Upcoming workshops of the Minerva Center for the Relations between Israel and Aram in Biblical Times (RIAB)

Here’s a head’s up for the two upcoming workshops of the new Minerva Center for the Relations between Israel and Aram in Biblical Times (RIAB). For further details, check out the links below:

New paper on the changes in the ecology of LB and Iron Age Philistia

New paper from the Safi team has appeared (see here for the PDF):

Olsvig-Whittaker, L., Maeir, A. M., Weiss, E., Frumin, S., Ackermann, O., and Horwitz, L. K. 2015. Ecology of the Past – Late Bronze and Iron Age Landscapes, People and Climate Change in Philistia (the Southern Coastal Plain and Shephelah), Israel. Journal of Mediterranean Ecology 13: 57–75.

In this paper, spearheaded by Linda Olsvig-Whittaker and Liora Horwitz:

we present a case study using modern ecological data (collected over the period 1948-2014) to assess changes that took place in plant and animal occurrences in the 12th century BCE in Philistia – the southern coastal plain of Israel and the Judean foothills in its immediate hinterland, as a result of either shifts in anthropogenic behavior or climate. Using published archaeobotanical and archaeozoological data from several archaeological sites in this region (e.g. Tel Aphek, Tell es-Safi/Gath, Tel Miqne/Ekron, Ashkelon), we compared habitat associations of these palaeo-assemblages to observations on modern plants and animals from the same geographic region. Multivariate analytical methods, DCA and CCA ordination, showed mesic to xeric gradients in both the modern and the archaeological data. The clearest pattern in the archaeological data was a separation of Late Bronze Age (mesic) from Iron Age I and Iron Age II sites (xeric). We interpret this shift as reflecting the decrease in rainfall between the Late Bronze Age (ca.1550-1180 BCE) and Iron Age (ca. 1180-586 BCE) periods, a phenomenon that has been documented in the Eastern Mediterranean in general by other palaeoclimatic proxies (e.g. pollen, cave speleothems and the Dead Sea level).

Check it out!


Prof. Adam Zertal has passed away

This afternoon, the sad news is out that Prof. Adam Zertal, the renown Israeli archaeologist, has passed away. Adam was well-known for his extensive surveys of the Land of Manasseh, and of his famous, but at times, controversial excavations at Mt. Ebal (which he connected to Joshua’s altar on Mt. Ebal), El-Ahwat (which he identified as a Sea Peoples site) and the so-called Iron I “Sandal Sites” (as well as several other sites).

Adam was an extremely nice, friendly, generous and warm person, and he was an excellent field archaeologist.

He will be missed by friends, students and colleagues.

יהי זכרו ברוך!