Response to Peter Parr on publishing archaeological remains

A short piece of mine was just published in PEQ, in response to an editorial by Prof. Peter Parr, on the need to publish excavations on time!

Publications that appear decades after excavations are over are unacceptable!

Check it out!

Maeir, A.M. 2021. A response to “On delays in the publication of excavation reports” by P.J. Parr (PEQ 152.3, 181-83). PEQ 153(1): 1-4

New article on EB botanical finds and implications

A new article on the analyses of the archaeobotanical finds from the Early Bronze Age levels at Tell es-Safi/Gath, and their implications for understanding the subsistence patterns and methods, land use, connectivity and other issues. The macro-botanical remains that were examined represent a so far unparalleled extensive sampling of botanical contexts from EB contexts in the Levant, and are based on the collection of enormous amounts of sediments from many contexts. The botanical remains from these sediments were then collected using floatation and “picking,” and the analyzed in the BIU archaeobotanical lab.

The article was spearheaded by Su Frumin, and the full reference is:

Frumin, S., Melamed, Y., Maeir, A. M., Greenfield, H. J., and Weiss, E. 2021. Agricultural subsistence, land use and long-distance mobility within the Early Bronze Age southern Levant: Archaeobotanical evidence from the urban site of Tell eṣ-Ṣâfī/Gath. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 37: 102873

Here’s the abstract:

The ongoing discussion on the nature of the organization of Early Bronze Age settlements and their social structure in an intensely settled part of the southern Levant (independent ‘city-states’ vs ‘neither cities nor states’) calls for data on which to base our understanding of shared economic patterns and regional connections. Here, we report the results of our macrobotanical investigation of the Early Bronze Age III (2,680–2,600 cal BCE) levels at Tell eṣ-Ṣâfī/Gath, a large fortified settlement in central Canaan. A dense residential neighborhood was sampled at high resolution for a multi-faceted analysis of plant use in order to address its economic strategies and regional relationships. The resulting rich and diverse plant assemblage enables reconstruction of the diversity of agriculture, fuel sources, land use practices, mobility, and connectivity. Results of the study provide, for the first time, direct botanical evidence for the structural patterns of an intensive localized agro-pastoral economy and enable comparative analysis of the regional diet. Moreover, the results shed light on rare yet continuous long-distance plant dispersal and human mobility across biogeographical boundaries within the southern Levant.

Check it out!

Registration re-awakening!

In the last week or so, there has been a re-awakening in interest in signing up for the 2021 season at Tell es-Safi/Gath. While it looks like some of the institutions won’t be sending official groups, several of the staff, students and volunteers from abroad, who are interested in coming on their own, seem to be more interested. I believe this is due to the fact that more and more people all over the world are getting vaccinations!

This is great news! So while we may not have as many groups as in past seasons, it looks like we will be able to be out in the field, hopefully excavating in several areas in the lower city. With both students and staff from Israel, along with team members from abroad, I hope we will be able to continue excavations in the gate area (in Area D East, directed by Jeff), in Area M (directed by Maria) in the eastern part of the lower city, where we have great remains from the 9th century BCE destruction level (including houses, olive oil installations and other finds), and in the the new Area X (to be directed by Shira), which is the area where the IAA excavated a small trench in 2019 (just to the south of Area D East, on the other side of the parking lot), and found what seems to be a large building (public structure?) with finds from the 9th century BCE destruction. We hope to expand this new area to understand what this is. If the Yeshiva University group, led by Jill Katz will be able to join us, then we will continue excavations in Area Y, the fascinating Iron I area in the eastern part of the lower city.

So – now’s the time to get your shots (or set up a appointment to get them), and register for the 2021 season! This may be the final, full scale season in the project, so don’t miss your chance to join us – and then feel bad for eternity – that you missed out on this chance…:-)

Dig we must!

MOOC on Biblical Archaeology starts this Monday (March 8, 2021)!

The MOOC (massive open online course) on biblical archaeology (Biblical Archaeology: The archaeology of ancient Israel and Judah) starts, again (4th run of the course), this coming Monday (March 8th, 2021)!

Now’s the time to sign up for the course (for free; or with certification for $99) and learn – and have fun – as I introduce the basics of archaeology in general, and of the archaeology of the Iron Age Levant, with a particular focus on the archaeology of ancient Israel and Judah and surrounding cultures, and the interface with the biblical and other ancient texts!

Lots of fun – and you’ll learn a lot – and it does not require any previous knowledge.

Join the thousands of students who have taken the course already!

Hope to see you on the course.


P.S. Check out the course trailer:

The Minerva Center for the Relations between Aram and Israel in Biblical Times (RIAB), will conduct an online workshop on September 13th, 2021, that will deal with “New Studies on Iron Age Syria and Nearby Regions: Regional and Cross-Regional Perspectives.”

Some very interesting lectures will be presented – so mark this in your calendars!

For the schedule and other details (and the link to the zoom meeting), see below: