New 3D Model of the Tell

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Check out our new 3D model of the entire tell. Thanks to Limor and Griffin Aerial Imaging for the aerial shots (like their page at the link)! 

3D Image here (works in Google Chrome, click on “3D Model” – you can then pan and zoom and get a good view of the tell). 

The view of the tell on the south and east is particularly interesting as this may very well be the location of the gate. The 3D model also gives you a nice view of how Tel Burna dominates the Nahal Guvrin and the route that ran through it. This model also gives you a great view of the mostly square c. 75x75m fortified area of the Iron II casemate walls. Enjoy!

See the more detailed models of Areas A2 and B here. 

View of Tel Burna from North 2014
View of Tel Burna from North 2014

Aerial Video of Khirbet ‘Atr with Burna in the Distance

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Check out this aerial video taken by Iftah Gold (Ron’s son) from his DJI Phantom “drone.” We took this footage and other aerial photos at nearby Khirbet ‘Atr (biblical Ether). The site of Ether is mentioned only once in the bible.

Libnah (Tel Burna?), Ether (Khirbet ‘Atr), Ashan, Iphtah, Ashnah, Nezib, Keilah, Achzib, and Mareshah: nine cities with their villages.” (Joshua 15:42–44 ESV)

Thanks Iftah! Maybe next time we can find and identify Iphtah for you :)

Tel Burna from above Khirbet 'Atr (Ether) - view from south.
Tel Burna from above Khirbet ‘Atr (Ether) – view from south.
Khirbet 'Atr (Ether) aerial looking south towards Lachish, notice the wall
Khirbet ‘Atr (Ether) aerial looking south towards Lachish, notice the wall

 

2014 3D Models of Tell and Excavation Areas

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Check out these models of the tell and the excavation areas. The models load best in Google Chrome. Once you are in the model click on “View 3D.”

General tell view (the model is rough with some holes in the mesh. Zoom into tell for a nice view of the west, north and south side of the tell.)

Area A2

Area B

I am of the opinion that these models are very helpful for visualizing the excavation areas. Remember the excavation squares are 5×5 meters, including the sections (balks/baulks) between the squares.

Please let us know if you have viewing problems. Enjoy!

Aerial Photos – End of Season 2014

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Yesterday we took our the final aerial shots of Area A2 and B. This was our first time using a helicopter instead of a balloon. It was really cool to see this machine in action!

In other news, we have set our schedule for next year’s season – June 7-July 5, 2015. Based on our findings from this season – next year should be our best season yet, as we hope to excavate the complete plan of the large 8th century BCE building in A2, the eastern half of the large cultic building in B (including the parallel squares where the most cultic finds were uncovered), and finally begin the great east-west section of the site in which we will hopefully establish the full stratigraphic sequence of the tell. Hope to see you then!

Shaun placing some sandbags in Area B
Shaun placing some sandbags in Area B

Heli Heli 2 heli 3 heli 4

Area B from the monitor
Area B from the monitor

 

This was really cool - it took 7 minutes for 74 photos!
This was really cool – it took 7 minutes for 74 photos!

 

Benjamin waving to the helicopter
Benjamin waving to the helicopter
New (top left) and old (bottom right) excavation squares in Area B
New (top left) and old (bottom right) excavation squares in Area B
General view of excavation areas from west
General view of excavation areas from west
Area A left, Area B right - in the same picture but separated by over half a millennia
Area A left, Area B right – in the same picture but separated by over half a millennia
Area A2 - in the right side of the picture there is a very nice Iron IIB building coming up with a destruction layer. This will be very cool to see next year...
Area A2 – in the right side of the picture there is a very nice Iron IIB building coming up with a destruction layer. This will be very cool to see next year…
New squares in Area B - notice the high bedrock and the tabun in the upper right square
New squares in Area B – notice the high bedrock and the tabun in the upper right square

Office Work…

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Yesterday, was our last day of work at the tell. We were able to close all of the excavation squares and remove the shades. We also had the pleasure of showing Prof. Bill Dever around the site. He told us many interesting anecdotes about his prior archaeological activity in the region. We were very happy to have him out for a visit.

Today we finished all of the pottery washing (!) and reading, as well a packing up the office and the equipment in our brand new storage container.

In the morning Prof. Yoram Tsafrir came to visit us at the camp and I also took him to the site and showed him the excavations.

This evening we heard an interesting lecture by Dr. Antonio de Frietas on the ancient Near Eastern seals and tablets at a museum in Portugal, where he acts as curator. Also in the afternoon, a few of us went back to the nearby site of Kh, Eter (חורבת עתר). It is a very promising site with Iron Age remains (but also later periods) located midway between Lachish and Tel Burna.

Tomorrow morning @ 5:15 am! we will have the final aerial photos and then we will take all of the finds to the lab at Ariel University.

We will post some of the aerial shots over the next couple of days.

 

 

Week 3 Summary

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Three weeks done, one more to go! It was a fantastic week in which we finished working in the Late Bronze Age remains in Area B, defined the plan of 8th century building in Area A, and exposed a destruction level in one of the rooms with complete and smashed vessels in situ. Nearby on the pavement, we uncovered a collection of some 40 burnt olive pits in the cracks of the pavement – hopefully this clean context will provide us an absolute (through C14) date of this building and its destruction. In addition, two more Rosette stamped handles were found from the Iron IIC, which strengthen the Judahite 7th century BCE affiliation of Tel Burna. This is an important argument relating to the site identification with biblical Libnah (Hamutal from Libnah (2 Kings 23:31; 24:18; Jer 52:1).

Finally, as we mentioned last week - we now know the location of the Late Bronze Age cemetery – thanks to some inside information from Herzl and Ido of Kibbutz Beit Nir. On Thursday, we were able to spend a few hours sifting through the materials just inside and around this tomb. This pottery will be read next week and hopefully will provide us a clue to the period or periods associated with this tomb. We already have several nice vessels from the grave robber dump that Herzl reconstructed and graciously allowed us to photograph. Check out the rough 3D model of a Mycenaean IIIB bowl (i.e. 13th century BCE import from Mycenae) that we created. (In order to see the 3D image click on “3D View”)

Old Squares in Area B after balk removal and cleaning
Old Squares in Area B after balk removal and cleaning
2014 excavation squares - down to bedrock
2014 excavation squares – down to bedrock
Closing Area B at the beginning of the week
Closing Area B at the beginning of the week
J drawing the Iron IIB building in A2 while Ido, Benjamin and Min work
J drawing the Iron IIB building in A2 while Ido, Benjamin and Min work
Min with a complete Iron IIB bowl
Min with a complete Iron IIB bowl – Very Cool!
Complete juglet
Cooking Jug in situ in the Iron IIB building
Min and Benjamin removing a balk in A2
Min and Benjamin removing a balk in A2
Sandy, Cook and Min picking up the tent in the morning
Sandy, Cook and Min picking up the tent in the morning
Rosette 2
Another Rosette from the pottery wash/read
Some mother daughter digging
Some mother daughter digging
Ben with a complet Iron II juglet
Benjamin with a complete Iron II jug
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Itzick explaining the significance of this week’s work at the end of week tell tour
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Area B tell tour
Daily pottery reading from this week
Pottery reading from this week
To be or IronIIB...
To be or IronIIB…
Chris and Andrew Sifting Tomb
Chris and Andrew Sifting at the LB tomb
Matt taking some levels in A2
Matt taking some levels in A2
Itzick using a microscopic camera to photograph one of the 2 rosettes we found this week
Itzick using a microscopic camera to photograph one of the 2 rosettes we found this week
Debi taking a picture in PlanGrid of Benjamin in the nice late Iron IIB destruction that we uncovered this season in Area A2
Debi taking a picture in PlanGrid of Benjamin in the nice late Iron IIB destruction that we uncovered this season in Area A2
Benjamin removing a nice cooking juglet from the Iron IIB destruction
Benjamin removing a nice cooking jug from the Iron IIB destruction
Shawn excavating soil from a tomb that was robbed out in the 1970s
Shaun excavating soil from a tomb that was robbed out in the 1970s
Cook working at the Late Bronze Age tomb
Cook working at the Late Bronze Age tomb
Debi showing off J Rosenberg's updated plans of the large and now well-defined late Iron IIB building in A2
Debi showing off J Rosenberg’s updated plans of the large and now well-defined late Iron IIB building in A2
Debi explaining what we have to do next year to get the full plan of this building
Debi explaining what we have to do next year to get the full plan of this building
Courtyard in front of the Iron IIB building in Area A2. We found a cluster of c. 40 burnt olive pits on this pavement. This should provide is with a nice C14 absolute date for the destruction/abdononment of this building and pavement
Courtyard in front of the Iron IIB building in Area A2. We found a cluster of c. 40 burnt olive pits on this pavement. This should provide us with a nice C14 absolute date for the destruction/abandonment of this building and pavement
Stone removal! It seems that every year we have to move this pile one more square over :)
Stone removal! It seems that every year we have to move this pile one more square over :)
Shawn at work in A2
Shaun at work in A2
Most of the Shai clan (Nimrud, Ohad, Abiathar and Elah) washing some pottery Friday morning at the tell
Most of the Shai clan (Nimrud, Ohad, Abiathar and Elah) washing some pottery Friday morning at the tell
Some experienced and beginning diggers came to visit on Friday morning this week
Some experienced and beginning diggers came to visit on Friday morning this week
Cook excavating in the nice destruction that we uncovered in the last couple of days
Cook excavating in the nice destruction that we uncovered in the last couple of days

 

Events This Week

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I will post a summary of the week’s excavations tomorrow, but first a recap of this week’s visitors to the site, our tell tours and evening lectures. This week we added two new volunteers, Shawn (South Africa/US) and Cook (China). They were a great help this week and will be returning for the final week along with Benjamin and Min from Taiwan. Long-time team member, Sandy (not pictured), also dug with us this week until Thursday. Thanks for your hard work Sandy – and we will see you next year.

The Cerw Part 1
The Crew Part 1
The Crew Part 2
The Crew Part 2

We also had to say goodbye to two staff members this week – Andrew and Andrea. Thanks Andrew for your hard work as a staff member in Area B this summer. Best of luck finding virgin soil of the massive (EB?) fortification at Tell es-Safi/Gath in the coming few weeks. And Andrea, as always, thanks for your hard work and providing us with the ability to look for even the dietary elements of the ancient Canaanites and Judahites who inhabited the site. We will see you both next year!

Andrea having fun with a soil sample. She was very happy to see Germany win last night :)
Andrea having fun with a soil sample. She was very happy to see Germany win last night :)
Andrew in Area B
Andrew in Area B

On Monday, we had the pleasure to host Prof. Gunnar Lehmann of Ben Gurion University, and while showing him the site and the excavations we discussed various aspects of the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age settlement pattern and material culture in southern Israel. In particular, it was interesting to compare his work in the northern Negev (Qubur al-Walaydah and other sites) to the Shephelah region. We also had a tell tour at the mothership (Tell es-Safi/Gath).

Tell tour at Tell es-Safi/Gath
Tell tour at Tell es-Safi/Gath

On Tuesday, we heard a very interesting lecture by Ron Tappy, the excavator of Tel Zayit. His lecture pointed to many connections and differences between our site and Tel Zayit, which is only about 2 km to the west of Tel Burna. There are some very intriguing Late Bronze connections between Zayit and Burna which we hope to investigate more of in the future. On Wednesday, our very own textile expert, Debi Cassuto, presented a very nice talk on the development, usages and typical archaeological findings related to textile production. We all had fun trying our hand at the spindle with spindle whorl at the end of the talk. Also on Wednesday Matt, Benjamin, Min, Andrew and myself took an impromptu visit to Khirbet ‘Atr, which is about 2km to the east of Tel Burna next to Tel Goded (Maresheth-Gath?) and Tell Sandahanna (Mareshah).

Chris on what appears to be Iron II fortification at Khirbet 'Atr
Chris on what appears to be Iron II fortification at Khirbet ‘Atr

On Thursday, Tell es-Safi/Gath staff members, Jeff Chadwick and Eric Welch (Area F), came by to see what we were up to. They begin their season this Sunday and – as always – the continued joint exposure of our site and Tell es-Safi/Gath should greatly illuminate our understanding of the Shephelah and its borders in the Early Bronze-Iron Age II (c. 3300-586 BCE). Throughout the week, we had many visitors and volunteers working at the site and back at the kibbutz in pottery washing. Thanks to all those who came out! DSC_0729

Ohad is very pleased with his pottery washing abilities
Ohad is very pleased with his pottery washing abilities
Filling buckets for pottery washing
Filling buckets for pottery washing
Abiathar and Sam doing some serious pottery washing
Abiathar and Sam doing some serious pottery washing

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Boys, mud (from the flotation machine) and trucks - this was Sam's "pool"
Boys, mud (from the flotation machine) and trucks – this was Sam’s “pool”

Aaron and Hanoch Visitors 3 Visitors 2 Vistors 1