Flor blogs about Safi!

Flor Fustinoni, who has been in the Safi team for the last two years, has written a great piece for the ASOR blog about her work this last summer as a square supervisor.

Flor eloquently describes the fun, excitement, camaraderie and professionalism that you experience as a team member.

Way to go Flor!

And here’s a picture of Flor next to the EB city wall in Area F

New article on Sea Peoples and pirates

A new article on the maritime culture of the Sea Peoples, one of series of articles by Louise Hitchcock and yours truly, is about to appear.

The article’s full title is:

Hitchcock, L. A., and Maeir, A. M. 2016 A Pirates’ Life for Me: The Maritime Culture of the Sea People. Palestine Exploration Quarterly 148(4).

Here’s the abstract:

An anthropological approach to a culture extrapolates social structures, traditions, and general organizing principles of that culture from the careful observation of patterns of behaviour as described in case studies. In the absence of a living culture to record, archaeologists extrapolate this information from behaviour reconstructed from spatially determined patterns in the deposition of material remains and from patterns found in the general organizing principles of historically documented cultures, using arguments based on analogy. This contribution builds on our previous research on the “Sea Peoples” as a piratical culture in order to apply an anthropological approach to understanding the cultural identities of the various tribal groups involved in maritime activities at the end of the Bronze Age who are popularly known as the “Sea Peoples”, and place this within the broader context of the current discussions on the transition between the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age in the Mediterranean.

To see the corrected page proofs – see here.



Short clip about excavations – without any content…

A short clip, supposedly describing “Discoveries where Goliath may have walked” – referring to Gath – was posted today on the youtube channel of the Museum of the Bible (thanks to G. Grena for the HT)

While its really nice that they posted this, once you actually watch the clip, it’s quite astounding that just about no information, insights or new discoveries are mentioned regarding Tell es-Safi/Gath (though they do show low quality still shots of the site off season in the beginning) and then they very briefly describe the discovery of the Philistine cemetery at Ashkelon.

In light of the massive sums of money poured into this museum and related projects, I would expect a little more quality – and research – put into productions that they are producing. And if they are discussing a specific site (whether Gath or any other site), it would make sense to speak to those excavating that site!!!

C’mon guys – you can do better than that…

Here’s the clip – judge it for yourself:

New publication – not Safi related

Once in awhile, I also publish things not related to Tell es-Safi/Gath…

I just received from Ami Mazar a pre-print copy of a chapter that I wrote for the forthcoming, 5 volume final report of Ami’s excavations at Tel Rehov. The chapter is an introduction to the geography and environmental background of the Beth Shean Valley, as a backdrop for the excavations at Tel Rehov.

The chapter is based on research conducted as part of my PhD (1997; co-supervised by Ami), which was later (2010) published in book form (see here).

The chapter is entitled:

Maeir, A. M. 2016. Chapter 1: The Beth-Shean Valley: Geographical and Environmental Background. Pp. 1–11 in Excavations at Tel Rehov, 1997–2012. Vol. 1, eds. A. Mazar and N. Panitz-Cohen. Qedem Monographs of the Institute of Archaeology. Jerusalem: Institute of Archaeology.

See the new chapter here.



New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem Conference – and very interesting find to be published!

On Oct. 26-27, 2016, the annual New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and its Region conference will be held in Jerusalem. During the two day meeting, quite a few interesting papers will be presented.

Among others, there will be a very interesting session on a VERY INTERESTING papyrus – which due to “gag orders” – I can’t say anything else about… :-}

I’ve been asked to serve as a respondent for this session – and I believe the session – and discussions that will develop from it – will be quite something…

Be there or be square…

Here is the full schedule of the meeting – the relevant session is at the very end of the program, marked it in bold:


New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and Its Region
The Tenth Annual Conference, October 26 and 27, 2016

The 10th annual conference of the New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and Its Environs, will be held on October 26, 27 and 28, 2016. This year, the conference marks its 10th anniversary, making it a very special event for us all. Over the past ten years, the conference and the published proceedings have served as the primary platform for the presentation of archaeological research in Jerusalem and its surroundings, including lectures from across the entire spectrum of Israeli scholars working in the field.

In order to celebrate the event, this year’s conference will not only include the full day of lectures in Hebrew, to be held at the Hebrew University, but an additional venue of international scholarship with lectures from scholars from Israel and abroad, will be given in English.
The program of the English and Hebrew sessions of the conference are listed below. The sessions are devoted to discussions of some of the major topics of research in Jerusalem, crossing both  periods and cultures: Jerusalem and the empires, the city borders, temple and economy and finally the preservation and management of the city’s cultural heritage.

New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and Its Region

The first day of the conference will be held in the auditorium of the Yad Izhak Ben Zvi Institute at 14 Ibn Gabirol Street, Jerusalem. All lectures will be presented in English, with simultaneous Hebrew translation available.

Day 1(October 26)
9:30        Opening remarks
9:45        Session 1: Jerusalem and the Empires
Session Chair: Rachel Milstein
Jerusalem and the Empires: Israel Finkelstein, Tel Aviv University
Agrippa II in Jerusalem and the Destruction of the Temple in 70 CE: Martin Goodman, Oxford University
Communal Institutions in Frankish Jerusalem: Adrian Boas, Haifa University

11:15–11:30 Coffee break

11:30     Session 2: Cultural Resource Management in Jerusalem
Session Chair: Mike Turner
Whose Heritage? Urban and Architectural Considerations: Alona Nitzan-Shiftan, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
The Kidron Valley Cyber-Archaeology Project: Thomas E. Levy, University of California, San Diego
The Ancient Ruins of Lifta: A Preliminary Assessment According to Architectural and Archaeological Survey: Gil Haklai, Conservation Department, Israel Antiquities Authority

13:00–14:00 Lunch break

14:00     Session 3: Opening Afternoon Session
Sustainable Rehabilitation of the Holy Sepulchre: An Interdisciplinary Scientific Study and Monitoring, A Scientific Integrated Governance of the Project, Antonia Moropoulou, Chief Scientific Supervisor of the project, Head of the NTUA Interdisciplinary Research Group for the Monuments’ Protection

14:30     Session 4: The City Boundaries
Session Chair: Elhanan Reiner
Jerusalem in the Days of Nehemiah: Gary Knoppers, University of Notre Dame
Aelia Capitolina – An Unusual Roman Colonia in the Light of Its Inscriptions: Benjamin Isaac, Tel Aviv University
Jerusalem’s Borders in the Early Islamic Period: Gideon Avni, Israel Antiquities Authority and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

16:00–16:15 Coffee break

16:15 Session 5: Temple City and Its Economy
Session Chair: Amikam Elad
Economy and Administration in the Iron Age and Persian Period: Oded Lipschits, Tel Aviv University
Cult, Pilgrimage and Economy in the Byzantine Period: Leah Di Segni, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Haram al-Sharif and the Field of Religious Goods – Economy, Sanctity and the Developing Urban Landscape of Mamluk Jerusalem: Nimrod Luz, Western Galilee College

17:45 Closing remarks

Day 2 (October 27) will be held at the Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus, in the Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies (Rabin) Building. All lectures will be in Hebrew.

8:00        Gathering
8:30        Opening remarks
8:40        Joe Uziel and Ra’anan Kislev: Archaeology, Preservation and Development in the Jerusalem District, 2015–2016
9:10        Keynote lecture – Yvonne Friedman: Jerusalem as a City for Medieval Pilgrims
9:40        Award Presentation of the David Amit Prize for Young Archaeological Researchers, 2016–2017

10:00     Session 1: Approaching the Temple Mount
  Session Chair and Discussant: Gideon Avni
Yuval Baruch, Ronny Reich and Débora Sandhaus: The Temple Mount – Results of the Archaeological Research of the Past Decade
Alon de Groot and Hillel Geva: “Descending the Mount” – A Response to the “Mound on the Mount” Theory
Joseph Patrich and Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah: The “Free Masons Hall” – A Composite Herodian Triclinium and a Fountain to the West of the Temple Mount
Assaf Avraham and Peretz Reuven: An Arabic Inscription from the Dawn of the Islamic Period from Kafr Nuba

11:30–11:50 Coffee break
11:50     Session 2: “Standing on the Wall” – Jerusalem’s Fortification
  Session Chair and Discussant: Ronny Reich
Johanna Regev, Nahshon Szanton, Joe Uziel and Elisabetta Boaretto: Absolute Dating of the Gihon Spring Tower
Rina Avner and Kfir Arbiv: Excavations in the Russian Compound: The Battle of the “Third Wall”
Shimon Gibson, Rafi Lewis and James Tabor: Going to the Market with Saladin: Finds from the 11th–13th Centuries in the Excavation of the Ayyubid Gate in Mount Zion
13:00–14:00 Lunch break

14:00     Session 3: What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? Jerusalem in the Days of the Procurators
  Session Chair and Discussant: Jonathan Price
Nahshon Szanton, Michal Haber, Moran Hagbi, Joe Uziel and Donald T. Ariel: Monumental Building Projects in Jerusalem in the Days of the Pontius Pilate – A Numismatic View from the Stepped Street in the Tyropoeon Valley
Ortal Chalaf, Peter Gendelman and Hannah Cotton: The Bet Strauss Excavations: Preliminary Results and a new Latin Inscription
Helena Roth and Dafna Langgut: Lumberjacks and Water Wells: On the Use of Wood and Stature in the Lower City of Jerusalem in the Early Roman Period
Yuval Gadot: Urban Judaism under Roman Rule: Dedicating the Kidron for Garbage Disposal in the First Century CE

15:10–15:30 Coffee break

15:30     Session 4: Path, Place and Memory
  Session Chair and Discussant: Rina Talgam
Katia Cytryn-Silverman and Avi Mashiach: Sulayman’s Sabīls: Restoration and Revival
Amit Re’em and Ilya Berkovich: Reassessing the Art, Architecture and Chronology of the Crusader Basilica on Mount Zion
Annette Nagar: A Byzantine Church near Bet Nekofa along the Road from Jaffa to Jerusalem
Lihi Habas: The Cross in the Mausoleum at Horbat Ha-Gardi: The Tombs of the Maccabees and the Christian Cult of the Maccabean Martyrs

17:00 Session 5: A New Old Papyrus
                Session Chair and Discussant: Ester Eshel            
Shmuel Ahituv, Eitan Klein and Amir Ganor:  Papyrus “to Jerusalem”
Hagai Misgav, Aharon Demski, Aren Maeir : Discussion

17:40     Closing remarks

Clip from SAGU – with Safi excavations starring!

Rob Price (Rob Price, SAGU Communication Arts department) has been kind enough to pass a link to the very nice video clip promoting the Ancient Studies Program at SAGU (Southwestern Assemblies of God University). Rob and team from SAGU participated in the dig in 2014, and others connected to SAGU have been regulars (such as Eric Welch).

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/185312577″>Ancient Studies Program_SAGU</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user5493224″>Rob Price</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

The clip was prepared by a SAGU multi-media team led by Rob (Caleb Celestino and Jon Utley), which joined the Safi team during the 2014 season – especially to put together this great clip.

In the clip, you can see shots taken during the excavation (on site and at the base camp at Kibbutz Revadim), as well as various Safi team members talking (Eric, Jeff, Aren, Brian Stachowsky, Kristen Flake) and appearing (the SAGU team, the Area F team, Rob, Mark, and others).

Check it out – very nicely done!