There is a time to dig

Most of the archaeological excavations in Israel take place during the summer months. There are several reasons why this is true: (1) college professors are in charge of the digs; (2) college students (slaves), who are out of school, pay to participate in the dig; (3) the dig will not be interrupted by rain. Of course, there are exceptions in certain parts of the country (around the Sea of Galilee, the Negev, etc.).

Numerous sites are excavated during June, July, or August. In previous times scholars waited until the annual professional meetings (November) to hear a report on the findings of the summer dig. Others waited a few more months for an article to appear in Biblical Archaeology Review. Now some information is reported daily by the director or others associated with the dig.

One of the most informative web sites is about the dig at Tel es-Safi/Gath. Prof. Aren Maeir does an excellent job of posting info and good photos of the dig as it progresses. You may follow these reports here.

Prof. Maeir was interviewed by telephone last evening on Fox News. Listen to the interview, which includes some photos, here. Aren describes the Philistines as a “sophisticated culture.”

This photo, which was made in May, shows Philistine soldiers holding the sign to the National Park of Tel es-Safi. Gath was the home of Goliath (1 Samuel 17:23).

Entrance to National Park at Tel es-Safi/Gath. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Philistine soldiers welcome visitors to Tel es-Safi/Gath. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Tel Burna Excavation Project, under the direction of Itzhaq Shai and Joe Uziel, also does a good job of keeping us informed with photos and brief reports. The short season there is complete. Take a look here. The directors think “that the site is the best candidate for Biblical Libnah.” The Assyrians fought against Libnah after they left Lachish (2 Kings 19:8). Tel Burna is the site often pointed out by guides as Moresheth Gath, the home of the prophet Micah (Micah 1:14).

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