Itzick Gets a Promotion to Associate Professor!

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Hearty congratulations are in order to Itzik – our director and fearless leader – who has just earned the promotion of Associate Professor at Ariel University!

Way to go Prof. Shai!

HT: Aren Maeir



New Paper on the Archaeobotanical Remains from Tel Burna

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A new (and quite interesting) paper has just been published on the archaeobotanical remains from Areas A2, B1, and C in the Journal of Landscape Ecology. This paper was spearheaded by Andrea, but includes contributions from a number of our staff including Ladislav, myself, Debi, Casey, and Itzick. Nice work team! 🙂

Here is the abstract:

“The Shephelah, known as the breadbasket of the southern Levant, is one of the more extensively investigated regions of the southern Levant in terms of archaeobotanical research. However, studies dealing with agriculture are scarce in comparison to the archaeobotanical data available. The analysis of the archaeobotanical assemblage in combination with the archaeological remains from Tel Burna will contribute to the investigation of the agriculture of the Shephelah. Several seasons of excavation revealed a cultic complex dating to the Late Bronze Age and an Iron Age II settlement with various agricultural installations such as silos and wine or olive presses. In this paper, we present the agricultural features in conjunction with the systematical archaeobotanical sampling, which enables us to reconstruct the types of crop plants cultivated at the site. Grass pea seeds dominate the assemblage collected from the Late Bronze Age complex, which may point to a connection to the Aegean. The Iron Age assemblage is distinguished by a significantly broad range of crop plants which were cultivated in vicinity of the tell. The archaeological Iron Age remains indicate that the processing of secondary products such as olive oil, wine, or textiles took place within the Iron Age settlement of Tel Burna. This first comprehensive overview describes the character of agricultural production in the Late Bronze Age to Iron Age environmental and geopolitical transformations.”


And the bibliographic entry with a link:

2017: Orendi, A., L. Smejda, C. McKinny, D. Cassuto, C. Sharp, and I. Shai. The Agricultural Landscape of Tel Burna: Ecology and Economy of a Bronze Age/Iron Age Settlement in the Southern Levant. Journal of Landscape Ecology 10(3): 165–188.

Andrea with the flotation machine

Summer Field Tour Schedule

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We are excited to announce that we will be offering guided weekend field tours during this summer’s excavation season (June 20-July 24, 2018, see here for the excavation application).

The field tours will consist of a Jerusalem introduction weekend (June 23-24), a Negev and Dead Sea weekend (June 29-July 1), a Galilee and the north extended weekend (July 6-8), a Jerusalem and its surroundings weekend (July 14-15), and concluding with a trip to Shiloh, Mount Gerizim, and the Israel Musem (July 19-20). Besides visiting over 30 sites, we will also have the opportunity to swim in the Dead Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and Sea of Galilee!

Note: these weekend tours are in addition to the weekly Shephelah tours (e.g., Lachish, Azekah, Khirbet Qeiyafa, Beth-shemesh, etc.)

These field tours will be led by yours truly. The cost for the weekend trips is $900, which includes transportation, entrance fees, hotels, and breakfast/dinner. Academic credit is also available through Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for an additional fee.

You can also download a tentative schedule here.



Sad News – Passing of Julio

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We are saddened to relay the news that Julio Kobiler has passed away.

Julio was the great-grandfather in-law of Itzick (and great-grandfather of Ela).  Among other things was the oldest member of our project – having participated at least one day in every excavation season since we started (and had a knack for finding very nice finds!). He will be sorely missed!


Scholarship Opportunities

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It is that time of year again – time to plan for the 2018 Tel Burna Season! You can register online here.

Here are some scholarship opportunities that were recently announced.

ASOR Fellowships

Archaeological Institute of America


New Paper out on Burna’s Adaption of PlanGrid

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Check out the newly published paper by myself and Itzick, which discusses our experience using the construction app PlanGrid as a digital recording tool. It was published in what appears to be a very interesting volume on digital/cyber-archaeology by Tom Levy and Ian Jones.

The full entry is the following:

Figure 8 – Backing up PlanGrid with daily “issue packet”

Happy Holidays!

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With Channukah already here and Christmas approaching – we would like to wish everyone a Happy Holiday and a Great New Year!

If you would like to make a new year’s resolution to excavate a Canaanite and Judahite town in 2018 – we know just the place 🙂

You can sign up here if you want to come join the fun!