Gath Dig – Arrival Day
Today was “arrival day” at the Gath (Tel es Safi). This is the 23rd season for this archaeological excavation. The Director for the dig is Israeli archaeologist Dr. Erin Maeir. Gath is located in the Shephelah of Judah.
We arrived at Kibbutz Manachem. Most arrived at around noon. Some of the projects of the afternoon were to transfer the tools and equipment for the site from the storage containers near by. We also checked into our rooms, met some of the staff of the excavations, and lunch.
Tour of the Site
At 3 p.m., we bussed to the site of Gath. The tour of the entire tel was led by Dr. Aren Maeir. We walked to the top of the site from the northern side. The site has occupation levels from Early Bronze/Canaanite (3,500 – 2,050 BC) through the Late Bronze/Canaanite (2,050 – 1,500 BC) and Iron Age I & II/Israelite periods (1,200 – 586 BC). The site of Gath was a massive city occupied by both Canaanites and Philistines. When the Philistines were here (from 1,200 – 830 BC when the city was destroyed by Hazael, the Aramean king from the north (2 Kings 12:17). The tour took nearly two hours.
We returned to the kibbutz for dinner. Since we bus to the site at 5:20 a.m. tomorrow morning, it’s early to bed for most of us!
The area of excavation will be on the lower portion of the site, concentrating on Iron Age/Israelite. It is a privilege and honor to dig here this summer!
Below are more pictures from today’s tour of the site.