Israel Archaeological Dig #13

2018 Israel archaeological excavation at biblical Gath (home of Goliath)

by John Stringer, Tell es-Safi, west of Jerusalem.

In Area M there are also lots of bones emerging as well and a staff member runs a special machine that sorts bones into grades and sizes as well as cleaning them.  They are often hard to discern from stones or lumps of clay when being excavated.

Below: early on in Area M, this unusual curricular structure appeared (left below) and at first we thought it was some sort of olive press. But it turns out to be some kind of storage container, perhaps for pots before they were fired?  Or after firing, as we find pots within as we dig down inside.  Or perhaps these pots fell inside when the room was burned and the vat contained liquid washes as part of a pottery process? Only more archaeology will tell on the Tell.

We find a lot of these broken handles, that would have been attached to a large storage vessel like this one.  Ropes would play through these holes as it was lifted from a ship or onto a cart, or carried about on poles.

The excavation at Tell es-safi is led by Bar-Ilan university in tel Aviv, but a variety of international universities participate, from Kansas, Australia, and Colorado and the team is truly international.  Here are the Diggers from Australia.

And the team from Colorado Christian University.

It’s been a great experience and I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey through this series of snippets on Kiwiblog capturing something of the process of a modern archaeological dig. Gath is a fascinating and intriguing historical site. I look forward to seeing our working finds written up in academic journals in the months and years to come as we add to the understanding of the history of the Levant.