New Publication Series of the RIAB Minerva Center

I’m happy to announce the official publication of a new book series of Minerva Center for the Relations between Israel and Aram in Biblical Times (RIAB), which is affiliated to the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project (and co-directed by Aren Maeir and Angelika Berlejung).

The new publication series of the RIAB Minerva Center – “Research on Israel and Aram in Biblical Times” (RIAB),  is published by Mohr Siebeck (Tübingen), as a sub-series of the “Oriental Religions in Antiquity” (ORA) series.

The new series aims to publish volumes (monographs, collections, proceedings, etc.) dealing with topics that are directly and indirectly connected to the RIAB Center’s activities, covering the entire spectrum of topics that relate to the RIAB Center’s fields of interest.

The editors of the series, Prof. Angelika Berlejung and Prof. Aren Maeir, would be very happy to receive proposals for volumes to be published in the series – both by scholars affiliated with the center, as well as those who are not.

The first volume in the series has gone to press and will be out in August, 2019.

Here is the title of the first volume:

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.

See here a flyer of the new series and details on the first volume that will appear in August 2019.

Workshop on Zooarchaeology, 23 May, 2019

On Thursday, May 23rd, 2019, the RIAB Minerva Center is conducting a workshop for students on zooarchaeology in general and the Iron Age Levant in particular. The workshop will be given by Dr. Liora Horwitz of the Hebrew University.

Please note that the workshop is only open  to those who pre-registered for it.

Workshop on LB/Iron Age transition at Miqne-Ekron, Qubur Walayda and Megiddo East

On Thursday, May 16th, I participated in the workshop on the LB/Iron Age transition at the sites of Tel Miqne-Ekron, Qubur al-Walayda and Megiddo East, that was held at the Albright Institute in Jerusalem.

The workshop was organized by Ann Killebrew (Penn State), and in it, Ann, Gunnar Lehmann (BGU) and Aaron Greener (Albright), presented about these three sites.

Ann and Gunnar each presented a detailed survey of the stratigraphy and finds relating to the time frame covering the late LB and early Iron I at Miqne (Ann) and Qubur (Gunnar), followed by a short presentation by Aaron on the LB/Iron I finds from Megiddo East.

A lively discussion developed during and right after each lecture, with various members of the archaeological community in Israel participating.

After the lectures, the workshop participants then moved to look at a great selection of pottery from the relevant levels at this sites, which was set up in the Albright basement. A very interesting and lively discussion of these finds developed as well.

This was a fascinating workshop, with many insights. For me, in addition to seeing some really nice pottery from these sites that I had not seen previously, I came away with the impression that the finds from these sites only emphasize, the complex nature of the LB/Iron Age transition, and how many of the “standard,” and rather linear, explanations on this transition are in need of refinement, a more complex understanding – and even revision!


Spanking new entrance to Tell es-Safi/Gath

On Wednesday, I had the honor to participate in the dedication ceremony for the new entrance to the Tel Zafit National Park (Tell es-Safi/Gath). The funding for this entrance (and the bike path leading to it) was donated by “Dalia Power Energies“, the company that runs one of the two electric power stations near the tell, in memory of Mr. Eyal Shapira, z”l, who was a member of their board of directors. Thanks so much their donation – and for the Nature and Parks Authority who facilitated the donation and making these plans happen!

The work including fixing up the road leading up to the site, the main entrance road to the tell itself, and the area of the parking at the base of the site. This included a great parking area, some very nice shaded picnic areas, and some very nice signs, both on the way to the tell, and in and around the site itself.

This is a very substantial and important addition to the site, as it makes the site much more accessible to the public. In addition, the Nature and Parks Authority fixed up (and even changed) some of the paths on the site, making them much more easier for use.

This will be important for the team as well in the coming season. The road to the site is much better, and the buses and other vehicles will be able to drive in a much easier manner to the site. In addition, the breakfast area is now really nice – which will make our breakfast and fruit breaks much more enjoyable!

Below are some pictures of the ceremony and the new entrance.

Those of you who are familiar with the site from previous years will be quite surprised with the changes!

See as well the views of the tell. While it’s not as green as it was even a week or two ago, it’s still quite overgrown due to the massive rainfall this winter.


LB conference proceedings went to press!

The Ackerman Family Conference on Biblical Archaeology, which was held in 2014, and included an assortment of excellent papers on the Late Bronze Age and early Iron Age in Canaan, is about to be published as a proceedings volume.

The volume, “The Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages of Southern Canaan“, edited by A. M. Maeir, I. Shai and C. McKinny, has just gone to press, and will be published by de Gruyter as part of new series (Archaeology of the Biblical Worlds) that is associated with the “Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception” (series editors: A. M. Maeir and H. Goldfuss).

Hopefully, the volume will be out in a couple of months!

And if already – there are two more edited volumes that are about to appear: Tell es-Safi/Gath II (eds. A. M. Maeir and J. Uziel) and the Proceedings of the 1st annual meeting of the RIAB Minerva Center (eds. A. Berlejung and A. M. Maeir)! More to come on these two volumes in the near future!

Tour of Tell es-Safi/Gath for a group from the Albright Institute

Today (May 7, 2019) a gave a tour of Tell es-Safi/Gath for a group of fellows from the Albright Institute in Jerusalem. We walk around the upper and lower tells for three hours, and it was really nice.

What’s very noticeable are the thorns! Are they enormous! Some of them are about 3 m high!!