New article on the viewing Khirbet Qeiyafa from the perspective of Gath!

A new paper of the Safi project has just appeared. While the paper is based on a conference presentation from close to three years ago (in September 2014), and is not completely updated with recent finds and discussions, it does present my views on how I believe one should understand the finds from the fascinating site of Khirbet Qeiyafa (and aspects of wider perspective as well) – and in particular in light of the interpretations suggested by the site’s excavators (Yossi Gafinkel et al.).

The full title of the article is:

Maeir, A. M. 2017. Khirbet Qeiyafa in Its Regional Context: A View from Philistine Gath. Pp. 61–71 in Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Shephelah. Papers Presented at a Colloquium of the Swiss Society for Ancient Near Eastern Studies Held at the University of Bern, September 6, 2014, eds. S. Schroer and S. Münger. Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 282. Fribourg: Academic Press.

A link to a PDF can be found here.


Safi display at BYU

Jeff Chadwick, Field Supervisor of Area F and core staff member of the project, put together a very nice display on the excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath, which can be seen at the BYU campus in Provo, Utah (at the JSB [Religion Building]).

See below a picture, courtesy of Jeff. So if you are on the campus – go take a look:

Kudos to Eric Welch

Congratulations are in order for long time Safi staff member, Eric Welch. Eric informed me that he was the runner-up for SBL’s “David Noel Freedman Award for Excellence and Creativity in Hebrew Bible Scholarship” for his paper “Who is the Šôbēb? Reconstructing the Identity of Judah’s Traitor in Micah 2:4.” I’ve read the paper and think Eric has done a very nice job of working between history and archaeology to tackle a difficult puzzle in the biblical text. I look forward to seeing it published!
The Society of Biblical Literature presents the Freedman Award annually to the author of the best essay on the Hebrew Bible based on the following criteria: a persuasive thesis that engages the Hebrew Bible and demonstrates quality of scholarship and significance to the field; clarity of expression and thought; and originality and creativity. Information about the Freedman Award and a list of previous winners can be found here.
Mazal tov, Eric! Well done!

PhD Stipends at BIU

Bar-Ilan University is offering 4 year PhD stipends (“President’s Grants”) to students who excelled in their undergraduate and graduate studies. Several of these grants are available through the Minerva Center for the Relations between Israel and Aram in Biblical Times (RIAB).

If you are interested in looking into the possibility of doing your PhD at Bar-Ilan University, you are an excellent student – and you have a topic that relates to the RIAB Center (which includes archaeological aspects relating to the Tell es-Safi/Gath Project) please get in touch with me ( as soon as possible. The deadline for submission is just around the corner (May 29th, 2017)!

For general information on the grants, see here.

For registration forms, see here (but if you are interested in doing this through the RIAB Minerva Center, first contact me).


Online registration for 2017 season will close on Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Please note that the online registration for the 2017 season at Tell es-Safi/Gath will go offline on Tuesday, May 9th, 2017. So, if you are planning to join the team this summer – now is the time!

And just to be sure – we will surely have better finds than the one below :-)

Guest Blog: Louise and Fred (by Louise)

See below a guest blog by Louise Hitchcock, about the unusual story of how she adopted Fred the dog, who she met at the dig, and then ended up getting him all the way to Australia! (must say – Fred’s lucky that he was not sent to the Manus Island Detention Center as some other newcomers to Australia…:-).

Here’s Louise’s post and some pictures of Fred in action, from the dig until his arrival in Melbourne:

A Canaanite in Carlton: or it takes a kibbutz….

 There is a long tradition in Mediterranean archaeology of adopting cats and dogs in Greece and in Israel, from Knossos, Pylos, Athens, and Jerusalem among other places. I never saw myself as part of that tradition for a number of reasons. For one thing, being slightly OCD, if I became involved with one homeless animal, I’d feel compelled to help them all – this would have disastrous affects on my personal life. In addition, I already have pets that I chose for myself. My childhood was a never ending parade of stray dogs and cats that my dad brought home. I liked some of them, but others I didn’t like. My dad tried to make all of my life choices for me and it made for a difficult relationship. When I had the chance to make my own choices, I chose Wire Haired Fox Terriers for pets, and never saw myself adopting a stray let alone a big one from Israel.

When two “Canaanite” dogs first appeared on the site last July on Friday at the end of week 1, I assumed they belonged to someone and ignored them. The next week they kept reappearing – usually with Area F at breakfast time. I found it disturbing that two abandoned dogs were being fed and given names (Fred and Fi). They were being turned into pets. Inwardly I felt bad that they had been given a taste of a future life, but when the dig ended they were going to be discarded. I decided that they needed to be found homes and also rendered safe to be around so as not to endanger all of their new friends among the volunteers. Many people helped in this enterprise, especially my friend Linda Meiberg. She found Eran Lavy, a professor of Veterinary Science at Hebrew University ( ) who lived on our kibbutz. Eran, Linda and I are now Facebook friends and we have been following his sabbatical in California. It turns out he is Adam Singer’s cousin (Adam was our major domo a couple of years ago). After we got Fred and Fi down to the kibbutz for one night, Eran came to our cabin to give them shots, flea and tick meds, and microchips. He recommended a trainer who advised us on training them to walk on leashes. Lior Regev helped us find a home for them on his moshav through the What’s up app.

We visited Fred and Fi in their new homes, and things seemed to be getting better for them. Despite the visits, I remained aloof to them because I could feel myself getting attached, especially to Fred. I really liked how proudly he carried himself. When the dig ended, I left for Jerusalem and Japan to continue my sabbatical, and Fred and Fi got fixed. In September, I heard things weren’t going well for Fred. He got along with his new family, but had a habit of pinning down strangers. After neutering, it takes about three months for the hormones to dissipate. But, his new family ran out of patience and we started looking for another solution. The only place that seemed interested in adopting him was a prison where Fred could have a career as a guard dog. At that point, in early September, I made the decision to bring Fred to Australia and talked it over with my husband. I knew Fred was an amazing dog, but we both had a lot of reservations: would Fred eat Asta and kitty? Would he destroy the house? Would he survive the plane flight? Would he pin down the mailman?

Linda again came to the rescue and worked with Fi’s family to get Fred into a dog pension. From late September to mid April, Fred lived at Dogland Israel in Modi’in to do his quarantine, and an Israeli company called Terminal 4 Pets ( handled the entire process. This worked out well for many reasons. Keeping Fred there for a month was less than boarding Asta for a weekend in Melbourne. He spent his time in a large pen with another dog and he had supervised daily playtime. Fred was becoming socialized and learning how to be a pet. I also paid a little extra for him to get some training. I was able to follow his progress through Dogland’s Facebook page:

Meanwhile, Fi settled in very well with her family. She seems to like being top dog and she is no longer afraid to ride in cars. They had seemed so devoted that I worried about separating them, but they don’t seem to miss each other.

Just a couple of things remained. We learned that Fred would be arriving in Melbourne on April 18 and go into 10 days of quarantine here, but we would not yet be able to visit him. Although it was a little worrying that he was flying United, I was able to track his flight and found out the day he arrived that he was safe and in good spirits. Our next step was to get a lot of temporary gates to block his access to certain rooms and to our racing bikes. We didn’t know if he would be a chewer (he isn’t), so we didn’t want him hurting himself or our stuff. We also wanted to keep him separated from Asta at the start. We also got him, beds, toys, and accessories. Fred was delivered to our house 4 days ago by Dogtainers, the company that brought Asta to us from Brisbane. He is getting along splendidly, enjoying sleeping indoors on a soft bed for the first time in his life, making new friends in the dog park, and getting treats at the local café. He interacts well with almost everyone he meets, loves tummy rubs, and hardly barks. He is becoming a real gentlemen and attracts even more attention from passers-by than Asta did. My colleagues at the University are all looking forward to meeting him and the Uni want to write a story about him. I’ve decided big dogs are mellower than small ones. In a couple of weeks, he will be getting a teeth cleaning and we are going to do a DNA test to find out exactly what he is.