From Near Eastern Archaeology: Tell Azekah

azekahRecently published in NEA TEL AZEKAH 113 YEARS AFTER: Preliminary Evaluation of the Renewed Excavations at the Site:

Azekah’s location on the northern edge of a ridge running north-south that divides the region and forms the boundary between the higher Shephelah to the east and the lower Shephelah to the west sets it as one of the main Judahite border localities. It controls and watches over the strategic junction of roads leading from Tell eṣ-Ṣafi (biblical Gath) in the west, through the Valley of Ellah, to the Judean Hills in the east, and connects Beth-shemesh in the north and Lachish in the south (fig. 2).

If you can lay hold of a copy, I recommend it. It’s amply illustrated and nicely written indeed.

The Last Day at Azekah…

Of this year’s excavation season anyway.   Check out their beautiful photos here.  And think about joining them next year, July 14th, when the digging resumes.  And if you can’t attend, consider donating so that they can have more funding!  The poor kids have to eat plates of dirt at the end of the season!!!   Look for yourself!

Israel Finkelstein Under Duress!

Bob Cargill posted this photo on the Azekah expedition page and claims that Israel approves of his tie-dye shirt.  But you can clearly see from Israel’s expression that he’s under duress.  I suspect that Cargill has a knife or some instrument of injury pressed to his back and has required him to smile or suffer….

Pray for Professor Finkelstein’s safe release from the hostage taking tie dye cult!

A Plea to the Excavators at Azekah: Emergency Situation

Azekah-ites, I beg you- run over to Robert Cargill’s hut and take down his wash and BURN IT!  Do civilization a favor, just toss those tie dyes in a pile and send them up in smoke to God.  It may not be a legitimate sacrifice but believe me, it will be an act of mercy!

This is an emergency and only you can help!  God will bless you if you do… and if you don’t… well let’s just say, you’ve been warned….


The Cargill’s: Out To Reframe Azekah

And not just in terms of excellent archaeological work. Oh no. They want all Azekah-ites to adopt the horrifying tie dye shirt! That’s right. Yesterday I remarked about Bob’s dreadful fashion choice and today Ros has joined his tie dye cult! Who next? Oded Lipschits? Ido Koch? Some hapless student?

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Sign the petition- say no to tie dye at Azekah! (sign below in comments).

Azekah Lecture Series

The folk excavating at Azekah are in for a series of very fine lectures this season.  Here are just a few of them:

Monday, July 16th
Prof. Aren Maeir (Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan)
The Excavations of Philistine Gath

Monday, July 23rd
Prof. Yosef Garfinkel (The Hebrew University, Jerusalem)
The Excavations of Kh. Qeiyafa

Wednesday, July 25th
Mr. Ido Koch (Tel Aviv University)
The Judean Lowland under Judahite Hegemony: the Great Eighth Century BCE

Monday, August 13th
Dr. Ran Barkay (Tel Aviv University)
The Pre-History of the Judean Lowland

Wednesday, August 15th
Prof. Bernard Levinson (University of Minnesota, USA)
The Neo-Assyrian Influence upon Deuteronomy

Monday, August 20th
Prof. Manfred Oeming (Heidelberg University, Germany)
David against Goliath (1 Sam 17) – an Old Fight in Modern Research

Wednesday, August 22nd
Prof. Konrad Schmid (Zurich University)

Something Interesting that the Azekah Excavation is Doing…

If you’ve been following the Expedition page on Facebook you’ve noticed that they’re introducing dig participants in brief but interesting bios.

What a nice idea. They’ve got some interesting people participating. I don’t know who came up with it, but it’s a sharp notion.

Donate to the Tel Azekah Excavation

Online!  It’s safe, it’s secure, and it’s new!  With many thanks to Ido Koch for telling me about it.  Take the money you’d spend on a silly popular ‘bible archaeology’ magazine and donate it to an actual excavation!  Your money will really matter and you’ll have part in something authentically important.

The Lautenschläger Azekah Archaeological Project Field School

Via the goodly Oded Lipschits

Supervised by Prof. Oded Lipschits, Tel Aviv University  — The Lautenschläger Azekah Archaeological Project has initiated a field school designed to provide students with their first taste of archaeological fieldwork and to expand their theoretical knowledge. The field school will focus its efforts on unearthing the various parts of the biblical city of Azekah and on discovering the caves used as hideouts during the Bar Kochba revolt against the Roman Empire.

Field work will include intensive guidance by the field supervisors, including detailed explanations and instruction. This field training will include discussion of methods of stratigraphic excavation, recording and documentation. Furthermore, our staff specialists will hold special workshops focusing on subjects such as site survey and mapping, pottery typology, landscape archaeology, geology, etc.

Associated coursework will be divided into three sections: Introduction to Archaeology, History and Archaeology of the Judean Lowland, and History and Archaeology of the Land of the Bible. Students will receive readings materials six weeks before the beginning of the excavations (end of May 2012). At the end of each course, students will be graded on the basis of their participation in class, their engagement with the assigned reading and a final paper.

Go to the link above for much more.

The Archaeological Survey at Tel Azekah

Over on the Expedition site you can read

During the years 2009-2010 an intensive archaeological survey was conducted at Tel Azekah. This was the first time since the 19th century that the Tel was studied with such scrutiny. The survey at Tel Azekah was conducted as a method of studying the site prior to excavation.

The main goals of this survey are:

  • To identify which periods are represented at the site.
  • To estimate the size and nature of the site in each period.
  • To locate possible excavation areas for the coming season.

and much more. Including

It seems that there were two settlement peaks at the site:

During the Late Bronze Age, when Canaan was under the yoke of the Egyptian New-Kingdom and the settlement was at its largest. At this point the site occupied the entire tell.

During the Iron Age II, when Azekah was an important regional center for the Kingdom of Judah (see Jeremiah 34:7).

During this period, the settlement encompassed the entire mound, but as fewer sherds dating to the Iron Age were found, the site was probably less inhabited then it was during the Late Bronze.

Go read it all- quite useful.

Exciting News From the Azekah Archaeological Expedition

Oded Lipschits notes on Facebook that

The Faculty of Theology in Göttingen University (Georg-August-Universität-Göttingen), including its two famous Biblical scholars – Prof. Reinhard Gregor Kratz and Prof. Hermann Spieckermann, just announced that they are joining the Lautenschläger Azekah Expedition.

That’s fantastic. What Kratz and Spieckermann and the rest of the folk at Göttingen ‘bring to the table’ is extraordinary expertise. Congratulations to the Expedition for this excellent addition.

By the way, be sure to check out the Expedition’s FB page at the link above and ‘like it’ if you’re so inclined.