about half the size of the original object):

Blessings for the new year – ברכות לשנה החדשה

This Friday night marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), and the traditional blessing is “Shana Tova u-Metuka” (have a good and sweet year).

In light of the rather difficult year that we have all been through, I thought it would be good to add a prayer that is traditionally said on the holiday (part of the Avinu Malkenu prayer):

אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ מְנַע מַגֵּפָה מִנַּחֲלָתֶךָ – which translated into English is: Our Father, our King, withhold the plague from your inheritance.

Wishing you all a safe, healthy, happy and productive year, a year in which all of us, across the world, will rebuild all our communities, friendships, health and well-being!

Aren and the Safi team!




The real function of the Ashdoda figurine

The so-called “Ashdoda” (“the ‘doda’ [aunt] from Ashdod” in Hebrew, as it was first found in the Ashdod excavations) figurine is one of the better known cultic items of the Philistine material culture. The very interesting combination of local and non-local attributes, Aegean and Levantine) make it very unique.

There have been many suggestions on it’s meaning and function.

Now, with the 3D printer in the lab, Noam was able to print a model of an Ashdoda figurine, along with the beautiful two headed bird chalice from Safi!


Once the Ashdoda model was printed, it became obvious that previous scholarship had not sufficiently considered all possible functional interpretations.

See below Noam’s new suggestion!

I see a whole new line of accessories here! Perhaps, we can call this “iPhilistia”! :-)


Sea Peoples, or not?

See attached the Hebrew and English versions of an article by the indefatigable Nir Hasson, that appeared today in Haaretz, about my attempt (so far unsuccessful…) to get access to information on sunken ships in the Leviathan Natural Gas Field, off the the northern coast of Israel (in Israel’s economic waters).

Without getting into more details, this is a complicated and interest-laden story…

As I see it, I’m just exercising the Sea People’s rights…:-)

Dates for the 2021 season – July 4-30, 2021

Although we are all still somewhat disappointed that the 2020 excavation season didn’t materialize, due to the Corona Crisis, we are all hopeful that by next summer, things, throughout the world will have improved, and travel and summer programs will once again be possible.

In light of this, we have set the dates for the excavation season in 2021:

From Sunday, July 4th, until Friday, July 30th, 2021!

So pencil in these dates in your calendars – and we hope to see you all on the team in just under a year!

New Nick Barksdale video interview is out!

The next installment of my video interview with Nick Barksdale is out. This time, we talk about ancient DNA and other scientific analyses relating to the Philistines.

Check out!

For the other parts of the interview that already appeared, go here.

P.S. Since many people of have been watching the installments of the interview, and quite a few questions have been asked, Nick and I made up that at the end, we’ll conduct another interview in which I can answer some of the major questions that have been raised!

Visit to Azekah!

Today, I had the pleasure and honor to visit the excavations at Azekah, led by Oded Lipschits, one of the few excavations running this summer. As Gath’s neighbor (even if a pipsqueek in comparison…;-), it was great to see the truly fascinating finds, from the MB, LB, and Iron Age, that they are excavating this season.

Itzik Shai, director of the Burna excavations joined me on the visit.

Thanks Oded!