Great start for the 3rd week – July 11, 2016

Well, the 3rd started with a bang with a lot of great finds in all the areas!

Area A is deep in the Iron I in one square and in the Iron IIA destruction in the other, with lots of restorable pottery coming up.

Area D is overloaded with finds today. The gate architecture is getting more and more impressive, with apparent three stages – representing (at this point from pottery, but with hints to stratigraphic/architectural phases as well) 11th, 10th, and 9th cent BCE, with a ton of finds near surface. Among the cool finds today are: a scarab, a cylinder seal, a flint blade core, another tabun, and many, many walls, rooms, etc. Really nice!

Area E: The two donkeys are looking really good – with great preservation – hopefully we will be able to conduct a wide range of analyses on the remains. The E team also found a nice bronze pin today

Area F: Working in LB, possible MB and Iron IIA levels, with some nice finds, including an almost complete upside down jar placed in an installation, a nice phytolith level/floor, and other finds.

Area K: Finally we are getting some comprehensible architecture in various squares, along with nice amount of restorable pottery and other finds. Looking good!

Nice way to start the week – here are some pictures:

Reports on Philistine Cemetery at Ashkelon

The “lid is off” for media coverage (such as here, here and here) of the very exciting discovery and excavation of a Philistine cemetery at Ashkelon. The cemetery, which has been excavated in the last few years, and now with the end of the Ashkelon project is the last major find to be announced, is quite an important find. I had the pleasure of visiting the site last week, hosted by the project director, Prof. Daniel Master (Wheaton), just before the excavations were finished and the cemetery was closed up.

The cemetery contains perhaps more than 1000 burials, of which 160 were excavated. Most of the burials date to the 10th and 9th cent. BCE, with some going later to the Iron IIB. Almost all the burials are simple inhumations, with relatively few burials items. Interestingly, the burial methods are different from Canaanite or Israelite/Judahite methods.

Clearly, this will provide a lot of information on the Philistines: their culture, demography, health, diet, genetics and otherwise. Since this is the first large cemetery that has been found that is associated with one of the large Philistine cities (but definitely not the first – part of the Philistine cemetery at Gath has already been excavated), this is an excellent opportunity to find out a lot of new data on a broad range of issues. Up to now, we did not have enough Philistine burials to study!

All told – a very important and worthy discovery!


Fantastic end of 2nd week!

Today, Friday, July 8th, 2016, was the final day of the 2nd week of the season, and it was great! We had great results in all areas.

This included:

Area A: Got thru the Iron IIA in one square and are going down in the Iron I, and soon this will be the situation in the other square as well.

Area D: It appears that we may have the beginning of the plan of the gate! It looks like a classical chambered gate – but a very big one. And what also seems to be coming out is that there are two distinct phases of the gate – Iron I and Iron IIA! We have a lot of more work in this area – but things are looking quite astounding!

Area E: The donkeys are being excavated and interestingly, in one of them, there are bones of other animals (deer and dog)!

Area F: LB, Iron I and Iron IIA levels with nice preservation. The find of the day was definitely a decorated bone inlay!

Area K: More and more architecture and pottery on levels, and a few more loomweights. While we still don’t understand the architectural features – we are getting more and more stuff

Great end to a great week – and clearly, a lot of promising finds in the 2nd half of the season!

Here are some pictures: