New article on the chronology of the LB/Iron Age transition

A new article (see here), a joint effort of several colleagues, which deals with the 14C chronology of the transition between the LB and Iron Age at Tell es-Safi/Gath, Qubur el-Walaydah and Megiddo, has just been published.
In this study, we argue that the the transition between the LB and Iron Age age commenced earlier than usually assumed (already in the 13th cent. BCE). In addition, we suggest that: a) it was a protracted process; b) it probably commenced earlier in southern than in northern Canaan; c) a methodological framework for comparing chronologies between sites over a relatively large region.
The article is a response to Israel Finkelstein’s response on an earlier article of ours – who has recently even published a second response…:-)
The full title is:
Boaretto, E., Asscher, Y., Hitchcock, L. A., Lehmann, G., Maeir, A. M., and Weiner, S. 2018. The Chronology of the Late Bronze (LB)-Iron Age (IA) Transition in the Southern Levant: A Response to Israel Finkelstein’s Paper. Radiocarbon. DOI:10.1017/RDC.2018.57
I do hope you will find this of interest – and that it will generate continuing discussion and debate! And I’m sure – not all will agree with our views! :-)

Safi related stuff at the Annual ASOR meeting, Denver, Nov. 2018

The annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) was held in Denver on Nov. 14-17, 2018.

As in previous years, there was quite a lot of Safi related things going on at the meeting, including various presentations, posters, and special session in honor of the Festschrift for Aren’s 60th birthday, and an event in which, among other things, the P. E. MacAllister Field Archaeology Award, for outstanding contributions to ancient Near Eastern and Eastern Mediterranean archaeology, was given to Aren. Some of Safi crew got together for a very nice supper, and in addition, Jeff, Aren and Amanda popped over to visit the Colorado Christian University campus, and were hosted by Dr. David Kotter, Dr. Seth Rodriquez, Dr. and Mrs. Usrey, Melissa Johnson and Josephine Geisler

The following Safi related presentations were given:

Aren presented an update on the 2018 season of excavations at Safi – “The 2018 Excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath: Overview of the Results.”

Debi Cassuto presented two papers – one on the connection between cult and weaving at Safi (“Tying Up Loose Ends: Weaving and Cult in the Southern Levant”), and one, jointly with Margaret Cohen, on the connection between cult and weaving at Safi and Megiddo.

Andy Creekmore gave a paper on the magnetometric remote sensing at Tell es-Safi/Gath, and how it helped identify sub-surface features – some of them then excavated in the 2018 season – “A Magnetometry Study of the Philistine City of Gath”.

Liz Arnold et al. gave a great paper on isotopic analyses of additional sacrificial donkeys from the EB levels at Safi – showing that 4 donkeys were imported from Egypt – “Isotopic Analyses of Donkey Burials under the EB III House Floors in the Early Bronze Age City of Tell es-Safi”.

Haskel Greenfield et al. gave a talk on household archaeology in the EB levels at Tell es-Safi/Gath – “Houses and Households in the Early Bronze Age of the Southern Levant: Recent Research at Tell es-Safi/Gath”.

Eric Welch gave an interesting talk about the ideology behind Bliss and Macalister’s reporting at Tell es-Safi/Gath – “Ignorance is Bliss or Was Bliss Ignorant? Contextualizing the Culturally Biased Conclusions of the 1899 Palestine Exploration Fund Expedition to Tell es-Safi.”

Will Krieger gave a talk: “The Evolution of Theory and Methods in Philistine Archaeology,” comparing the work at Miqne-Ekron and Tell es-Safi/Gath.

Maddi Harris-Schober gave a talk on cultic architecture in the Levant, with a focus on finds from Safi – “They Practice Divination Like the Philistines! A Re-Analysis of Cultic and Ritual Architecture of the Southern Levant.”

The following posters were presented:

Jeremy Beller et al. presented “Stones in Homes: The Spatial Distribution and Use of Ground Stone Objects at EB III Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel”

Annie Brown et al. presented “Spatial Representation of Heavy Fraction Collection and Analysis from Tell esSafi/Gath, Israel”

Tiffany Okaluk et al. presented “Urban vs. Rural Butchery Practices in the Early Bronze Age: A Comparison of Butchering Technology between Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel, and Göltepe, Turkey”

Sarah Richardson et al. presented “Who? What? Where? Understanding the Population, Their Household Organization, and Activities through Bone Tool Use at Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel”

Here are some pictures of the various events, lectures and activities! It was really great seeing all the Safi team! And if I may add, it was nice to see former Safiites who moved on to conduct research at other sites as well!


MOOC on Biblical Archaeology – registration is open!

As previously noted, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) by Aren entitled: “Biblical Archaeology: The Archaeology of Ancient Israel and Judah” is about to go online thru the EdX platform. The course is planned to start on December 5th, 2018.

As of this week, the registration for the course has opened! So those interested in taking this course (for free if one audits it), you can register for the course right now! Here is the link.

Try it out!


Workshop on Palace-Clan relations in the ancient near east – 12-13 December 2018

The Minerva Center for the Relations between Israel and Aram in Biblical Times will conduct a research colloquium on “Palace-Clan Relations in their Ancient Near Eastern Context” will be held on the 12–13 November 2018, at the Universität Leipzig, Campus Augustusplatz in the Neues Seminargebäude, Room S 203

Here is the schedule:

Monday, November 12th

14.00 Gathering, Coffee and Refreshments

14.30 Greetings and Introduction, Angelika Berlejung, Aren Maeir, Omer Sergi.

15.00 First Session: Palace-Clan Relations in Second and First Millennium BCE Mesopotamia

Brit Kärger, Universität Göttingen, Threats, Manslaughter and Gifts: Some Aspects of Political Control in the Kingdom of Mari in 2nd Millennium B.C.

Jacob Jan de-Ridder, Universität Leipzig, Family Companies and the Palace in Kültepe

16.30 Coffee Break

17.00 First Session – Continuation

Aaron Schmitt, Universität Mainz, Kinship and Palace-Clan Relations in Assyria during the Middle and Neo-Assyrian Periods: The Stela Site at Assur as a Case Study

19.00 Dinner

Tuesday, November 13th

08.45 Gathering

09.00 Second Session: Palace-Clan Relations in Judah and in Israel

Aren Maeir, Bar-Ilan University, Palace-Clan Relations in Iron Age Judah: What do we know? What can we assume?

Hannes Bezzel, Universität Jena, Beth Saul–Beth David–Beth Judah–Beth Israel: A Bipolar, Triangular or Quadrangular Relationship?

10.30 Coffee Break

11.00 Second Session – Continuation

Henrik Pfeifer, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, The Story of Ehud and the ‘Book of Saviors’

Assaf Kleiman, Tel Aviv University, Storage Jars, Inscriptions and Stamp Impressions: An Archaeological Perspective on Palace-Clan Relations in the Kingdom of Israel.

12.30 Lunch Break

14.00 Third Session: Archaeological and Historical Test Case in the Jezreel Valley, Israel

Karen Covallo-Paran, Israel Antiquities Authority, Ḥorvat Tevet in the Jezreel Valley as a Test Case for Palace-Clan Relations in Omride Israel.

Omer Sergi, Tel Aviv University, Palace Clan Relations in the Kingdom of Israel and the Case of the Tribe of Issachar.

15.30 Coffee Break

16.00 Concluding Discussion

Workshop on votive offering in the Bronze and Iron Ages – Dec. 19, 2018

On December 19, 2018, the Minerva Center for the Relations between Israel and Aram in Biblical Times will conduct a workshop on votive objects in the the Late Bronze and Iron Age Levant.

Here are the details of the workshop:

“Votive offerings in Ancient Israel, Aram and Surrounding Cultures”

The workshop will be held on Wednesday, December 19, 2018, at the Laboratory of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project and the RIAB Minerva Center, located in the basement of the Judaic Studies Faculty Building (#410), Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan.


8:00-8:30           Gathering and refreshments

8:30-9:15           Angelika Berlejung (Leipzig) – “Gifts for life”: Votive offerings in Ancient Israel

9:15-10:00         Itzik Shai (Ariel) – Canaanite Votive Gifts and their Importance within their context at Tel Burna

10:00-10:30       Refreshments

10:30-11:15       Shua Kisilevitz (IAA and TAU) – What’s the Cache? Cultic Vessels and Figurines from the Temple at Moẓa

11:15-12:00       Maria Eniukhina (BIU) – Votive objects from the Iron Age I/IIA Temple in Area D, in the lower city of Tell es-Safi/Gath.

12:00-13:00       Lunch for presenters

Behind the Scenes of the OT volume

Two days ago, I received a nice surprise in the mail – my copy of:

Greer, J. S., Hilber, J. W., and Walton, J. H., eds. 2018. Behind the Scenes of the Old Testament: Cultural, Social and Historical Contexts. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

The volume has a large collection of chapters on a broad range of issues relating to the study of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, by a very long and impressive list of scholars.

It will take quite a while to read through the contributions, but it looks like a very nice volume! Thanks to the editors for putting this together!

My contribution was on the archaeology of the Iron I:

Maeir, A. M. 2018. The Archaeology of the Iron Age I. Pp. 54–61 in Behind the Scenes of the Old Testament: Cultural, Social and Historical Contexts, eds. J. S. Greer, J. W. Hilber and J. H. Walton. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

Here’s a picture of the cover: