Excavating at Ashkelon – and other places

My friends Trent and Rebekah, participating in the archaeological dig at Ashkelon this summer, have posted a survey of the history of Ashkelon in two parts. In their most recent post which they call “Archaeology 101″ they answer some of the common questions they received from acquaintances as they began this project.

Ashkelon is known best to many of us as a Philistine city (1 Samuel 6:17). Trent and Rebekah show us some pottery sherds typical of the period of the Philistines.

Examples of Philistine Pottery Sherds (Left to Right): Philistine Monochrome, Cypriot Milk Jar, another Cypriot Milk Jar, Monochrome Bell Jar Rim and Handle. Photo: Trent and Tebekah

Examples of Philistine Pottery Sherds (Left to Right): Philistine Monochrome, Cypriot Milk Jar, another Cypriot Milk Jar, Monochrome Bell Jar Rim and Handle. Photo: Trent and Tebekah

They explain how their understanding changes as they work at Ashkelon:

Before your eyes, the Philistines transform from the wicked, Samson-hating enemies of Israel to a sophisticated and powerful people–who were also Israel’s enemies.

The tool used by the archaeologist are fascinating to the uninitiated who expect to see a bulldozer and a bull whip. Here are the tools typically found in a square.

Tools of the Trade (Back): Turia, Pickaxe, Brush and Dustpan, (Front) Trowel, Patich, Pottery Bucket. Photo: Trent and Rebekah.

Tools of the Trade (Back): Turia, Pickaxe, Brush and Dustpan, (Front) Trowel, Patiche, Pottery Bucket. Photo: Trent and Rebekah.

Read all about it, and see more photos, at TrentandRebekah.wordpress.com.

Trent and Rebekah were able to meet up yesterday with another friend of mine, Luke Chandler, and (re)visit En Gedi, Dead Sea, and Masada. Luke is working at the Shephelah site of Khirbet Qeiyafa.

I wish the excavation directors at Ashkelon and Khirbet Qeiyafa provided a web site with a few updates on their activities.

Meanwhile, at Tell es-Safi/Gath, Professor Aren Maeir does the best job of anyone I know to keep interested readers informed, and create excitement about archaeology and the dig at Gath. Take a look at his posts during the first week of work at the site. Notice the excitement in the faces of those students who have found a basalt mortar and a bead.

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