We have extended the registration deadline for signing up to participate in this summer’s season at Tel Burna to June 1. This season promises to have very interesting discoveries – as we will be continuing to excavate a Canaanite temple, a metallurgical complex, the enigmatic fortifications (that may be earlier than we previously thought), and earlier Iron Age levels from the 9th and maybe 10th centuries BC on the summit of the tell.
If you have been waiting to sign-up – here’s your chance! The excavation application can be found here.
A new article by Šmejda, L.; Hickman, M.; Horák, A.; and Shai, I. dealing with the analysis of the “accumulation of nutrients in archaeological soils” at Tel Burna has just appeared in Catena. You can access the paper here. Way to go!
Here is the abstract:
“Human settlement activities are connected with the accumulation of nutrients in archaeological soils. We address the question of whether the large-scale mapping of the elemental composition of the topsoil in contemporary rangeland can be used for the detection of ancient settlement activities.
Using portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF), we mapped the elemental composition of contemporary soils over an area of 67 ha in and around the Bronze and Iron Age settlement of Tel Burna (identified as probably corresponding with biblical Libnah).
Ancient settlement activities substantially increased concentrations of nutrients (P, K, S, Zn and Cu) in the contemporary topsoil owing to the deposition of biomass ashes and organic wastes. Increased concentrations of elements were detected 2500 years after the site was abandoned and we can therefore suppose that changes in the elemental composition of the soil caused by ancient settlement activities are irreversible on a timescale in which human societies operate. Ancient settlement activities increased concentrations of nutrients in contemporary soil to the same level as recent intensive fertiliser application on an adjacent arable field used for vegetable production. Concentrations of nutrients higher than those on the tell summit were recorded only in recent cattle resting areas with intensive deposition of cattle faeces. Changes in the elemental composition of the soil caused by ancient settlement activities consequently result in differential nutrient availability for contemporary vegetation, affecting ecosystem functions for thousands of years. Using pXRF, large-scale mapping of the elemental composition of the topsoil layer at archaeological sites can help to identify the extent and provide basic information on the character of past human activities in the affected landscape units.”
The Full Reference:
Šmejda, L.; Hickman, M.; Horák, A.; and Shai, I. 2017. “Ancient settlement activities as important sources of nutrients (P, K, S, Zn and Cu) in Eastern Mediterranean ecosystems – the case of biblical Tel Burna, Israel.” Catena (156) 62-73.
We are pleased to announce that a new article has just appeared in O. Lipschits and A.M. Maeir (eds.) “…as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the Shephelah” (I Kings 10:2) Recent Archaeological Research in the Shephelah of Judah: The Iron Age. Eisenbrauns: Winona Lake, Indiana. This paper (authored by Itzick) deals with the nature of Tel Burna during the Iron II.
The full reference is below:
Shai, I. 2017. Tel Burna – A Judahite Fortified Town in the Shephelah. Pp. 45-60 in O. Lipschits and A.M. Maeir (eds.) “…as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the Shephelah” (I Kings 10:2) Recent Archaeological Research in the Shephelah of Judah: The Iron Age. Eisenbrauns: Winona Lake, Indiana.
Way to go Itzick!
Last week, Itzick and Debi visited the tel with Prof. Steve Ortiz of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and co-director of the Tel Gezer excavations (Tandy Institute). Besides discussing the remains at the site and enjoying the spring vegetation, they also discussed the possibility of future collaboration at Burna with the Tandy Institute.
On March 2 @ 10:00 AM – Andrea Orendi, our own archaeo-botanist and flotation specialist/enthusiast, will be presenting on the “Agricultural Landscape of Tel Burna” at the Landscape of Archaeology Conference at the Hebrew University. If you are in Jerusalem, come see Andrea and a number of other very interesting/important lectures! The details can be found at the following link conference-book-19-feb.
Happy New Year to our readers, followers, past participants, staff, etc.!
2016 was a great year in the areas of field work (great volunteers), lab (new lab at Ariel University), funding (ISF – Israel Science Foundation grant for 3 years), and publications. We look forward to 2017 for another fruitful season of research. Happy New Year!
We would also like to point you to another dig scholarship opportunity – Jane C. Waldbaum Archaeological Field School Scholarship through the Archaeological Institute of America.