So as we have mentioned before, one of our targets this season is to focus on the fortifications on the upper tell. So as a bit of background, well, architecture on the surface is usually a difficult thing to date, until you excavate it. In fact, when attempts have been made to date architecture through survey, they have not always been successful. In fact, this is also one of our long term goals at the site – to try and refine survey methods in order to enable them to do more, such as date architectural features on the surface of tells. In the case of Tel Burna, according to our survey results, the fortifications on summit should date to the Iron Age II. That is because nearly all pottery collected on the top dates to this period.
As things stand right now, it seems that the Iron Age II (and without getting into chronological debates,we’d say that our pottery roughly dates to the 9th and 8th centuries BCE) is the most extensive settlement on the tel, with an area of about 8 hectares (80 dunam). Linked with other pieces of evidence, such as the lamashtu plaque featured on the t-shirt, and Biblical accounts, it would seem that Tel Burna played a major role, as a significant settlement along the border between Judah and the Philistines.