One day conference on cult in the EB and IB

A one day conference dealing with cult and related issues in the EB and IB, will be held at Bar-Ilan University on Thursday, May 21, 2020.

The initiative and organization of the conference is by Safi team members, Shira Kisos and Kristina Reed.
The conference will be a joint activity of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, the Institute of Archaeology, and the Minerva RIAB Center, all of Bar-Ilan University.
See her a PDF with the details and registration form (and a JPG of the call as well):
For questions and inquiries, please write to:
Hope to see you at the meeting!

Floods in the Elah River!

The recent extraordinary rainfall event over the last few days, with its blessings (much needed water) and its curses (several people lost their lives…), had its effect on the vicinity of Tell es-Safi/Gath as well.

Oren Ackermann, the Safi project geomorphologist, just sent me some photos and clips of the water flowing right now (Friday morning, Jan. 10, 2020) in the Elah River at the base of the tell, just to the north of the lower city. For those of you who know the site only during the summer, when the river bed is bone dry, here is a very different view of what the site looks like!

Check out these great photos and clips! (Thank you Oren!!)

As the height of these waters is so unusual, and almost “biblical,” let me “harp a little”, and here are a couple of things that come to mind… (and you’ll excuse my dramatization…)

Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters (Ex 15:10)

The river Kishon swept them away, the age-old river, the river Kishon. March on, my soul, be strong! (Judg 5:21)


Dig scholarships from the BAS!

If you are looking for financial assistance to join the Safi team this summer, why don’t you try applying for a dig scholarship from the Biblical Archaeology Society?

Give it a try! Check out the details here.

I can promise that the dig will be an experience, and memory, that you will cherish for many years to come!



New article on the scientific protocol for sampling and isolating yeast cells from ancient clay vessels

I’m happy to announce, and provide the link, for a just-published article, in which the protocol that we developed for sampling and isolating yeast cells from ancient clay vessels is detailed.
The full reference to this article is:
Aouizerat, T., Maeir, A. M., Paz, I., Gadot, Y., Szitenberg, A., Alkalay-Oren, S., Coppenhagen-Glazer, S., Klutstein, M., and Hazan, R. 2020. Isolation and Characterization of Live Yeast Cells from Ancient Clay Vessels. Bio-Protocol 10(1):
This protocol was successfully used by our team in a previously published paper (which has been mentioned previously):
Aouizerat, T., Gutmana, I., Paz, I., Maeir, A. M., Gadot, Y., Gleman, D., Szitenberg, A., Drori, E., Pinkus, A., Schoeman, M., Kaplan, R., Ben-Gedalya, T., Coppenhagen-Glazer, S., Reich, E., Saragovi, A., Lipschits, O., Klutstein, M., and Hazan, R. 2019. Isolation and Characterization of Live Yeast Cells from Ancient Vessels as a Tool in Bio-Archeology. MBio 10:e00388–19.
I hope this will be of utility to other archaeological teams!