Lecture and Field Tour Schedule for Excavation

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As usual, we will have a nice slate of field tours and lectures this upcoming excavation season (see below). We also still have a few spots left! If you are on the fence about coming this summer – get off the fence and come help us find the gate 🙂

TEL BURNA 2019 LECTURES (Tentative):

Each week there will be various lectures and tours. Monday is touring sites in the region with an emphasis on sites recently or currently being excavated. There will be three lectures each week. Lectures focus on 1) principles and methods of excavation, 2) history and archaeology of the southern Levant, and 3) various approaches to analysis of the material record.

Week 1

  • S        Tel Burna-A Decade of Research (Prof. Itzick Shai)
  • M       Site Tour: Northern Shephelah: Beth Shemesh, Gezer
  • T       Bib Arch in 21st C (Prof. Itzick Shai) or Arch Meth & Theory (Prof. Steven Ortiz)
  • W       Tombs Remembered – Tombs Forgotten: Studying the Iron Age Tombs and Tomb Inscriptions from Jerusalem (Prof. Matthew Suriano)
  • Th      Principles of Field Documentation- PlanGrid (Dr. Chris McKinny); Photogrammetry (Dr. Jane Gaastra)
  • Fri-Sat: Weekend Study Tours: The Judean Wilderness and the Negev (Dr. Chris McKinny)

Week 2

  • M       Archaeological Site Survey: Method and Practice (Dr. Aharon Tavger)
  • T       Site Tour: Gath of the Philistines: Tel es-Safi (Prof. Aren Maeir)
  • W      Late Bronze Age (PhD student Marcella Barbosa)
  • Th     Zooarchaeology and Archaeo-Botany (Prof. Tina Greenfield and Dr. Andrea Orendi)
  • Fri-Sun 3-Day weekend for Study Tour: The Northern Regions (coast, Galilee, Golan Heights) (Dr. Chris McKinny)

Week 3

  • S       Site Tour: E-Rai (Prof. Yossi Garfinkel) and Lachish (Dig Staff)
  • T       Textile Workshop (Dr. Debi Cassuto)
  • W      Iron Age (Dr. Aharon Tavger)
  • Th     GIS and Archaeology (Prof. Ladislav Smedja) + Soil Analysis – (Prof. Michael Hejman)
  • Fri-Sun Weekend Study Tour: Jerusalem and its environs (Dr. Chris McKinny)

Week 4

  • M       Site Tour: TBD
  • T       TBD
  • W      Final Photos
  • Th      (at Ariel University) Ceramic Restoration Process + Shiloh (Drs. Chris McKinny and Aharon Tavger)

New Paper on the Pithoi from Area B1

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We are happy to announce that our paper on the two Cypriot Pithoi found in Area B1 has been published!

One of the large pithoi mentioned in the article

Here is the abstract:

Bronze Age trade in the Eastern Mediterranean is well attested in south Levantine archaeological research, with imported vessels generally playing a significant role in the ceramic assemblage. While the majority of these vessels are found repeatedly at many different sites, there are cases where a rare find sheds new light on the way in which trade patterns are perceived. Such is the case with two fully restored pithoi found in a Late Bronze IIB building at Tel Burna. This paper presents the context in which the pithoi were uncovered, followed by a study of the vessels themselves, including their typology, provenance, volume and contents, as well as the nature of Late Bronze Age trade in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The full bibliographic details:

2019: Shai, I.; McKinny, C.; Spigelman, Ben-Shlomo, D., Karasik, A., Namdar, D., and Uziel, J. Late Bronze Age Trade as Seen through the Eyes of Two Cypriot Pithoi on a Shephelah Hilltop. Tel Aviv 46: 63–80.

New Paper on Tel Burna – relating to its possible identification of Libnah

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Aharon and myself have just received the proofs of our article entitled “From Lebonah to Libnah” which discusses the sites of Lebonah (near Shiloh, see Judges 21:19) and Libnah.

See here for the announcement. Below is the full bibliographic details with abstract of the paper.

2019: McKinny, Chris; Tavger, Aharon. 6. “From Lebonah to Libnah: Historical Geographical Details from the PEF and other Early Secondary Sources on the Toponymy of Two Homonymous Sites.” Pp. 107-122. Exploring the Holy Land – 150 Years of the Palestine Exploration Fund , edited by D. Guervich and A. Kidron. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom.

Charles Warren’s Map of Philistia – showing Tel Burna as “Tell Bulnard”


“There are three instances of toponyms based on לבנ in the Bible. These include Libnah/Laban of the wilderness Sinai wanderings (Num 33:20; Deut 1:1), Lebonah of Ephraim (Judg 21:19), and Libnah of the Judean Shephelah (e.g., Josh 10:29-31). Notably, the latter two are possibly preserved in Arabic toponyms from 19th century Palestine. These toponyms were recorded with varying spellings in such cartographic projects as the Van de Velde’s Map of the Holy Land (1854, 1858, 1865), Warren’s unpublished Reconnaissance of the Plain of Philistia (1867), and Conder and Kitchener’s Survey of Western Palestine (1882, 1883, 1880), the latter two which were conducted under the auspices of the Palestine Exploration Fund. Using these and other cartographic sources as the basis for our discussion, we will analyze the etymology and site identifications of Lebonah of Ephraim and Libnah of the Shephelah in connection with their occurrences in the various post-biblical sources with the purpose of understanding the linguistic development of the לבנ toponyms from the biblical period to pre-modern times. Our analysis shows that the toponymic history of these sites corroborates the current identifications of Lebonah with el-Lubban and Libnah with Tell Bornat.”

Presentation Tomorrow at SWCRS

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I will be lecturing on “Tel Burna – After a Decade of Investigation (2009-2018)” tomorrow at the SWCRS (Southwest Commission on Religious Studies) conference in Fort Worth. We have certainly made a dent in the tell 🙂

Deadline Extended until April 15

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We have had a number of volunteers sign-up over the last couple of weeks – but we still have some spots left! If you are interested in joining the project for this summer’s season – please click here. We have extended the deadline until April 15. You can also check out our freshly updated site in the “Academic” section to see how you can get academic credit for the excavation and also take part in the weekend tours.

Jane excavating a 10th Century BCE destruction layer in the 2018 season

BAS Scholarships

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For those interested in funding for excavating this summer see the just announced BAS scholarships.