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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Excavation and Fieldschool Opportunity in Israel

LB Bowl in Situ

Follow in the Footsteps of David and Goliath: Dig Philistine Gath - The Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project

JULY 6 – August 1, 2008

The Site

Tell es-Safi/Gath (Hebrew Tel Tsafit), Israel, is a commanding mound located on the border between the Judean foothills (the Shephelah) and the coastal plain (Philistia), approximately halfway between Jerusalem and Ashkelon. At about 100 acres in size, it is one of the largest and most important pre-Classical period archaeological sites in Israel. Tell es-Safi is identified as Canaanite and Philistine Gath (known from the Bible as the home of Goliath and Achish) and Crusader Blanche Garde. The site was inhabited continuously from the Chalcolithic period (5th millennium BCE) until 1948 CE.

The Project

Since 1996 a team of archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology at Bar Ilan University, under the direction of Prof. Aren M. Maeir, has been digging at Tell es-Safi/Gath. The first 12 years of the project (1996-2007) have demonstrated the great importance of the site. Major finds include: 1) A 9th century BCE destruction layer with extraordinarily rich remains; 2) An unique siege trench, dating to the Iron Age, that surrounds the site, apparent evidence of an Aramaic siege of the site (see II Kings 12:18); 3) A rich stratigraphic sequence covering the Early Bronze II through Modern times (ca. 26th BCE - 20th century CE); 4) A rich representation of the material culture of the Philistines, arch-enemies of the biblical-period Israelites; 5) Fascinating inscriptions from various periods, including Canaanite, Egyptian and Philistine (including the so-called “Goliath Inscription”).

The Program

All able and willing people between 16 and 80 are invited to join us for a unique and exciting experience uncovering the history and culture of the Holy Land. In addition to participating in all facets of the excavation process, participants will be provided with an opportunity to learn cutting-edge techniques of field archaeology, gain experience in archaeological science applications, hear lectures about the archaeology and history of the Land of Israel and related issues, and go on field trips to nearby sites of historical/archaeological and/or contemporary interest. Participants will join a young, vivacious team comprised of staff, students and volunteers from Israel and the world-over. Students can earn either 3 or 6 university credits through Bar-Ilan University, the second largest university in Israel. Accommodations (including kosher food) will be provided at idyllic Kibbutz Revadim, a short drive from the site. Rooms (4-6 per room; single and double rooms available at extra charge) are air-conditioned and there will be access to the Kibbutz pool. And don't forget the weekly, Thursday evening, Bar-B-Que!

WORKDAY (more or less)

6am to 1 pm excavation; Afternoon: various excavation related processes (such as pottery reading) and occasional tours; Evenings: occasional lectures.

We work Sunday afternoon to Friday mid-day.


Volunteers: US$375 per week, 2 week minimum, or US$1450 for entire 4 weeks (plus US$50 registration fee). Price includes R&B for entire week, daily transportation to site and back, and various dig-related activities. Does not include transportation to Israel, and to and from the Base camp, as well as health and accident insurance.

Students (wishing to receive university credits): In addition to the R&B, $500 for half program (3 credits) and $1000 for full program (6 credits).

For application forms and further information, please contact:

Prof. Aren M. Maeir

The Institute of Archaeology

The Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology

Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan 52900


Fax: ++972-3-6354941

Email: maeira@mail.biu.ac.il

Website: www.dig-gath.org

Blog: http://gath.wordpress.com

The Field School on Archaeological Science: A Call for Applicants

Call for applicants for participation in the course

“Field School on Archaeological Science”

(For students who are registered in universities outside Israel)

The course “Field School on Archaeological Science” is offered by The Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, Bar-Ilan University, and the Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. Registered students will participate in the excavation of the Biblical site Tell es-Safi, identified with Philistine Gath. The purpose of the course is to expose the students to interdisciplinary research that involves archaeology and the natural sciences, in the field. The students will experience interactive work that combines excavation and analysis of materials using an on-site laboratory. The course will emphasize the inter-connection between laboratory analyses and the archaeological context, and will include fieldwork, laboratory work, and lectures.

The course will take place between July 13th and 18th, 2008. Accommodation and food will be supplied by the excavation organizers at Kibbutz Revadim. The cost for students who are not registered at Bar-Ilan University is $375 per week. The Kimmel Center will cover the costs for two weeks for the most qualified student (one scholarship only). Applicants with little or no archaeological experience must participate in one week of excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath between July 6th and 11th, 2008. An option for participation in a supervised one week project at the site is available between July 20th and 25th, 2008 upon confirmation with the course organizers.

The course is worth 2 US academic credits. Students interested in receiving the credit will have to pay an additional sum of $200 to Bar-Ilan University.

Course organizers and their fields of expertise:

Prof. Steve Weiner (WIS): mineralogical analyses, phytoliths, site formation processes

Dr. Elisabetta Boaretto (BIU and WIS): radiocarbon dating, materials analysis

Dr. Ehud Weiss (BIU and WIS): paleoethnobotany

Dr. Ruth Shahack-Gross (BIU and WIS): geoarchaeology, micromorphology

Applications are limited for students from third year undergraduates through Masters and doctoral studies. The best 10 students will be selected. Applications should include one paragraph explaining why the student is interested in participating in this course, CV, list of grades and two names of referees, and sent no later than April 15th 2008 to:

Dr. Ruth Shahack-Gross

Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science

Weizmann Institute of Science

Rehovot 76100


E-mail: Ruth.Shahack@Weizmann.ac.il

Monday, March 10, 2008

Excavate Ancient Roman Baths and a Thracian Settlement and Sanctuary

Roman Baths at Hisar

Help archaeologists excavate and investigate an impressive complex of ancient Roman baths in Bulgaria this summer. The main activity will focus on the baths, but the work will also involve an investigation of a nearby Thracian settlement and sanctuary, and the total experience will take you back to the 5th - 4th centuries B.C. Located in Hisar, the field school runs from June to August in two-week sessions. Those who would like to stay longer may apply for additional sessions. The work requires no previous experience and it will be led by professional archaeologists. Additionally, an interpreter will join the team, so fluent English is the only requirement. Academic credits are not available, but a museum certificate of participation will be issued. As an added feature, this experience will include a day trip to the famous Thracian tomb in Kazanlak. For more detailed information about the project, the field school, the accommodations, and application procedure, see the website.

Excavate an Early Christian Basilica in Bulgaria

Early Christian Basilica at Sandanski

Students and volunteers will have the exciting opportunity this summer to participate in the continuing excavation and investigation of an early Christian basilica in south-western Bulgaria. Operated as a field school, it will run between June and August 2008 as a series of two-week sessions, although those who would like to stay longer may apply for additional sessions. The site is located in the center of the present day town of Sandanski. The work will be directed by a professional archaeologist. Additionally, an interpreter will join the team, so fluent English is the only requirement. Added attractions to this experience will include a field trip to the ancient site of Philippi in Greece and a hands-on course on mosaic production, where participants will work together to create mosaics similar to those found on the floors of the excavated basilica, using the same working techniques as the ancients. For more detailed information about the site, the field school, the accommodations, and the application procedure, see the website.