Matt Gets Tenure!

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Congratulations to Matt for receiving tenure from the University of Maryland! Way to go Matt! Well-deserved!



Registration Deadline Extended – May 15

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We are rapidly approaching this summer’s season – and it promises to be very interesting – as we plan on opening at least one new area! And without giving away too many details – in this new area, we will be searching for something which rhymes with “date” 🙂

Speaking of dates – we are extending the registration deadline from May 1 to May 15 – see you still have some time to sign up.

New Book out by Matt!

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Our very own Matt Suriano has just published a book entitled A History of Death in the Hebrew Bible with Oxford University Press. Way to go Matt!



Here are a few main arguments in the book:

  • Reinterprets death in the Hebrew Bible as a dynamic process that can continue after burial rather than a static event
  • Suggests the tomb represented a positive image of postmortem existence and a constructive ideal of the afterlife
  • Compares Hebrew funerary inscriptions from the Iron Age with motifs found in biblical literature
  • Integrates the archaeological analysis of Iron Age mortuary remains from Judah with the interpretation of death in the Hebrew Bible

New Paper in Honor of Kay Fountain

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We are pleased to announce that another paper dealing with finds from Tel Burna has been published. This paper is a festschrift honoring Kay Fountain on the occasion of her retirement. Kay regularly joins us in the field – and we were thrilled to be able to offer this study!

And a special shout-out goes to Benjamin Yang for his first publication! Way to go!

The full bibliographic details are as follows:

2018: McKinny, C., B. Yang, D. Cassuto, and I. Shai. “Illuminating a Canaanite and Judahite Town: The Archaeological Background of Tel Burna.” In The Old Testament in Theology and Teaching: Essays in Honor of Kay Fountain, edited by Teresa Chai and Dave Johnson. Asia Pacific Theological Seminary Press.

New Paper in ANE Today

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Fresh off the “press” – a new short paper (with lots of illustrations) dealing with aspects of Late Bronze Age cult as found at Tel Burna has been published by ANE Today (ASOR).

The full reference is below:

2018: Shai, I. and McKinny, C. “Canaanite Religion at Tel Burna in the 13th century BCE.” Ancient Near East Today 6(3). 

We’d also like to use this opportunity to remind you that we are rapidly approaching this summer’s excavation season! Here is the application – don’t miss your opportunity to take part in the next cool discovery 🙂

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