First Day of the 2010 Season

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Today was the first day of the 2010 season (and the same day that we reached 4000 hits on the blog – hooray!).

7 of us were out in the field, cleaning, surveying and preparing for the fun to come in the next three weeks.  here are a few shots of the activities today:

Here is the team climbing the tell.

Here is one of the wall sfound on the summit after cleaning.  near the wall is a nice pillar base, and possibly another wall, forming a building ont he summit. 

Here is Debi near on olive press that we discovered.

And finally here is an additional olive press that we found:

And this is just the begining….


Hebrew Guidelines

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For those of you who would prefer to read the guidelines in Hebrew, here they are:


English Volunteer Information

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Anyone coming to dig with us may be interested in reading the information in our volunteer information package, which can be downloaded here:


Tel Burna on Internet Radio

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Yesterday Evening, we were interviewed by Barnea Levi Selavan and Dovid Willner on the “LandMinds” show of the Israel National Radio. The show focused on the exiting prospects of digging a new site, our goals and or understanding of the site’s history from the survey we have already conducted. here is a link to the broadcast that you can listen to:

Part 2 is the interview with us, although you may also want to listen to the interview with Prof. Amnon Ben Tor (part I), one of the most prominent figures in Israeli Archaeology.

Visiting the site

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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.

Iron Age II right before the season

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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.

T-Shirt with Lamashtu

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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.