If anyone would like to visit the dig (whether to participate in digging or just to get an on-site tour), here is a map and directions of how to arrive. Remember we will be there Sunday through Thursday June 13-July 1.
From Jerusalem or Tel Aviv: Exit Route 1 (Jerusalem Tel Aviv Highway) at Shaar Hagai. Drive south until T at Nechosha Junction – turn Right. Make next right turn (immediately after gas station). Turn left on to the dirt road that leads to the tell.
From the South: Follow Route 35 past Qiryat Gat, until you reach Guvrin Junction (to your right is Maresha). Turn left (immediately before gas station). Turn left on to the dirt road that leads to the tell.
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.
Here is a picture of this year’s t-shirt. The picture (prepared by Anat Perko) we are using for the t-shirt is based on a plaque, possibly dropped by an Assyrian soldier during Sennacherib’s campaign to the Shephelah, was found near the wadi at the foot of the tell. it was found by a member of one of the Moshavim in the region, and published by M. Cogan in Israel Exploration Journal. the figure depicted is Lamashtu – a Mesopotamian demon known to be responsible for disease – particularly amongst pregnant women or children breastfeeding. These amulets were probably worn as protection against the demon and against disease.
Just to let all of you Facebook junkies know that Tel Burna now has a group on Facebook!!! join us virtually even if you can’t join us in the field
With only three weeks until the ground breaking ceremony on June 13th, we are in the midst of finalizing all of the preparations for the dig this year – the first one ever at Tel Burna!!!!
Just to fill you in on what we plan on doing this season – well we have set out three main aims:
1. We will be excavating a series of squares on the summit, near the fortifications, in order to try and date the feature (our survey tells us its Iron Age II, but this needs to be finalized through excavation). We will also hopefully get an idea of the stratigraphy of the site, by excavating along the slope.
2. Cleaning out agricultural installations: there are many installations carved out into the rock at the site. while we documented most of them last summer in the survey, this year we want to actually clean them, draw them and map them using a GPS, so that we can get an idea of their function and distribution on the site.
3. Shovel Pit Survey: this is another type of survey method and we ant to compare it to the surface survey results we had, in order to find the best way for surveying tells in the future.
Just to remind you, we will be digging for three weeks from June 13th, so even if you haven’t signed up, but you happen to find yourself in Israel, and would like to take part – please contact us!