New article on defining ancient Israel

I’m happy to report that a new article of mine has just appeared.  

In this article, which I believe is one of the more important articles I have written, I grapple with the theoretical and practical criteria for archaeologically defining ancient Israel. 

The full title is:

Maeir, A. M. 2021. On Defining Israel: Or, let’s do the kulturkreislehre again! Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 10(2): 106-48.

Here is the abstract:

Most study of the definition of early Israel, from an archaeological perspective, is based on outdated views on the relationship between material culture and group identity, ignoring recent social theory on the relationship between the archaeological finds and group identity. This has led to simplistic assumptions on defining and identifying the materials correlates – and the group identities – relevant for understanding the formation and development of early Israel. While critical of much of the research, and aware of the limitations of the ability to interpret the archaeological remains, I suggest some paths how to move forward in defining – what is and what is not – early Israel, stressing the need to focus on a bottom-up approach, commencing with the study of small-scale communities of practice.

And for those of you who have not seen the “Gath Jerusalema Challenge” (which I find hard to believe…) – do check out the link below!

All the best and shana tova!


P.S. If you don’t have access to the article, and wish to receive a PDF, do send me an email and I’ll be happy to share it!

Gath “Jerusalema Challenge”!

So the secret is now officially out!

During the 2021 season, the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project team carried out the “Jerusalema Challenge” – dancing the world-wide smash hit song and dance – JERUSALEMA!

As far as I know, this is the first time an archaeological team takes on the challenge! (but we’re used to leading the pack…:-)

We filmed it on several occasions – and locations – during the season, as the team was carrying out various dig-related activities. Notice that the video includes clips shot from the ground, and from the air – using two different drones (utilizing regular and multi-spectral imaging).

As you can see, it was a lot of fun – even if some of us (including me…) are not the most “seasoned” dancers…:-)

Note the credits at the end of the clip for all those who contributed!