Our team has started to arrive in israel for the summer 2014 excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath. It is an exciting time. Aren Maeir and I are looking forward to a very productive field season.
We have divided the pre-excavation work into two groups: a field and a lab team. The field team is composed of Deland Wing (a new PhD student at the University of Manitoba) and Samantha Workman (a new MA student at the University of Manitoba). They are continuing with the LIDAR survey of the upper tell and ensuring that all base datums are properly registered for future surveys. They are concentrating their work this year on the western end of the tell, around Area F. Last year, since Jack Landy and Megan Shields had focused their survey work last year on the eastern end of the tell. Hopefully, we will be able to connect the two areas by the end of the season and will have a detailed LIDAR set of images of the upper tell.
The second part of our team is working in the Bar-Ilan University Tell es-Safi/Gath Laboratory. Annie Brown (an MA student at the Univeristy of Manitoba) is our project administrator and is ensuring that all budgets and other needs are adequately cared for. In addition, she will be looking after the registration of the Early Bronze Age fauna and heavy fraction as it comes into the lab. Jeremy Beller (an MA student at the Univeristy of Manitoba) is extending his research on the Early Bronze Age basalt tools to the other types of ground stone tools that have been recovered. Jon Ross (an PhD student at the Univeristy of Manitoba) is examining the production techniques of the Early Bronze Age ceramics from our excavations at the site.
Of course, there are other essential members of our team who come from Israel. Shira Kisos, who has just finishing her MA at Bar Ilan University under Prof. Aren Maeir. Her thesis on the Early Bronze potters marks has just bee submitted for evaluation and we would like to wish her luck. She will be supervising the excavation of Area E this year under my guidance.
Adi Behar (Weizmann Institute) will be heading up our scientific microarchaeology team. Elizabeth Arnold (Grand Valley State University) has become our official field registrar this year and will be collecting data for her dental isotope studies.
Itzhaq Shai (Ariel University) will be joining us to help with our pottery readings. He is directing the excavations at Tell Burna at the same time and can’t be in two places at the same time. We will miss his presence in the field. He has made tremendous contributions to each of our previously successful field seasons.
There will be others who will join us shortly and I will describe what they are doing in the next installment.