I just found out now (by checking on the Tell es-Safi/Gath Blog) that an article on the Tel Burna Dig has appeared in BAR. here is a link to the article!
In the article we discuss why we chose Burna, how we came to work together, and a little biut about ourselves and the project.
I know its been a while – but I just had twins, and its keeping my hands full!
Returning to our series of earlier posts, its time to discuss the Iron Age I at Tel Burna. The Iron Age I, for those of you who don’t know, is the period that is approximately between 1200-1000 BCE, and marks the arrival of the Philistines, and the development of the Israelite Tribes. During this period, Tel Bruna is not very large, with a settlement of about 2 hectares.
That said, a few important finds were collected in the survey. One of the most interesting is the collection of Philistine pottery. While it seems that Tel Burna was on the Judean side of the border, the presence of Philistine pottery at the site indicates that the people living at Tel Burna interacted with their Philistine neighbors. this is an indication that research needs to rethink how borders worked in the past – these were not like modern borders. this is one of our main research goals at Tel Burna.
Continuing the recent series of posts, the next period to discuss is the Late Bronze Age. the Late Bronze Age (1500-1200 BCE) is generally considered a period of Egyptian domination in the southern Levant, after the establishment of the New Kingdom and the expulsion of the Hiksos. The famous Amarna Letters vividly describe the political upheaval that was part of the period, with local rulers warring amongst themselves, while paying tribute to the Egyptian overlords.
During this period, many sites see a decrease in settlement, with other sites abandoned completely. it seems that sites are not fortified at all, and the urbanism that thrived in the Middle Bronze Age diminishes. that said, the results at Tel Burna, show that the Late Bronze Age is very well represented, and it seems that the site was thriving during this period. the surface finds dating to the LB cover an area of 6 hectares, and the number of LB sherds identified are more than any other period! It will be interesting to see whether the excavations confirm these findings, and if we have a very unusual trend of growth (and not diminishing) of a site in the LB!
The Middle Bronze Age – roughly 1900-1500 BCE (although there are plenty of arguments to move it one way or the other by 50-100 years) is a period of reawakening for urbanism in the southern Levant. after a dark age of about 350 years, where no cities are found, cities begin to emerge once again, building palaces, temples, and most notably fortifications. These fortifications are one of the hallmarks of the period, as they many times are the reason behind the shape of the tells we know today. These fortifications include earthworks – known as ramparts and glacis – which encompassed the cities. Some have argued against labeling the structures fortifications, preferring alternate explanations, linked to more “social” reasoning behind their costruction.
The survey revealed that there was a considerable presence of Middle Bronze Age pottery at Tel Burna. The rough estimate of surface scatter (the area where artifacts found dating to a certain period) is 5 hectares. this would mean that Tel Burna was a small city, and may have been encompassed by the earthworks mentioned above. It would be interesting to see – through excavation – if the unique shape of the tell is a result of the construction of a rampart!
Hello all – First of all, many apologies for the long wait — we hope the coming posts will make up for it.
As mentioned, the following posts will each focus on a period identified in the survey at Burna, and we will begin with the earliest period identified in the survey – the early Bronze Age.
For those who are less familiar with this period, the Early Bronze is roughly 3200-2300 BCE, which can further be divided into EBI, II and III. Probably the most distinct event in this period in the southern Levant is the rise of urbanism, somewhere around the turn of the third millennium BCE. around 2300 BCE, the urban entities collapse, sending the southern Levant into a sort of “dark age”, for several centuries, until the reawakening of urbainsm in the Middle Bronze Age.
While excavations can usually distinguish between the three sub-periods, this is more difficult to do in survey pottery. what we can definitely say is that we collected more Early Bronze Age sherds than we thought we would. this is simply because, since it is usually covered by later periods, it is less abundant in surveys. somne of these can definitively be dated to the EBII-III, while some are less distinct.
The photo of the tell shows the fields where EB was collected in various areas (thanks to Gal Avraham and J Rosenberg for their work in preparing the figure), and it seems that the site may have been a small city, probably under the control of one of the larger entities (possibly Yarmuth).
Itzick presented two lectures on the survey at the ASOR and SBL annual meetings in New Orleans. He received positive feedback from those who attended, and hopefully helped in the effort of gathering people for the dig. A few colleagues expressed interest in joining the team.
The meetings, as usual, included many interesting lectures, and were quite thought provoking. in the coming weeks, we will be presenting the survey finds here on the blog – so stay tuned!!