New volume on Arameans

The proceedings of the 1st Annual Conference of the RIAB Minerva Center has just been published, with various papers relating to a broad range of issues on the Arameans and beyond, including a few papers on issues relating to Tell es-Safi/Gath (including a paper by Adi, Vanessa and Amit on the metallurgy in Area D!).

The full volume is entitled:

Berlejung, A., and Maeir, A. M., eds. 2019. Research on Israel and Aram: Autonomy, Interdependence and Related Issues. Proceedings of the First Annual RIAB Center Conference, Leipzig, June 2016. Research on Israel and Aram in Biblical Times (RIAB), Vol. 1. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

For more details, go here.

Brent Davis’ lecture at Melbourne

Dr. Brent Davis (Melbourne) is a long-time core staff member of the Safi project and currently directs the excavations in Area B in the eastern Lower City.

Recently, Brent was given the honor to present the annual Marion Adams Memorial Lecture at the University of Melbourne (which I also gave a few years ago – see here).

For the poster on the lecture – see here: Brent Davis 2019 Marion Adams Lecture

For a link to a video of the lecture – go here.

And for an article summarizing it- go here.

Way to go Brent!!

Monumentality in the Landscape conference

This Thursday, October 31, 2019, a very interesting conference will be held at Ariel University – “Monumentality in the Landscape”. The conference will deals with various manifestations of monumental architecture in the ancient Land of Israel. There will be a paper on the botanical remains in the Area D temple in the lower city of Tell es-Safi/Gath (presented by Sue Frumin), and a paper on Dolmens in the Levant by Kristina Read (from the Safi team).

Here’s the full schedule – should be very interesting:

Monumentality conference_Ariel Oct 31_2019

A toast (with ancient mead) for the beginning of the academic year!

Today, we got together in the lab to raise a toast for the beginning of the academic year, and to “kick start” this year’s work in the lab.

Since I was not allowed to give some to President Rivlin during his visit to BIU, we utilized the meeting to drink from the bottle of mead (honey wine) made from ancient yeast found at Ramat Rachel (5th cent. BCE), as part of the ancient yeast project.

Lechaim! Or, as Jiang told us today – Gānbēi (cheers in Chinese)!


More pictures from President Rivlin’s visit to BIU

As noted previously, on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, President Reuben (Rubi) Rivlin visited BIU and among other things, I presented to him finds and applications from the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project.

Here are some more pictures from the event. Notice how I present to the president a bottle of mead (honey wine) that was made in the ancient yeast project, and our new “toy” – a DJI Matrix M600 drone with a LiDAR sensor!


The President of Israel, Mr. Reuven (Rubi) Rivlin visits BIU and hears about the Safi project!

Today, to mark the opening of the academic year at BIU (and at other academic institutions in Israel), the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Reuven (Rubi) Rivlin visited BIU. As part of the visit, three flagship projects were demonstrated to him – and one of them was the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project!

We (the Safi staff) set up a nice display of finds and technological applications used in the project, including drones (including the new meg-drone with the LIDAR on it), LIDAR, hXRF, 3D models, etc., along with various finds.  I talked to him about the various High Tech applications that we use in the project, and how, to a large extent, archaeology in Israel is very much part of the “Startup Nation” atmosphere  (and that we do so many really cool, cutting edge things in the study of the past). To demonstrate this, I showed the president several applications and finds, including one of the beer vessels from which we managed to isolate ancient yeast. We even prepared a bottle of ancient mead, but were told that he would not be able to taste it.

Here, I’m (to the right) explaining to President Rivlin (forefront left) about the beer jug from Safi, with (in the background) Prof. Arieh Zaban (president of BIU; next to me) and Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats,  Chairman of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Israel Council for Higher Education (in the middle) and Mr. Shlomo Zohar, Chairman of the Council of Trustees of BIU (next to President Rivlin).