Prof. Haskel Greenfield, of the University of Manitoba, and Prof. Aren Maeir, of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University, have been awarded a seven-year, large-scale grant from the Canadian government’s Social Science and Humanities Research Council for the study of Early Bronze Age remains at the site of Tell es-Safi/Gath in Israel. This summer, three Canadian students are receiving full scholarships to participate in the excavations at Tell es-Safi and another biblical site – Tel Burna — being unearthed by Bar-Ilan archaeologists.
The project awarded the grant by the Canadian government is entitled “The nature of early urban neighborhoods in the southern Levant: Early Bronze Age at Tell es-Safi”, and will involve five years of excavation and two years of post-excavation analysis.
The CAN$2.7 million grant (with institutional matching actually reaching close to CAN$4 million) aims to carry out an interdisciplinary study of the Early Bronze Age III city at Tell es-Safi/Gath, with particular focus on the non-elite neighborhoods. In collaboration with a diverse group of scholars from Canada, Israel and other countries, and utilizing macro- and micro-archaeological perspectives, the team plans to study facets of daily life in one of the larger cities of the first stage of urban culture in the Southern Levant. The large-scale funding will enable a broad range of cutting-edge technological and analytical techniques to be used in this research, as well as comprehensive training of the next generation of students.
This research is conducted as part of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project, directed by Prof. Maeir, which is a long-term project (commenced in 1996) aimed at studying the cultural and environmental history of the site of Tell es-Safi/Gath (the biblical Gath of the Philistines) and its environs.
The three Canadians are among more than 40 undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students from around the world awarded full scholarships to participate in the excavations this summer at Tell es-Safi and Tel Burna.
Sixteen students (including one Canadian) are already digging at Tel Burna , a site located in the Shephelah region which served as a border between the kingdoms of Judah and Philistia in the Iron Age. At the beginning of July, 38 students (including all three Canadians) will begin work at Tell es-Safi/Gath (www.dig-gath.org).
“Participation in these excavations provides a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn about — and touch — the history and culture of the ancient Land of Israel — by taking part in revealing ancient finds from biblical times, lectures on related topics and field trips to archaeological sites in the region,” said Prof. Maeir, Director of Bar-Ilan University’s Institute of Archaeology, who selected the scholarship recipients and directs the excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath.
The scholarships, which are the largest ever given by one body for one season, have been made possible through the generosity of the ADAR Foundation. Recipients of the ADAR Foundation Scholarships also hail from Israel, the United States, Argentina, Korea, Hungary, Greece, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain, Denmark, Italy, Northern Ireland, and China. Scholarships cover room and board for a full season of excavations at either or both sites.