This last Friday was our community archaeology day – and many old and new friends (and family 🙂 came out to work on the dig for the day. Community archaeology remains an important aspect of the project. We had several nice finds including fragments of a Judean Pillared Figurine, as well as more progress on exposing the fortifications.
On Monday, the team removed several walls that were excavated in previous seasons in Area B2 and we now have a nice view of the fortifications. I was told that Terry and Jerry’s presence was particularly missed in the wall demolition and removal! Among the interesting finds in this removal was a very nice head of an Iron II horse figurine.
It is still not entirely clear when the Iron II casemate wall was constructed (late 10th century BCE? 9th century BCE?), but it is now clear that there was a large glacis (stone/earth fill) added to the outer casemate wall on its western side sometime after its construction. This can be seen by the long,”crappy” walls that run perpendicular from the fortification walls. These are actually interior dividing walls that were used to construct the glacis for the strengthening of the fortification wall. Interestingly, and despite the fact that the glacis was constructed at some time in the Iron II (9th or 8th century?), this glacis in Area B2 was filled with Late Bronze material that showed lots of evidence of metallurgical activity. We now believe that these LB metallurgical materials were “stolen” from Area B1 where the 13th century cultic enclosure was located. Thus, this data tells us much about the realities of the Iron II city in which the glacis was constructed – apparently on the west (towards Philistia) only – as well as giving us answers as to why the eastern part of the Late Bronze enclosure was so purely preserved when compared with the rich assemblage in the west of Area B1.
Thanks to Tamir Schwartz and Benjamin Yang for the photos (and awesome photogrammetric model from Benyamin!)
Area B2 is starting to look very nice with finds and the Iron II fortifications beginning to emerge. Today, Debi gave a talk to the team dealing with ancient textile production. Tomorrow, Adi Eliyahu – long-time team member and specialist in archaeological sciences, especially metallurgy, will be joining the team as they excavate the nice collection of loom weights inside the fortification.
Thanks to Debi and Benjamin for the photos!
The team continues to plug away through the first couple of days – the excavation squares are beginning to take back their shape and the weeds are falling.
We are also excited to have a new preliminary report on the excavations appear in Hadashot Archaeologiot – this report will catch you up on much of the work that has been going on at Burna in the last decade or so.
After a year hiatus, we are officially back in the field! Yesterday, the team made the annual pilgrimage to the container (which is extremely hot this time of year!) to remove all of the equipment for excavations. Today – excavations have resumed. This year – we are focusing on Area B2 – which is a long section on the west side of the tel. The purpose of Area B2 is to establish the full stratigraphic sequence of Burna – from the top all the way down to bedrock – or chronologically speaking from the Persian period (latest) to the Early Bronze Age (presumed earliest). To that end, Aharon (area supervisor B2) and his team are focusing on several chronological issues this season. One area of investigation is inside the Iron II casemate fortifications where in 2019 – the team exposed the beginning of a collection of loom weights (used on a warp weighted loom for textile production), which may also be related to a destruction layer. Since Debi is a leading expert on textiles – we are excited to see what comes of this exciting find. We are also trying to finish excavating the large destruction layer in Area B2 from the 10th century BCE that was uncovered in previous seasons, as well as (hopefully) finally determining a specific Iron II date for the casemate fortifications that surround the tel. Check out some aerial photos of the tel with the team in action!
Check out the nice new dig shirts for 2021! Props to Debi for the design. We are happy to be back in the field next month – albeit in a limited capacity.
Check out the nice Q&A between Itzick and Megan Sauter of Bible History Daily focusing on what the Tel Burna Archaeological Project accomplished during the pandemic.
Last week, Martin Janovský along with several members of the Tel Burna team gave a nice presentation entitled “Biblical Tel Burna: contribution of POSL and PXRF to the discussion on sedimentary and site formation processes in archaeological contexts of the southern Levant” at the EGU General Assembly 2021. This presentation focused on the use of POSL (portable optically stimulated luminescence), granulometry and PXRF (portable X-ray fluorescence).
This last week, I had the privilege of presenting on the interesting Late Bronze finds from Tel Burna in a workshop arranged by our very own Antonio de Freitas. All told, it was nice online workshop with some interesting follow-up discussion.
Canaanite Cult with a Cypriot Scent: A View from Tel Burna, Israel
Itzhaq Shai, (Ariel University of Samaria) & Chris McKinny (Gesher Media)
Over a decade of excavations at Tel Burna (Israel), a unique and fascinating cultic building was exposed. The building is well-dated to the 13th century BCE (Late Bronze Age). The finds indicate ritual practices within the Building and show local Canaanite tradition accompanied by Cypriot customs. In this lecture, we will present the building and the finds with an emphasis on the cultic materials. In addition, special attention will be put on the various imported items, which reflect a transcultural connection between Canaan and Cyprus. We will also discuss the local Canaanite cult practices and the meaning of the foreign elements for the local people who worshipped within this building.
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!