Update for Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

We had a very busy day today – lots of finds – and lots of visitors…

Area A: Louise and her team took down an Iron IIA wall and revealed the Iron I wall beneath it, and are now pushing for the final probe into the early Iron I levels.

Area D: Amit and his team had quite a day. In the metallurgy area they found a large piece of a crucible, and in the gate area, various very interesting Iron I objects, including several very special cultic objects.

Area E: Several very interesting floors, features and installations were found – and in addition, two clay bulla, one with an imprinted design, were found!

Area F: The are reaching to the EB levels inside the wall, and some nice MB pottery (including Tell el-Yahudiyeh ware) was found in association with the MB glacis. In addition, Iron IIA, LB and MB are being excavated.

Area J: The EB wall is getting bigger and bigger…

Area K: Iron IIA destruction galore – and all kinds of very cool finds!

Area K2: It seems that the two levels of restorable pottery between two of the walls both date to the Iron IIA!

Here are some pictures:

2nd day of digging of third week

Very nice day today (and a lot less hot…), and all the areas made a lot of progress!

Area A: Louise and her team are digging in Iron I in both squares and have found some very nice decorated Philistine pottery

Area D: The metallurgy area is producing a lot of evidence of metal working and next to it, the Iron IIA destruction level is full of finds! In the fortifications on the west side of Area D, a very nice Iron I Philistines bird head was found. On the eastern side of Area D, the fortifications are expanding and becoming more and more impressive!

Area E: The sounding is so deep that we have to temporarily stop until we get a bigger ladder – and we it seems that we are still not yet close to bedrock! In addition, all kinds of new walls, floors and contexts are coming up!

Area F: It seems that under the evidence of the MB construction (including a possible lime kiln and kurkar used for the glacis), the F team may have reached EB contexts inside of and right up against the EB city wall. If so, this is the first time we will have this on the tell! In addition, the F team is digging in Iron IIA, Iron I, LB and MB contexts!

Area J: The EB wall is getting bigger and bigger. Jill’s team was joined by a large group of YU students for the day, and they made a lot of progress in the area.

Area K: The Iron IIA destruction is popping up in just about all the squares – as well as walls, installations and other interesting contexts.

Area K2: Several restorable vessels were excavated today from two levels, one Iron IIA and one late Iron I, that are located between two of the very large walls if the fortification in this area.

In addition, we have various visitors – including Zvi Greenhut and Baruch Brandl from the IAA, Drs. Hong and Choi from the Korean team at Lachish, and most importantly, my three sons (who are old-time participants on the dig from years back…) and my grandson Hillel!

Here are some pictures:

Update – first day of 3rd week

The third week started with a boom – as we found a nice little inscription yesterday (as mentioned previously). Today, the 3rd week of digging started and things went very well. It was unbearably hot – but the team was determined and we weathered it out!

Here are some of the new finds:

Area A: Louise and her team are deep into the Iron I in both squares, with some new architecture and pits.

Area D: In the western side, Amit and his team had quite a few very nice finds. A whole bunch of metallurgy related finds came up, including slag, tuyerres, hammer scale, iron and bronze objects and more.

In addition, some more of the Iron II destruction was found, including a bunch of vessels, a cluster of loomweights, and a nice collection of astragali.

In the eastern part of D the gate area is getting more and more impressive!

Area E: The deep sounding is almost reached the Pacific Ocean (:-) – and we are  still getting architecture and clear layers! A very nice EB votive juglet was found, as well as a couple of floors, walls, etc. Haskel and Shira’s team are at full speed ahead!

Area F: Jeff and his team are deep in the Iron II, Iron I, LB, and MB, and today worked on the area which appears to have a plaster kiln.

Area J: More and more parts of the wall are appearing in Jill’s area and things look more and more complicated…

Area K: It’s Iron IIA destruction galore – with finds in just about every square. Vessels, loomweights, installations, walls – you name it! Eric’s team is going great!

Area K2: Brent and his team now seem to have two Iron I levels, including complete vessels from between two of the walls in the area, providing more and more evidence that this is a fortification that was in use (and perhaps founded) in the Iron I.

Add to that – we had quite a few visitors today (including Sam and Ruth Marshal)- so by the end of the day – everybody was quite tired… (including a field trip to Tel Burna!).

Here are some pictures:


What a way to start the week!!!!

An inscription was found (by Hannah) during pottery washing, earlier today.

So far, all I will say is that it is quite similar, in its general characteristics, to the “ALWT/WLT” inscription that we published about a decade ago.

Any more information, at this stage, is compartmentalized…

I know, I am a terrible tease… :-}


Great group picture of the team at the end of the 2nd week of the 2017 season

See below a great picture of the superb Safi team (actually, a few are missing…) at the end of the 2nd week of the 2017 season. What a great team! Highly motivated, excellent field work, high spirits – and true camaraderie!

As the project director I would like to stress – I could not ask for a better group!

Thanks so much to all of you!!!!

(and thanks to Katja Soennecken for taking the picture!)

2017 2nd week_group picture Safi


4th day of 2nd week – July 13th, 2017

We made nice progress in all the areas today – and we had a few visitors – including the vice rector of BIU (Prof. Amnon Albeck) and Mr. Reuven Pinsky, head of the Israeli government national heritage project fund.

Area A: Digging in both squares in the Iron I – with lots of Philistine I pottery.

Area D: Iron IIA destruction in the western side, along with two tabuns that might be connected to the metal production, as well as a head of a very nice bull figurine. Near the gate the architecture is getting bigger and bigger and more impressive.

Area E: The donkey was removed; the probe goes deeper and deeper; and all kinds of architecture, phases and cool installations.

Area F: Adi and some BIU chemistry students worked in the area which seems to be related to plaster production; a very nice late MB bronze pin was found; and lots of LB, Iron I and Iron II pottery from different contexts.

Area J: The wall is getting bigger and bigger and more and more complicated…

Area K: More and more Iron IIA destruction…

Area K2: The monumental city was is so nice…

Remote sensing – more work in the lower city.

Great day!

Here are some pictures:

3rd day of 2nd week – July 12th, 2017

We had a great day on the tell, once again. In addition to our large team, a group of students from the Ashkelon College joins us for the day, so we really got a lot going in all fields.

Area A: Louise and her team and now in the Iron I in both squares. In the early Iron I square there is a series of pits/disturbances, and some nice finds came out, including a body sherd with a very unique Philistine bird decoration.

Area D: In the west they have more of the 9th cent destruction, two more tabuns (near the metallurgy area) and a nice section of the city wall. Over in the east side, additional sections of the fortifications near the city gate were exposed, as well as a very nice context with restorable Iron I Philistine bichrome vessels.

Area E: The donkey is completely exposed and is an excellent state of preservation – and they are now working on taking it out as complete as possible. In addition, the deep sounding is going down, and new floors, walls and contexts are coming up all over.

Area F: The production location (which we thought might be metal related) seems to be connected to another production process – perhaps for plaster. As it dates to either the latest EB or earliest MB phases in the area, this is VERY interesting. Tomorrow, Adi and a team of BIU chemistry students will be on site – to conduct some analyses of this context. In addition, nice contexts of the MB, LB and Iron I and II are being exposed. And as you can see in the photos, we have more pieces from the very nice Philistine Bichrome krater!

Area J: Jill and her team are working away on the wall and its surroundings and more and more parts are popping up. Interestingly, in the pottery reading, we even found a Persian period Attic sherd from this area!

Area K: Things are really beginning to pop over here! In just about every square, complete and/or restorable vessels of the 9th cent destruction are coming up, as well as loom weights, installations, walls, etc. This area is going to have a lot of fun in the next week or so!

Area K2: Additional sections of the impressive fortifications are being exposed. We now have at least 3 and possible 4 distinct lines, and some clear contexts and stratigraphic layers connected to the walls.

The remote sensing continued work in the lower city – and soon will have a picture of most of this part of the city!

Here are some pictures!