Monday, July 30, 2007

Welcome Home/Welcome to Oz!

Returning to Australia also meant eating and drinking, in other words, feasting - a means of renewing relationships. My former supervisor, Prof. Donald Preziosi, his wife, Prof. Claire Farago, and their daughter Mia have been here the month of July as visiting fellows in Art History and in the School of Historical Studies (Inc. Classics and Archaeology). They actually got here several days before I did, and once I caught my breath, they came over for dinner. Donald gave a really great public lecture as well as a talk for my Aegean seminar. We also had dinner with our neighbors, Philip and Dorothy, a few days later. Philip did the rennovation on the church, which became our house, and they live in the front of the house, ooops, church. Dorothy is American, which gives us lots to talk about!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Asta's Homecoming

I arrived home on July 20 and so did Asta. It was uneventful for both of us, but we were glad to see each other and Brian. Both of us immediately settled in to our routines. I'm grateful to our friends Grant and Mandy, and their kids Ellen and Billy for taking such good care of Asta while I was away. Meanwhile, the day after I left Tel Safi, they had a major find of a cult assemblege.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Absence Makes the Hearth Grow Fonder

Today was my last day of digging at Tel es Safi as I have to return to reality, freezing cold weather, and an 8 month high pile of mail. I spent the day uncovering a series of floors, one of them with bones on it, which were associated with the hearth. I also found a tiny piece of bronze - probably scrap. It's important because it may indicate bronze working or at least the possession of it at the site. Meanwhile Brent found a Late Bronze Age wishbone handle from an imported Cypriot bowl while cutting a section through an earlier hearth. Brent is staying for the full season, while Amanda leaves this weekend. I want to thank everyone on the dig, especially Aren, Alex, Jeff, Linda, Miriam, Rotem, Amit, Deb, and Jeff and the students in square A2 for a memorable time. I wish for continued success for the rest of the season!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tel es Safi: Absence Makes the Hearth Grow Fonder...

Although the dig at Tel es Safi goes on for another 2 1/2 weeks, I'm leaving after we finish digging tomorrow as I need to start teaching next week. I'll be back in frigid (it's only 41 deg F!!!) Melbourne on Friday afternoon. We had a pretty eventful day that started with Aren Maeir photographing 2 of our hearths. We had a group photo (Aviva,Aviva, Josh, Me, Brent, Udi, and Area Supervisor Linda Meiberg) taken behind 2 of them before the large one in the middle was taken out. But, that's OK, because we found 2 more later on. Meanwhile, Aviva found a small gold bezel - possibly the only one found on the site. This is in addition to 4 beads found in the square - including 2 carnelian ones! We ended with the usual washing of our pottery. All in all, an eventful day!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Hearths v. Ovens

Today was an exciting day in our square. Scientists from the Weizmann Institute uncovered the hearth pictured in my previous post, in order to take soil samples. There was a Philistine bichrome bell-shaped bowl (aka in the Aegean as a deep bowl) with Mycenaean style spirals lying just above the hearth, which is over half a metre in diameter. In addition, 2 more hearths were found as well as a floor near the hearth. The only way we could tell it was a floor was that there a number of sherds laying flat on it. There is another hearth coming up just next to this hearth, and there may also be a type of oven called a tabun near the new hearth. Why is this important? Hearths are associated with both the Mycenaeans and the Philistines, the Philistines make Mycenaean style pottery, and many archaeologists believe that the Mycenaeans were part of the Sea Peoples contingent that settled in the region known as Philistia. All of this leads to the question - did Canaanites cook in tabuns, while the people making the Mycenaean style pottery use hearths?
Inquiring minds want to know...

A Pottery Lesson

Here our Area Supervisor, Alex Zuckerman and Square Supervisor, Linda Meiberg are teaching Brent and myself how to read and eat Philistine pottery. Meanwhile, Amanda found another bead - she has a few more days to find enough for an entire necklace before she returns home.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Relaxing Weekend...

We spent the weekend in Jerusalem: I packed, Brent studied, Amanda went site-seeing with Jeff Chadwick and his students, but we all managed to catch up on sleep and find time to have last drinks at the American Colony!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Where Alyattes & Wylattes Make Their Mocha Lattes

It's Day 4 and very eventful at Camp, I mean Tel Safi. On Tuesday we visited the EB site of Tel Yarmuth in the afternoon after digging. Last night, I gave a lecture on the Aegean and its connections to the Philistines to a very attentive audience of students and other volunteers. Today, our team began to uncover an Aegean-style, Philistine hearth. It may be the latest such hearth found in Israel, as it sits 50-70 cm above the 11th c. hearth. Here, the Director, Aren Maeir is posing with the new addition to his site, but who are those people in the background??? Elsewhere in our area, the animal head of a ring kernos was found as well as a tiny animal figurine. In another part of the site, an imitation scarab was found. The area we are working in is where the "Goliath" sherd was found last year. This sherd has two words incised on it, which can be read as Alyattes and Wylattes. These are Indo-European names, read in semitic as Goliath, and although this name is famous, it may have been as common for the Philistines as John Smith.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Camp, Ooops, Tel es Safi/Gath Day 1

Yesterday we arrived at Tel es Safi. We is myself and two students: Brent Davis and Amanda Rose, who just arrived from Greece. The day began with a tour of the site and a lecture on Tel es Safi by the Director, Aren Maeir. This morning began with the ride up to the Tel at 5:30 am. We are working in Area A with Alex Zuckerman and Linda Meiberg. We're stoked because Area A is the Philistine area and we spent today cleaning our square, which has a Philistine hearth: which has parallels at Tel Miqne and with Aegean hearths. Amanda found a really nice bead or clothing applique made out of mother of pearl with two piercings. Tomorrow we are taking down a baulk, which may have more hearths in it. I spent part of the afternoon helping Brent and Amanda clean pottery and teaching them a bit about what you can learn from sherds. It's really great digging with my students. We are staying at the Kibbutz Revadim, which feels more like summer camp than a dig. We have air conditioned rooms and there's a huge swimming pool where I soaked off the afternoon heat. This clearly beats living in a tent. On Wednesday, I'm giving an intro lecture on Aegean archaeology.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Off to the Dig...

My student, Brent, arrived a couple of days ago from Greece and today we are going to Tel es-Safi for the excavations. Brent is going for the full month and I'm going for 10 days, and then back to Melbourne. Here Laura, myself, and Celia are having drinks in the garden of the American Colony Hotel. Celia is currently working at Ashkelon and we usually room together every year at ASOR. I guess I'm still celebrating being finished with my book, Theory 4 Classics, especially since my editor said she really liked it and she hopes to have it published by January 2008!