Lecture to be followed by a barbecue dinner, sponsored by OREA, the Austrian Academy of Sciences
RSVP REQUIRED to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Austro-Israeli Expedition to Lachish: First Results after Two Seasons of Excavations
Felix Höflmayer, Research Group Leader, Institute of Oriental and European Archaeology, Austrian Academy of Sciences
Katharina Streit, Post-Doctoral Researcher, The Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities and Social Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
In 2017, a joint team of researchers from Hebrew University, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and University of Vienna have started new excavations at Tel Lachish as part of the project ‘Tracing Transformations in the Southern Levant’ hosted by the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The project focuses on the Middle-Late Bronze Age transition, exploring chronological aspects, material culture and political history of this major site in the Shephelah.
In the first two seasons 2017 and 2018, two excavation areas on the western slope (Area S) and north of the Judean palace/fort (Area P) were explored. First results include substantial architectural remains from several phases within the Late Bronze Age phases of Area S, the continuation of the late Middle Bronze Age palace in Area P, and a rich assemblage of both local and important pottery and small finds.
This lecture summarizes first results and discusses them in light of the prevalent historical narrative of Egyptian-Levantine connections. Finally, open research questions of the project, as well as the excavation strategy for future seasons 2019 and 2020 will be outlined.
Check out some making-of pictures of our new great image film of OREA! We had great fun shooting scenes on site with our team and the great people from Querschuss Film.
Many thanks to all our team members, especially to Miroslav Pleska, Anna Gosden, Ann-Kathrin Jeske, Vanessa Becker, and Agnes Woitzuck; and many thanks to Viktor Schaider (camera), Uros Zuraj (camera assistent), and Christoph Petrik (director) from Querschuss Film for making this possible!
We finished our final week of excavations this year. Volunteers are on their way back home or travelling the country and staff will stay one last week to finish up documentation, take the finds back to Jerusalem, update tool and inventory list and do final photography and photogrammetry.
Our last week has been quite intense. In Area S, we continued to explore earlier (pre-Stratum S-3) phases and discovered an earlier building phase. In Area P, we started to excavate the Middle Bronze Age rooms of the palace and a massive Late Bronze Age pit that not only contained completely preserved pottery vessels, but also an almost complete Mycaenean straight-sided alabastron. Finds from the Middle Bronze Age palace rooms included inter alia an imported Middle Cypriot Red-on-Black bowl (the earliest import that we have so far) and fragments of stone vessels.
On 31 July, we welcomed many distinguished friends and colleagues to our Open Day, presented the highlights of our finds this year and discussed the scope and future of the project. We were honored to welcome David Ussishkin and Lily Singer-Avitz, Gunnar Lehmann from Ben Gurion University, Gili Drori and Yigal Bronner of Hebrew University, Amir Golani and Ron Be’eri from the Antiquities Authority, Avi Shoket, former Israeli ambassador to UNESCO, our dear friend Chanan Cohen from Moshav Lachish and a very special friend Menachem Neumark from Kibbutz Hazorea, who worked together with Katharina Streit in the Ein el-Jarba project.
On 1 August, we welcomed Eliezer Oren from Ben Gurion-University and had the pleasure of discussing our future plans with Tsvika Tsuk, head archaeologist of the Nature and Parks Authority. Finally, on 2 August, the very last day of excavations, we had the honor to welcome Austrian ambassador Martin Weiss and deputy ambassador Andreas Lins to the site and to present our achievements of this year.
We would like to thank our volunteers and staff for their dedicated work and four exciting weeks on Tel Lachish and we hope to welcome them back next year!
Photos by Jared Dye.
We survived the heat wave of week 3 and are looking forward to our last week of excavation in this season. In Area P we opened a new square (G/11) to uncover the eastern extent of the Middle Bronze Age palatial remains and found a new early Iron Age surface in square E/10. In Area S, we found earlier (Stratum S-4) walls and continued to excavate the structural remains on the edge of the Tell.
Enjoy the time-lapse video of Area S and stay tuned for our update on the last week of our 2018 season!
Video and images by Jared Dye.
The second week of our 2018 season saw some great results both in Area S and Area P. In Area S, we continued to go down from the Late Bronze Age IIA levels of the Tel Aviv University’s expedition at the westernmost squares (C/12 and D/12), and in Area P, we reached Middle Bronze Age layers in squares F/10 and G/10. We already see mud-brick walls coated with plaster in the soil of these squares which we can identify as the continuation of David Ussishkin’s Middle Bronze Age palace, and found a new entrance to the easternmost flight of rooms. Further, we continued to explore the later structures of presumably Late Bronze Age date.
Last week was rich not only in architectural features, but also in small finds. Our very first scarab was found in a context from the end of the Late Bronze Age, and in Area P, we unearthed a completely preserved Late Bronze Age chalice. Further, on the plastered floor of the Middle Bronze Age palace we found the charred remains of a wooden beam, carefully retrieved by Lyndelle for further analysis. Other complete vessel shapes, mostly from Area P include bowls and lamps, we continue to uncover substantial amounts of Cypriot White Slip and Base Ring imports, and, for the first time, fragments of Red Lustrous Wheel-Made Ware spindle bottles.
Our afternoons are busy with pottery reading, marking and drawing and special thanks go to Miroslav Pleska for his awesome drawings of our best pieces. In the evening, staff members give lectures about their current work in the project.
We are very much looking forward to our next week and hope for nice finds, especially when we start to excavate the continuation of the Middle Bronze Age palace rooms in Area P!
Images by Jared Dye, Vanessa Becker, and Felix Höflmayer
Sunrise over Area P
Setting up the level
Excavating walls in Area P
Documentation in Area S
Katharina during coffee breakt
Adam, Lyndelle, and a charred wooden beam
Lyndelle sampling timber
Timber on plastered floor in Area P
Ann-Kathrin in Area P
Felix and Anna during breakfast break
Agnes documenting in Area P
Sabrina and an oddly shaped rock
Excavating Area P
Late Bronze Age chalice in Area P
Vanessa and the first scarab of the season
Getting ready for bucket chain
Lecture on radiocarbon dating by Lyndelle in the evening