Tag Archives: Gath

Aren Maeir: Public Lecture on ‘The Search for Goliath’

Aren Maeir

At William Jessup University

Over the last decade and a half, Aren Maeir has been leading excavations at the site of Tell es-Safi, which is identified as Philistine Gath, hometown of the legendary biblical figure Goliath. In his lecture, Prof. Maeir will describe some of the fascinating biblical era finds that have been discovered including biblical-related cultic objects, inscriptions, dramatic evidence of the destruction of the city of Gath (mentioned in 2 Kings 12), as well as other gripping finds that enable us to paint a vivid picture of the Land of the Bible during the time of the Israelite and Judahite kings and prophets.

This event is hosted by Dr. Cynthia Shafer-Elliott and the WJU Bible and Theology Department.

Date: April 18th from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Location: Lecture Hall, WJU Campus

Go if you can!

Philpacolypse Now! The 2012 Melbourne Excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath

gathBy Louise Hitchcock.   You can download the audio of her presentation directly here (it’s 122 MB).  Or you can go here if you don’t want to download it directly.

If You Don’t Want to go to Jezreel, Go to Gath

The 2013 application is online here.

Information (click to download)

Forms (click to download)

Note on Forms:  In order for your registration to be fully processed you must download the above forms, correctly fill them out, and upload them to your application. See instructions on page 7 of the application. It is highly recommended that the applicant fill out the above forms before beginning the application.


Etc. and for more information, go to the link at the top of this post.

Goings On at Gath: Photos From Louise Hitchcock

Louise is working at Gath, looking, one presumes, for Goliath’s cereal bowl.  Until she finds that, she’s digging up some other cool stuff (along of course with the rest of the good folk there led by the inestimably gifted Aren Maeir) and she’s given permission for me to pass along the photos she’s posting on her FB page.  I’m especially impressed with the bull.  That’s nice stuff:

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A New Essay by Aren Maeir

Aren kindly mentions this new contribution to the field-

Gur-Arieh, S., Boaretto, E., Maeir, A. M., and Shahack-Gross, R. 2012. Formation Processes in Philistine Hearths from Tell es-Safi/Gath (Israel): An Experimental Approach. Journal of Field Archaeology 37(2): 121–31.

Here’s the abstract-

Ancient cooking installations yield important evidence for cooking technology and human diet. A cooking installation termed the Philistine pebble hearth is associated with the arrival of the Philistines at the beginning of the Iron Age in the southern Levant (ca. early/mid-12th century B.C.). These installations have been studied using traditional methods, focusing on a description of form and style in relation to the pottery of the period. Here we present a study using an experimental approach. We prepared three sets of experimental pebble hearths to study the pebbles’ thermal behavior in relation to their volume. The comparison of these results with observations of Iron Age I archaeological hearths reveals different patterns in pebble shattering and soot patterns, indicating that the archaeological hearths were used in a different manner than the experimental ones. The experiments highlight the utility of shattered pebbles as an indicator of the use of fire directly on Philistine hearths, even in the absence of ash and/or charcoal. They also demonstrate that these installations may have been used with open fire or live embers. The results are applicable to the study of hearths worldwide, with implications for appropriate excavation methods and basic identification of ancient pyrotechnologies.

Calling Someone a Philistine Is Really a Compliment

Philistine Bichrome pottery vessel

Philistine Bichrome pottery vessel

The Philistines were really amazingly cultured, as the excavation at Gath (and elsewhere) has shown.  This reminder of that simple fact provoked by the appearance of a paper by Louise Hitchcock titled ‘Who Are you Calling a Philistine?‘  You’ll, I think, enjoy it.

[Though it has to be said that we would all enjoy it more if there were an announcement of the discovery of Goliath’s spoon].

Gath: The Two Hour Interview with Aren Maeir!

With thanks to Joseph Lauer for pointing this out in an email!

This Tuesday, on Memorial Day evening (Erev Yom Hazikaron), I had the very enjoyable opportunity to be interviewed by Barnea Levi Selavan and David Willner (of the Foundationstone organization) for their “Landminds” radio show. In the interview, which lasted more than two hours (!!!), I discussed in detail many aspects relating to the excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath (including a general survey of the periods represented at the site), various aspects relating to the Philistines, insights from the archaeological finds on the biblical text, and much more.

Check it out!

Aren has the links to each of the four audio segments.  Enjoy!

The View From Gath

Aren has posted a really nice video showing the site of Gath from the top of the Tell.  It’s a 360 degree look around.  It’s quite beautiful.

Prize Find: Horned Altar from Tell es-Safi Hints at Philistine Origins

That’s the title of an essay by Aren Maeir that appears (and this pains me but I must do it because, 1), I have the highest regard for Aren; and 2), every now and then even BAR manages to publish something people should read) – here:  Biblical Archaeology Review 38(1): 35.

While uncovering an impressive destruction level dating to the second half of the ninth century B.C.E., when Gath was the largest of the five cities of the Philistine “pentapolis” and perhaps the largest city in the Land of Israel during the Iron Age, we found an exceptionally well preserved horned stone altar reminiscent of the Israelite horned altars described in the Bible (Exodus 27:1–2; 1 Kings 1:50).

I appreciate Aren sending along a copy.

The Gath Inscription

Aren Maeir says

Two days ago, I mentioned how playing with Photoshop with pictures of the inscription from Area D did wonders. I was immediately swamped with requests to show pictures of the inscription!

Since I am a nice guy, and in the spirit of the holidays (Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, etc.), I decided to post something that will at least partially fulfill these requests (but will whet the appetite for more… 🙂 ).

He is a nice guy.  So he posts the ‘mem’ in the inscription and its enhanced versions.  (You’ll have to go there to see the others).

Wish he had posted the whole inscription?  Yeah, well you aren’t alone.  But I’m sure it will appear in due course.  Until then I’ll offer my own translation of the reconstructed phrase and particular word which includes the mem:

[then did Goliath drop his] s[hield and stagger to the ground after having been struck by David, the Second King of the United Kingdom of Israel who reigned from 1000 to 960 BCE…].

It’s going to be an amazing day when the full inscription is unveiled!!!!

New Photos from Lachish, Khirbet Qeiyafa, and Gath

On the Tel Aviv University FB page.  Some great photos, all worth seeing!

Louise Hitchcock: First Lady of the Philistines

Louise, a frequent digger at Gath and Professor in Australia is in the news in a really nicely done interview.  Good for her!  And good for the profession!!!!

In our first hour, we welcome to the show Prof. Louise Hitchcock, Associate Professor of Aegean Bronze Age Archaeology of the University of Melbourne. Louise is part of the interdisciplinary team of scholars and scientists working at Tel es-Safi, identified as ancient Gat by excavator Prof. Aren Maeir, Bar Ilan University. Louise travels a long way and is investing years of work at Gat with her students to discover and connect the Philistine culture to its origins. Revising our take on the Philistines, the new ideas she is percolating through archaeological circles of transculturalism and multivocalism; how the on-site Weizmann Institute lab works with the team, and the breadth of Louise’s vision, will hold your attention minute by minute – and the feast menu will make your mouth water!

Give it a listen.

Aren Maeir’s Lecture on Gath

Via Jack Sasson, word of this public lecture at the Bible Lands Museum-

Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem –Wednesday Evenings Lectures at 19:30
Free with Museum Admission

2.11.11 – New Discoveries from Tell es-Safi/Gath Excavations – Prof. Aren Meir [sic!], Bar Ilan Univ. (Hebrew).  25 Avraham Granot St., Museum Row, Jerusalem, 972-(0)2-5611066 | contact@blmj.org | www.blmj.org

If you’re in Jerusalem you should go.

Good News from Gath

Aren Maeir

Aren Maeir

Aren announces

Late last night, I sent off the publisher, what I hope is the final version of the forthcoming first volume (hopefully of many more…) of the reports on the excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath.  This is very exciting – since we have been working on this for quite a few years…  The volume is entitled:  Maeir, A. M. In press. Tell es-Safi/Gath I: Report on the 1996–2005 Seasons. Ägypten und Altes Testament 69. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.  The report is actually composed of two volumes, one of text (just over 630 pages) and one of plates (don’t remember the exact number, but I think over 300…).

And yes, Joel, it will have pictures!

Gath, Greece, Hazael, and Things They Have in Common

Aren’s got a fine post up today! It’s not often that Hazael and Greece are co-ordinated on the blogs. But Aren shows why he’s done it.

The two farthest points of Hazael evidence! As you all probably know, Hazael king of Aram Damascus was an very important figure in the Levant in the 2nd half of the 9th cent. BCE. Needless to say, in relationship to Tell es-Safi/Gath he is quite well-known, as over the last 15 years, we have been excavating impressive evidence of his siege and conquest of Gath of the Philistines. This event, mentioned in II Kings 12:18 provides the southernmost, clear evidence of Hazael’s activities. And, … Read More

via The Tell es-Safi/Gath Excavations Official (and Unofficial) Weblog

Excavating the EB jar at Gath

Nice work.

Excavating the EB jar As I had mentioned in my posts during the season, in Area E, a very nice assemblage of EB III pottery was found, including a restorable jar and cooking pot. This was of interest from various perspectives, including providing an assemblage of pottery from the last EB phase in Area E, but also, for the possible study of contents of these vessels, the processes related to the destruction, and also, the dating of the final EB III phase thru Carbon 14 … Read More

via The Tell es-Safi/Gath Excavations Official (and Unofficial) Weblog

A Fantastic Aerial View of Gath

Thanks to Aren for posting this. It’s really brilliant.

Aerial view of Areas A and E As requested, and just to show a nice picture, here is one of the aerial photos of Areas A and E. The photo was taken by the balloon at the end of the season. Aren … Read More

via The Tell es-Safi/Gath Excavations Official (and Unofficial) Weblog

Nice aerial view of Tell Safi/ Gath

Via Aren. Love the present blog header image too!

Nice aerial view of tell Here is a dramatic aerial view of the tell (notice the dark clouds in the background), taken at the end of the 2011 season. The view is towards the SW, overlooking Areas A and E on the eastern side of the tell, with the summit of the tell (and Area F) in the left background. Aren … Read More

via The Tell es-Safi/Gath Excavations Official (and Unofficial) Weblog

An Iron Age Tomb at Gath

Aren has generously sent along a copy of

Faerman, M., Boaretto, E., Uziel, J., Maeir, A. M., and Smith, P. 2011 “…In Their Lives, and in Their Death…”: A Preliminary Study of an Iron Age Burial Cave at Tell es-Safi, Israel. Zeitschrift des deutschen Palästina Vereins 127(1): 29–48.

In part

… the recent excavation of an Iron Age burial cave in the
immediate vicinity of Tell es˙-S˙a¯fı¯ / Gath is noteworthy. The recovery of the skeletal remains of over 70 individuals from this burial, which dates to the late Iron Age I / Iron Age II, now provides the first large skeletal sample that can be reliably attributed to a population associated with the Philistine culture. This paper is an initial report on the finds from this tomb, with particular focus on the material and skeletal remains recovered during excavations of this burial cave in the summer of 2006.

Thanks again, Aren!

David Eitam’s Brief Remarks on the Gath Altar

You can read them here. It’s not so much an essay as it is a listing of observations.