FREE SEMINAR ON FRIDAY, SEPT. 14 “Recent Evidence for Israel’s United Kingdom” LANIER THEOLOGICAL LIBRARY
Next week, I will be participating in a conference dealing with the United Monarchy (Dr. Steve Ortiz is also a presenter) at the Lanier Theological Library in Houston Texas.
You can read more about the conference and register here (it’s free).
Today was the last day of the season – we took all of the finds to the lab in Ariel. While there – the staff gave a brief presentation of the ongoing pottery restoration and past finds from the excavation.
After a very nice hummus lunch – we drove over to Mount Gerizim above modern Nablus/ancient Shechem – the geographical background to a sizable section of the biblical narrative.
On the way back to the kibbutz – we also stopped off at Izbet Sartah – commonly identified with Ebenezer (1 Samuel 4) – to examine Finkelstein’s excavations of the site back in the 1970s.
All told – this was a fantastic season with very important and interesting discoveries. Each area – accomplished well beyond what we set out to accomplish at the beginning of the season – and on account of this we would like to thank our amazing team for all of their hard work and great attitudes.
In a few days or so – I will put together a season summary which will include some nice visuals of the tell/different areas of excavation.
Today was our last day digging at the site. Despite soaring temperatures, we managed to remove almost all of the equipment, the shades, etc. and pack it all up for next year.
Despite closing down all areas – we had a couple nice developments.
In Area B2 – the vessels continue – two complete vessels – a jug and a juglet were uncovered by Elizabeth (and her square B7 counterpart – Jane) – who must have set the Tel Burna record for most complete vessels excavated in a single season! They also have a great context with a very nice accumulation of seeds and other organic material. We look forward to excavating this destruction layer more in the future as well as a studying the abundant remains uncovered in the last two seasons.
In G – we finally found the other face of a very large wall that may be a Persian or Iron IIC structure built in connection with the fortifications. We will know more about this next season.
This afternoon – we have been packing up, finishing pottery washing/reading/registering and tying up loose ends – which will continue for the next couple of days. A couple of us went on a brief excursion to nearby Lachish – to look at the very large and impressive site to which Tel Burna has lots of parallels albeit in a much smaller package. The majority of the group also heard an interesting lecture by Prof. Michal Hejcman dealing with ancient environments, agricultural developments, etc. across many different landscapes.
Tomorrow – we will head to the tell even earlier in the morning to give a final sweep of the areas before the final drone photos.
This weekend – much of the team toured in either Galilee or Jerusalem. My small tour group visited Herodium, Mount of Olives, the Israel Museum, the Temple Mount, and the City of David. In the City of David – Yiftah Shalev (co-director with Yuval Gadot) gave us a very interesting tour of the Givati Parking excavations in the Central Valley, and we also received a very nice tour of the amazing stepped street built during he rule of Pontius Pilate (built exactly between 26-33 CE!). Very interesting to see these discoveries in the context of an excavation before they will be visited by tourists.
Yesterday afternoon – I gave a general lecture on the archaeological and geographical background of the Shephelah.
Today – we were excavating in all areas and working towards shutting down each area for the season.
In A2 – a very nice LMLK Hebron deal impression was uncovered by Kevin and Sheila (who visited us for the day – it was great to see them!) Matt was particularly excited about this find as he scrutinizes every similar handle looking for impressions 🙂 Also – Debi and co. began closing down the area – as they removed the shades.
In B2 – much of the area has also been closed down except for the destruction layer which continues to be fantastic and quite labor intensive for both those digging it (Jane, Elizabeth and Elijah) and those trying to register the myriad of finds (Aharon, Sam and Matt).
In G – we are also working towards closing out the area for the end of the season. However, we have come down on the face of a very large wall which is pretty clearly the outer fortification wall – Ira and Gil (as well as Yarden and Shira) have now have exposed a substantial face of this massive wall which will hopefully allow us to better understand this area in the future and maybe provide clues to exposing the gatehouse. Bruno, Christian L, Marcella, and Ian also were working hard exposing both sides of what might be another piece of the fortification wall – although that remains to be seen.
We also had a number of visitors today including Ami Mazar, Baruch Brandl, Sam Wolff, Laura Mazow, Ido Koch, and Lidar Sapir-Hen.
This afternoon – Prof. Steve Ortiz led the team on a tour of Gezer – where they have worked the last decade.
Today – we had a lot of families (many familiar and friendly faces 🙂 join us for an abbreviated excavation day at the tell. We remain very much committed to the ideal of “community archaeology” and exposing people of all ages to the joys of archaeological discovery.
We also said goodbye (until next season) – to a few team members – here is a pic of Benjamin Yang beside Benjamin Gruber – Benjamin square 🙂 It was also the last day for Dr. Tina Greenfield and Dr. Andrea Orendi – see you next time!
We had good progress in all of the areas.
In A2 – the Persian pit continues and continues – it will be very interesting to reach the end – maybe we will find ourselves in a much earlier period at the bottom.
In B2 – Matt, Sam, Elijah, and Aharon have been furiously trying to keep up the recording/registration of the dozens of pottery baskets, complete vessels, crucibles, grinding stones, flotation samples, etc., etc. while Jane, Ben, Elizabeth and others continue to expose the Qeiyafa horizon destruction with immaculate precision.
In G – massive architecture continues to appear – Bruno, Seth, Christian L, and Marcella removed two balks and it seems very clear that we have a large well built building with a couple of phases. Ira, Gil, and Nimrod and Ochad Shai worked on exposing the outer face of yet another massive wall that seems to be connected with the fortifications. Gal Avraham and his family (and a few friends) also helped dig through the collapse of the fortification wall. We are all set for a great final week and we are excited to share some 3D models of the areas!
This afternoon – around 10 people from the team went up to Herodium near Bethlehem. Myself and Terry gave a tour of the fantastic palace-fortress of Herod the Great. Tomorrow – our weekend group will be hitting a few Jerusalem sites in he morning and then heading over to the Israel Museum.
Today was a great day at the tell – it was relatively cool and the finds keep on piling up.
We had several visitors to the site – including Dr. Hillel Geva (Israel Exploration Society) and Dr. Tsvika Tsuk (Israel National Parks) – and Itzick was interviewed by a Czech tv crew about Tel Burna.
In Area A2 – Jerry’s pit is getting deeper and deeper and there is no end in site. The pavement is continuing to appear and the architecture is slowly beginning to be more clear.
In B2 – what can we say – there is an enormous amount of vessels in this destruction – over four full weeks of excavation Aharon’s crew has excavated over 80 cm (c 3 ft) deep of destruction debris filled with burnt mudbrick and dozens of vessels! There is no end in sight – it seems that the destruction is two stories high as Jane and Elizabeth have been finding roofing/floor debris between the vessels. Needless to say – this will continue to be a main area of interest/research for this season and seasons to come – particularly in light of its possible parallels with Khirbet Qeiyafa and Khirbet el Arai (both excavated by Prof Yossi Garfinkel).
In G – we removed a couple of balks and – as usual – the architecture has become much more clear. We have something very massive on top of something even more massive. The problem is that we have very little ceramic finds in a good context (sometimes in situ) – which means that it is difficult to date. Our working hypothesis is that the latest phase was during the Persian period when the massive tower(?) was constructed. Tomorrow we will continue to expose some more of the large walls – that appear to be related to the city’s fortifications.
Yesterday evening – Dr. Tina Greenfield lectured on various aspects of Mesopotamian cities with a particular emphasis on her work there. Today – Dr. Oren Ackerman presented on paleo-anthropocene – which deals with geological changes in the environment related to human activity.