Tag Archives: Oded Lipschits

A Statement By the Faculty of Tel Aviv University Concerning an Advert in Biblical Archaeology Review

Oded Lipschits has sent along this public statement:

Statement by faculty members of the Marco and Sonia Nadler Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University, regarding the alleged use of mechanical excavator at Tel Socoh

A defamatory, anonymous paid advertisement, alleging that Prof. Yuval Goren of the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University has used a mechanical excavator to “pillage stratigraphy” in the excavation of Tel Socoh in the Shephelah, has again been published in the Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR). Those who read BAR should note that:

1. There was no use of a mechanical excavator on Tel Socoh.

2. The slide shown in the ad illustrates work carried out in a wadi near the mound, as a sequel to a systematic manual excavation from surface to natural soil nearby. The sounding was aimed at detecting pottery and slag in the vicinity of the site. This method is authorized (and endorsed) by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

3. This is a common method in archaeology. Most seasoned archaeologists – regardless of period of research, location on the globe, and institutional affiliation – use mechanical excavators in certain, closely controlled circumstances.

Signed: Oded Lipschits, Erez Ben Yosef, Shlomo Bunimovitz, Yoram Cohen, Alexander Fantalkin, Israel Finkelstein, Moshe Fischer, Yuval Gadot, Amir Gilan, Raphael Greenberg, Zeev Herzog, Dafna Langgut, Nadav Na’aman, Benjamin Sass, Deborah Sweeney, Oren Tal

Frankly, and personally, I think BAR has crossed the line with this egregious and defamatory advert.  They may not be responsible for its content, but they stand morally indicted for publishing it.

For the backstory of this public statement- see here.

Pollen, Ramat Rachel, And Archaeology as Practiced By Professionals

ramat-rachelOded Lipschits and others have published a new essay titled Fossil pollen reveals the secrets of the Royal Persian Garden at Ramat Rahel, Jerusalem in Palynology (a journal, I confess, I have never so much as heard of before, but I sure am glad it isn’t spelled ‘Palin-ology’ because that would be very creepy indeed). This essay’s abstract:

The ancient tell (mound) of Ramat Rahel sits on the outskirts of Jerusalem. It features an impressive residency and palatial garden that flourished during the seventh to fourth centuries BCE, when biblical Judah was under the hegemony of the Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian empires. Until recently, the garden’s flora has been a mystery, as standard archaeological procedures were unable to retrieve secure archaeobotanical remains.

A unique method of extracting fossil pollen from ancient plaster has now enabled researchers to reconstruct the exact vegetation components of this royal Persian garden and for the first time to shed light on the cultural world of the inhabitants of the residence. The plaster layers and garden are dated archaeologically and by Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) methods to the Persian period (fifth to fourth centuries BCE), and produced evidence of importation by the ruling Persian authorities of special and highly valued trees to the garden from remote parts of the empire.

The most surprising find, and marking its earliest appearance in the southern Levant, was the citron (Citrus medica), which later acquired a symbolic-religious role in Judaism. Other imported trees found to have been grown in the garden are the cedar, birch and Persian walnut.

The pollen evidence of these exotic trees in the Ramat Rahel palatial garden suggests that they were probably brought to flaunt the power of the imperial Persian administration. Native fruit trees and ornamentals that were also grown there include the fig, grape, olive, willow, poplar, myrtle and water lily. The identification of the ancient garden’s plant life opens a course for future research into the symbolic role of flora in palatial gardens. It also offers new opportunities for studying the mechanism by which native flora was adopted in a particular geographical area and proliferated by humans across the world.

With thanks to the author for sending along a copy.

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.

What is Archaeology? Trends and Currents in Contemporary Archaeological Discourse in Israel

Via Oded Lipschits on FB-

The Lautenschläger Azekah Expedition– What is Archaeology? Trends and Currents in Contemporary Archaeological Discourse in Israel

Thursday, December 27, 2012, Room 496, Gilman Building, Tel Aviv University (All lectures are in Hebrew).

9.00-9.30 – Reception

9.30-9.45 – Opening statement – Assaf Nativ and Mark Iserlis

9.45-10.00 – Shlomo Bunimovitz- Children of three paradigms: my generation in Israeli archaeology

Session One: Archaeology and the personal; Chair Shlomo Bunimovitz

10.00-10.30 – Yifat Thareani- Margins’ Girl: On frontiers as multi-cultural archaeological spaces

10.30-11.00- Haggai Misgav- Archaeology and contemporary religious conceptions

11.00-11.15- Recess

Session Two: Archaeology as profession; Chair Oded Lipschits

11.15-11.45 – Ianir Milevski- What is archaeology? A materialist dialectic approach

11.45-12.15- Alon Shavit- Community archaeology in Israel: on the connection and discord between the archaeological community and society

12.15-12.45 – Eran Arie- Archaeology in a museum: visit and Critique

12.45-14.00- Lunch break

Session Three: Archaeology as a discipline; – Chair Yuval Goren

14.00-14.30 – Steve Rosen- Archaeology: a personal perspective

14.30-15.00 – Amihai Mazar- The rusty Marshalltown

15.00-15.30 – Yuval Yekutieli- Archaeology as a story

15.30-15.45- Recess

Session Four: Summary and discussion; Chairs Mark Iserlis and Assaf Nativ

15.45-16.15 – Summaries: Rafi Greenberg, Avi Gopher, Snait Gisis

16.15-17.00 – Discussion

Congratulations to Oded Lipschits!

ASOR announces that Oded is one of the recipients of the G.E. Wright Award!

The G. Ernest Wright Award is given to the editor/author of the most substantial volume(s) dealing with archaeological material, excavation reports and material culture from the ancient Near East and eastern Mediterranean. This year it was awarded to Oded Lipschits and David Vanderhooft for their book The Yehud Stamp ImpressionsA Corpus of Inscribed Impressions from the Persian and Hellenistic Periods in Judah (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 2011 [pp. xvi + 796]). This book is the product of over ten years of research and analysis and displays the first comprehensive examination of these important artifacts from ancient Israel in about 40 years.  The systematic study of Oded Lipschits and David Vanderhooft presents a comprehensive catalogue (through the winter of 2008–2009), classification, and analysis of all published and unpublished Yehud stamp impressions, with digital photographs and complete archaeological and publication data for each impression.  This invaluable, insightful, and exhaustive resource provides a new historical typology for the development of the impressions and casts new light on the related fields of stratigraphy, paleography, administration, historical geography, and the Persian-period economy.  The meticulous investigation includes distribution, petrographic analysis (of the clay), new readings of the seal legends, use of the toponym Yehud, and significance of the title. The quality of the volume is such that all future studies of these invaluable artifacts will employ this work both as a resource and as a basis for comparison. The authors have produced of a very substantial volume, dealing with both archaeological material and material culture from the ancient Near Eastern and eastern Mediterranean world.

Recognition well deserved!  Congrats, Oded!

The Riddle of Ramat Rahel: The Archaeology of a Royal Persian Period Edifice

A new essay by that title by Oded Lipschits, Y. Gadot, and D. Langgut, in Transeuphratene 41: 57-79 has just appeared. Its abstract:

From the time the first archaeologists began excavating at Ramat Raḥel, it seemed evident that the tell was an archaeological and historical “riddle”. On the one hand, the palatial compound uncovered at the site was dated to the Iron Age. On the other hand, the presence of hundreds of yhwd stamped jar handles and many other finds from the Persian period were left without apparent architectural context. Stratum IVb, dated by Aharoni to both the Persian and Hellenistic periods, included only segmented and poorly built walls and a few installations that could not explain the many stamped handles.

The renewed excavations at the site and the final publication of the architecture and finds from Aharoni’s excavations have made it possible to reevaluate the archaeology of the site and its significance vis-a-vis the political history of Judah as a province in the Achaemenid Empire. This paper presents for the first time the architecture and all the associated finds from Persian period (5th-3rd century BCE) Ramat Raḥel. The study demonstrates how Ramat Raḥel reached its zenith during the Persian period, serving as an imperial administrative center, and as the residency of the Persian governor. It also demonstrates that the site declined towards the end of the Persian period only to regain some importance toward the later part of the Hellenistic period.

With many, many thanks to Oded for sharing it.

Conference Announcement: ‘Summer 2012 New Discoveries and Innovations’ (Tel Aviv University)

Excavations of the Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University
Thursday, November 1, 2012, Room 223, Gilman Building

15:45-16:15 – Gathering and Refreshments

16:15-17:30 – First Session

Greetings by the director of the Institute, Oded Lipschits

Awarding of scholarships by Oren Tal, head of the Department of Archaeology and Near Eastern Cultures, to outstanding students of the “Digging Archaeologist” Track

Ran Barkai and Avi Gopher – After 300,000 Years: A New Chamber Uncovered at Qesem Cave

Rafi Greenberg – Tel Bet Yerah 2012: Fragmented Identities of the 3rd Millennium BCE

Israel Finkelstein and David Ussishkin – Megiddo 2012: The Middle Bronze Fortifications, the End of the Late Bronze and Other Issues

17:30-18:00 – Coffee Break

18:00-19:45 – Second Session

Oded Lipschits and Yuval Gadot –We Went in Search of a Kingship but Found Asses Instead—Preliminary Results from the Renewed Excavations at Tel Azekah, Summer 2012

Shlomo Bunimovitz and Zvi Lederman – Challenging Architectural Remains from Iron Age I at Tel Beth-Shemesh, Summer 2012

Yuval Goren – The First Season of Excavations at Tel Sochoh – Finds and Future Plans

Oren Tal — The Apollonia-Arsuf Excavation Project: The Crusader Town of Arsur —Structure, Cultural Adaptation, Urban-Rural Relations

Presentations will be in Hebrew.

Via Oded Lipschits on FB.  If you’re in Tel Aviv this may be something you’d like to attend.

Will You Be Excavating At Azekah?

Then there’s something you should know–

TEAM MEMBER INFORMATION PACKET for the Lautenschläger Azekah Expedition and Tel Sochoh Excavations. Go to our website – http://archaeology.tau.ac.il/azekah/ or directly to: http://www.tau.ac.il/humanities/archaeology/azekah%20pack.pdf.

Via Oded Lipschits and Ido Koch on FB.

Preparing For the Excavation Season at Azekah

Via Oded Lipschits, some great photos of season prep:

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Archaeological investigations and OSL dating of terraces at Ramat Rahel, Israel

From Oded Lipschits this happy word-

The paper was just published in: Journal of Field Archaeology 37/ 3 (2012): 192-208.

Here’s the paper abstract:

Dating terraces, the most prominent feature of the agricultural landscape in many parts of the world, is a problem for archaeologists. This study presents an interdisciplinary approach that combines archaeological survey and excavations with direct sediment dating of terrace fill using Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL). The study focuses on Ramat Rahel, a multi-period site located in the southern outskirts of modern Jerusalem, Israel, where, on a defined terraced slope chosen for a small-scale landscape archaeology project, three main phases of terrace construction and use were identified. The earliest phase dates to the Late Byzantine/Early Islamic period, the second to medieval times, and the last to the Ottoman period. The results enable a comprehensive reconstruction of the changing local landscape through time and demonstrate the validity of OSL, when combined with archaeological investigations, as a reliable method for terrace dating.

The fieldwork was conducted as part of the 2009 season of excavations at Ramat Rahel, and I wish to thank Prof. M. Oeming of Heidelberg University, the co-director of the expedition, for his continuous support of the research. This research was supported by an Early Israel grant (New Horizons project), Tel Aviv University.

The Royal Judahite Storage Jar: A Computer-Generated Typology and Its Archaeological and Historical Implications

That’s the title of a new essay just published in Tel Aviv-

In this paper, the authors (Sergi, Karasik, Gadot, and Lipschits) present an objective, repeatable and independent computer-generated typology of the Iron Age II Oval Storage Jar, also known as the lmlk or Royal Judahite Storage Jar. The paper demonstrates that this jar was in use from the late 9th to the early 6th century BCE and that it was distributed beyond the confines of the Judahite administrative system. The OSJ first appeared as a local phenomenon that was limited to the Shephelah, with no particular political or ethnic affiliation. During the early to mid-8th century BCE, the production of some of the jars became standardized, which is evidence of the consolidation of the Kingdom of Judah and its territorial expansion into the lowlands region. By the late 8th century BCE, at least one or more of the workshops producing these jars became integrated into the royal Judahite administrative system that stamped jar handles, and this established the workshop’s main function until the destruction of Judah in the early 6th century BCE.

With thanks to Prof. Lipschits for the heads-up.

Free Sample Issue of the New Journal, ‘Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel’ (HeBAI)

You can download, for free, the inaugural issue of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel from Mohr Siebeck and edited by the likes of Oded Lipschits, Konrad Schmid, John Day, and Thomas Römer right here. The Journal Homepage is here.

A New Essay from Oded Lipschits: The Enigma of the Biblical Bath, and the System of Liquid Volume Measurement during the First Temple Period

Here’s the info-

Lipschits, O., Koch, I. Shaus, A., and Guil, S. 2012. The Enigma of the Biblical Bath, and the System of Liquid Volume Measurement during the First Temple Period. Ugarit-Forschungen 42 (2011): 453-478.

Here’s the abstract-

In this paper we claim that during the First Temple period, no organized or fixed system of liquid volume measurements existed in Judah. The biblical bath, which has been understood to be the basic measurement of the system, was not a measurement at all but a well-known vessel – the Judahite storage jar–also known as the lmlk jar. The nēḇel and the kaḏ were two other vessels that had other uses. The lōḡ, hîn, and ®iśśārôn, which are usually termed “measurements” and considered part of the system of liquid volume measurements, were actually vessels that were part of the official Temple cult during the Second Temple period and were never part of the First Temple economy and administration.

More Scholarship Opportunities at Tel Aviv University

Via Oded Lipschits

Scholarship Opportunities: 3 more at the International MA in Archaeology and History of the Land of the Bible program Tel Aviv University

Due to the support of the Yad Hanadiv Foundation, the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures of Tel Aviv University is pleased to announce 3 more tuition assistance scholarships for the academic year of 2012-13. The 5,000 USD Scholarships will be granted to a limited number of excellent students who wish to broaden their knowledge and understanding of ancient Israel, as part of Tel Aviv University’s one year International MA Program in Archaeology and History of the Land of the Bible.

The program is the only one of its kind in Israel, allowing students from a variety of countries across the globe to study the archaeology and history of the Land of the Bible – in the Land of the Bible. The program combines theoretical and methodological courses with the opportunity to gain fieldwork experience in some of the most exciting excavations conducted in Israel by TAU scholars, while providing the most up-to-date, modern and scientific tools to the area of archaeological and historical studies; teaching students cutting edge methods for individual, independent research. The scholarships will be granted to students chosen by an academic committee (Prof. Oded Lipschits, Prof. Israel Finkelstein and Prof. Oren Tal) based on an academic CV, final grades sheet from the last academic establishment and an abstract of the final paper submitted in the last academic establishment. Applications should be submitted no later than May 1st, 2012.

For more information please visit our website at www.archaeology.tau.ac.il/internationalMA or contact the program manager, Ms. Nadin Reshef, at MAarch@post.tau.ac.il.

The University of Iowa is Teaming up with Tel Aviv to Excavate at Azekah

And along those lines they’ve set up a Facebook page- check it out here.

Contact Dr. Robert Cargill at robert-cargill@uiowa.edu for more information about digging at Tel Azekah with Tel Aviv University this summer.

What Can Stamped Jar Handles Teach us about Israel’s History?

Ido Koch and Oded Lipschits have something to say in answer to that question in an essay in Tel Aviv from last year- Judahite Stamped and Incised Jar Handles: A Tool for Studying the History of Late Monarchic Judah. It’s certainly a worthwhile read and very informative too.

You can learn a lot from a little if you’re attentive.

I Don’t Even Know What Etrog Is, But Apparently People in Ancient Israel Did

Antonio writes

The garden was part of an Israelite palace at Ramat Rachel that has been excavated for many years, most recently in a joint dig by Prof. Oded Lipschits and Dr. Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University and Prof. Manfred Oeming of Heidelberg University. The palace existed from the time of King Hezekiah until the Hasmonean period in the second century B.C.E.

Here’s the whole story.  Since the excavation is overseen by Lipschits and Gadot and Oeming you can be sure that their work is stellar.

Public Lectures on Archaeology in Tel Aviv in 2012

From Oded Lipschits:

The Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology presents the program for the 2012 spring Semester lectures at the International Women’s Club Peoples of the Ancient Near East –

* 6.3.2012 – Prof. Jacob Klein – “The Mesopotamian King and His Mother”
* 13.3.2012 – Dr. Jonathan Ben-Dov – “Astronomy, Astrology and Calendars: From the Cuneiform Culture to Judea”
* 20.3.2012 – Dr. Josef Nagar – “Who Are We? – The Stories of the Populations of Israel”
* 27.3.2012 – Mr. Omer Sergi – “Aram and the Formation of Israel and Judah”
* 3.4.2012 – Prof. Oded Lipschits – “Judah under Babylonian Rule and the Birth of Judaism”
* 17.4.2012 – Dr. Dan’el Kahn – “The Black Pharaohs: Egypt’s 25th Dynasty”
* 24.4.2012 – Mrs. Shirly Ben-Dor Evian – “Continuity and Change in Ancient Egyptian History”
* 1.5.2012 – Prof. Oded Tamuz – “Disintegration from Above: A Case Study on the History of Southern Phoenicia and Philistia”
* 8.5.2012 – Prof. Jak Yakar – “Reconstructing the Social Frameworks of Farmers and Pastoralists in Neolithic Anatolian Society”
* 15.5.2012 – Mr. Ilan Peled – “The Hittites: A Fascinating and Unique Culture in the Ancient Near East”
* 22.5.2012 – Dr. Yoram Cohen – “How the World Was Created: The Babylonian Myth Enuma-Elish”
* 29.5.2012 – Prof. Jonathan Price – “Voices in Stone: Ancient History from Ancient Inscriptions”
* 5.6.2012 – Dr. Amir Golani – “Jewelry and the Jewelers’ craft during the Iron Age”
* 12.6.2012 – Dr. Erez Ben Yosef – “King Solomon’s Mines? New Research of Iron Age Copper Production in the Arabah Valley”
* 19.6.2012 – Ms. Keren Ras- “The ”Woman at the Window” in Iconography, Biblical Literature and Material Culture from Ramat Rahel”

Lectures at the University of Zurich: On Archaeology and Scripture

The Faculty of Theology of the University of Zurich will host the following lectures:

Fr, 2.3.2012, 18:15-20:00
Prof. Dr. Oded Lipschits (Tel Aviv University) – The History and Archaeology of Exilic and Post-Exilic Judah: A New Understanding

Mo, 12.3.2012, 18:15-20:00
Prof. Dr. Wiliam M. Schniedewind (University of California, Los Angeles) – Nascent Scripturalization in the Neo-Assyrian Period

Mi, 18.4.2012, 14.00-15.30
Prof. Dr. Dres. h.c. Jan Assmann (Konstanz / Heidelberg) – Recht und Schrift in der altorientalischen Welt

Fr, 4.5.2012, 16:00-18:00
Ido Koch / Omer Sergey (Tel Aviv University) – The Rise of Judah in the 9th century BCE from Archaeological, Historical and Biblical Perspectives

All lectures take place at Kirchgasse 9, CH-8001 Zurich, Switzerland.

Via Jack Sasson

Post Doctoral Appointments at Tel Aviv University

Via Oded Lipschits, to whom all inquiries should be directed.

Two Post-Doc Positions at the Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University, in fields of Archaeology, Ancient Israel Studies, and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures  The Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University, will appoint two post-doctoral scholars for 2012-2013 in the fields of Archaeology, Ancient Israel Studies, or Ancient Near Eastern Cultures.

The highly competitive fellowships are offered to researchers across many disciplines, and will be awarded on the basis of academic excellence.  Applicants should have received their Ph.D. in a relevant field within the last five years from an institution other than Tel Aviv University. While appropriate training in archaeology, biblical studies, ancient Near Eastern cultures and/or biblical history is required, the nature of an applicant’s specific research interests and areas of expertise is open.

Successful candidates are expected to make substantive contributions to the ongoing development of the Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology by organizing a colloquium on a subject to be decided at the beginning of the academic year that will stimulate an intellectual environment in which research and new interdisciplinary connections are pursued and developed.

In addition to engaging in their own research, the successful candidates will be expected to teach one four-hour graduate level seminar during one of the two semesters (interdisciplinary offerings are desirable).  The fellowship period will begin October 1, 2012, and is for a period of one year. The appointment carries an NIS 80,000 (= approximately $21,000) stipend for each candidate.

Applicants are requested to submit a cover letter, a CV, a detailed statement of current research interests (up to 2000 words), and two letters of reference (to be submitted directly by the recommenders). In addition, post-doctoral fellows must state if they are applying for other sources of funding for the fellowship period.

The scientific committee includes Prof. Oded Lipschits, Prof. Israel Finkelstein and Prof. Oren Tal.  Application materials should be sent to: Professor Oded Lipschits (lipschit@post.tau.ac.il). Subject heading should read: Post-Doctoral Application.  Last date for acceptance of material: April 1, 2012.  Results will be published on April 15, 2012.