The first week of our fourth excavation season at Tel Burna has officially come and gone – and with it came several nice finds and stratigraphic clarifications…
In Area A – it is becoming pretty clear that we have two phases of 8th cent. BCE (i.e. Iron Age IIB) activity. When we put this together with what we know from previous seasons the stratigraphic sequence of the entire site looks something like this:
1. 1948/1967 Israeli military activity (foxholes on the summit)
2. Persian 6th cent. BCE – squatters (poorly preserved walls)
3. Iron IIC 7th cent. BCE – silos in an unfortified(?) settlement (on the summit and inside the fortifications)
4. Iron IIB 8th cent. BCE – well-built buildings with a couple of phases (on the summit)
5. Iron IIA 9th cent. BCE – occupational debris and possibly the date of the fortifications (although they could be earlier)
6. Iron IIA-Iron I 10th-12th cent. BCE ??? (future seasons will hopefully tell us more – so far a few Philistine sherds have been found in secondary contexts)
7. Late Bronze IIB 13th cent. BCE – western lower platform, large well-built cultic(?) building
8. LBIIA-EB 14th cent. BCE-3rd millenium BCE ??? (future seasons… – so far a few MB II sherds in secondary contexts and some EB sherds from the survey)
In area B – it seems that there is an additional structure built to the north of our large public building associated with the chalices, ritual masks, zoomorphic vessels and Cypriot imports. In this structure we found several complete smashed storejars lying in situ (in place) and several other finds including fragments of chalices, several hammer stones and cooking pots.
Back at the Kibbutz on Thursday night, we listened to several team members present interesting lectures on their specific part in a large project directed at understanding Monotheism in the Persian/Early Second Temple period (sponsored by Göttingen University). Matt, Mette, Lydia, Isaac, and Reed all did a great job – safe travels back to Germany. Thanks for all of your hard work – we hope to see you next year!
All told it was a great first week. Here are some photos from the last two days of excavations…