Excavation License for 2021 Season!

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Today – we received the excavation license for the 2021 season at Tel Burna – which means that we are getting closer and closer to being back in the field! If you have an interest in joining us this summer – fill out the excavation application here. We’d love to see you in the field with us – as we excavate gates, destruction layers, fortifications, and more!

Writeup in BAR

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Check out the nice writeup in Biblical Archaeological Review on our plans for next summer (interview with Itzick) and, also, a very nice discussion with Steve Ortiz on the opening of the new Lanier Archaeological Institute at Lipscomb University. We are planning on excavating this summer – we would love for you to join us!

Reminder – Registration is Open

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As we look forward to this summer’s season – we wanted to remind our readers that registration is now open to participate in the 2021 Tel Burna Excavation season. We are very excited to get back into the field! See the photos below demonstrating the restoration of the 10th century BCE layer from Area B2… Don’t miss your chance to help us uncover more of their siblings at Biblical Libnah 🙂

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

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As 2020 comes to a close – we would like to wish – to all who celebrate – a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We are very excited for all of the ongoing Tel Burna-related research and we look forward to a very fruitful 2021. With the good news of a COVID vaccine beginning to take effect in Israel (as well as abroad) we really hope that we will be able to have a normal and successful excavation season! Consider joining us as we expose the gate that Sennacherib (likely) conquered, the buildings that Josiah’s wife – Hamutal – grew up with, destruction layers from the times of Solomon and Hazael, and more!

Second part of interview on the Windows to the Bible podcast

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For part 1 see here.

Here is part 2 of my interview with Marc Turnage (interview begins at minute 3:30). I have also attached a map about my main topic of discussion – Saul’s demise on Mount Gilboa and its aftermath. See also the map below – higher res here. Enjoy 🙂

Interview on Burna and other things at Windows to the Bible Podcast

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Marc Turnage of Windows to the Bible has just released part 1 of an interview with me that covers several elements associated with historical geography, the excavations of Tel Burna, and my understanding of the role of the “two swords” (of Goliath and Saul) in the narrative and geographical setting of 1 Samuel 17–31. Part 1 ends on a cliff-hanger 🙂 I have also posted a map I made using Google Earth (higher res here) that illustrates the narrative of 1 Samuel 17. Enjoy 🙂

I will post part 2 and the accompanying map when it becomes available!

Martin’s Lecture and a new article out

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Today, Martin gave a presentation over Zoom (here is the presentation itself) on the finds from Tel Burna in connection with his ongoing research. See below for a few screenshots of the lecture.

Also – hot-off-the-press! Martin and a number of other members from the team have just published a very nice paper – the abstract of the paper can be accessed here. Way to go Martin, Jan, Oren, Aharon, Debi, Ladislav, Micahl, Yaakov, and Itzick!

Janovský, Martin Petr, Jan Horák, Oren Ackermann, Aharon Tavger, Deborah Cassuto, Ladislav Šmejda, Michal Hejcman, Yaakov Anker, and Itzhaq Shai. “The Contribution of POSL and PXRF to the Discussion on Sedimentary and Site Formation Processes in Archaeological Contexts of the Southern Levant and the Interpretation of Biblical Strata at Tel Burna.” Quaternary International (2020). http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1040618220308132.

Week on a dig video by Bruno!

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Happy thanksgiving to all who celebrate!

Check out Bruno’s new video in which he interviewed several members of the team – check it out!

2021 Registration Open!

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We remain hopeful that we will be in the field for the 2021 field season. We long to get back to the research questions related to the Late Bronze temple, the 10th century BCE destruction, the nature of the Iron II 9th-7th century settlement, and the gate complex(es?). We also cannot wait to catch up with our colleagues and old excavation friends. To that end – we are opening the 2021 registration – the details can be found here (direct link to form here) – we hope you will consider joining us as we dig up Biblical Libnah 🙂

You can also see a brief write-up about the upcoming season here.

Ether/Khirbet ʿAter – 2020 Survey tomorrow!

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We are very excited to announce that tomorrow (Nov 19) we will be in the field for a new survey of Khirbet ʿAter – biblical Ether (Josh 15:42; 19:7)! This town is mentioned in the same context as Libnah – and is almost-universally identified with Khirbet ʿAter which preserves the name. I discussed the potential significance of this site – as well as our goals for surveying it in this summer’s lecture (start around minute 30 or so for the Ether material). Faithful readers of the blog might remember my long-time interest in this site – I am very excited to see what will come of our investigation!

Aharon, Debi, Benjamin and others will lead a group of 20 or so people tomorrow in surveying the site. Benjamin has prepared a very nice survey map of the site. The surveyors will use this map, which is divided into distinct topographic units, to collect pottery. This will then allow us to have a better understanding of not only the dating of the site, but the development of the site through different periods.

Here are a few thoughts about the site:

The circular fortifications(?) of the site, which may be contemporary to the Iron Age fortifications at Tel Burna, are the most important architectural feature that we will be investigating. It seems that these fortifications were re-used as foxholes in the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, which is something that we have also observed at Tel Burna. The image below shows very clearly the circular fortifications, the foxholes inside of them, and (in darker red) the large building, which I will discuss next.

Khirbet ʿEtar/Ether DEM (Digital Elevation Model) prepared by Jane Gaastra with drone imagery from Terry Nichols

There is also a large building in the middle of the tel which seems to date later than the fortifications – we will be surveying this separately in order to hopefully gain enough data to suggest a date (Byzantine?)

The surrounding area around the tel has lots of agricultural installations that we hope to locate for future analysis. It also seems that there was a small Byzantine settlement to the east of the tel. We are very close to Eleutheropolis/Beit Guvrin – which was a major Late Roman/Byzantine center.

We will keep you posted on what we find!