First week of the Austro-Israeli Expedition to Lachish 2018

Our team has arrived and we have concluded our first week in the field. We are happy to work with a highly motivated international group from thirteen different countries, including Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The excavation in Area S continues and we opened four new squares east of Area P, north-east of the Judean palace-fort. In the first days we set up shadecloths in both areas, removed the topsoil and the erosion from the last year and went straight down on archaeological remains.

In Area P, square F/10, we already excavated some walls of presumably Late Bronze Age date (Stratum P-2?), which were documented photogrammetrically. In Area S, excavation of Strata S-2 and S-3 continued, the finely laminated ashy layers of S-2 being rich in pottery finds including Cypriot imports such as White Slip Ware and Base Ring Ware and also an almoste complete Late Bronze Age bowl and S-3 yielding the continuation of previously excavated walls.

In the afternoons, we worked in our camp in Sheqef and set up an efficient process for pottery reading, marking and drawing. Square and area supervisors worked at the same time on 3d-models and photogrammetry and we experiment with daily digital top plans.

We were also happy to welcome Prof. Michael Hasel from the Southern Adventist University and former co-director of the Fourth Expedition to Lachish, to show him our current work and discuss Middle and Late Bronze Age chronology.

We are very much looking forward to our second week and will keep you updated on our progress and finds.

Tel Lachish 2018: The last weeks before the excavation

We are very much looking forward to our upcoming second excavation season at Tel Lachish. This year, we will continue to excavate in Area S in order to reach the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age. Additionally, we will open new squares in Area P, next to where the Tel Aviv University’s expedition under David Ussishkin uncovered the Middle Bronze Age palace.

The last weeks have been extremely busy for all of us. Our new (used) shipping container has been delivered to the Albright Institute, our current homebase for the project, Felix joined the Austrian delegation of the visit of the Austrian Chancellor Sebastan Kurz and the Minister of Education, Science and Research Heinz Faßmann to the State of Israel and met with a delegation of Hebrew University, among them Katharina Streit, Ilan Sharon and Katja Cytryn-Silverman.

Our core team arrived on 30 June and 1 July and while Katharina and Felix restocked tools and supplies, Lyndelle Webster, Ann-Kathrin Jeske and Vanessa Becker went for a brief visit to Tel Dan to check for potential radiocarbon dates with David Ilan and Aaron Burke. On 3rd of June, we welcomed our new square supervisors and prepared the site for excavation, rescued a chamaeleon, set up the excavation’s office in our accommodation in Sheqef and tested our new drone.

Besides preparing the excavation areas, on Thursday, Katharina and Felix joined a reception marking the beginning of the Austrian EU-Presidency in the Austrian Ambassador’s Residence hosted by Ambassador Martin Weiss and on Saturday the whole team joined the traditional 4th of July BBQ hosted by the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research.

We finished the preparations for an exciting excavation season. Tomorrow, on July 8th, volunteers from many different countries all over Europe and North America will join us on our second season of the Austro-Israeli Expedition to Lachish.

 

Tracing Transformations at the Radiocarbon Conference in Trondheim

Lyndelle Webster is currently representing Tracing Transformations at the 23rd International Radiocarbon Conference in Trondheim (Norway). Lyndelle presents new radiocarbon results for Late Bronze Age Lachish and Azekah and we are very much looking forward to get new samples in our upcoming season!

Drones over Tel Lachish

 

Last week, Matthew J. Adams of the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research helped us to conduct a drone survey of Tel Lachish. The DJI Mavic Pro Platinum drone took over 1000 high-resolution aerial pictures, and using Agisoft PhotoScan, a detailed, geo-referenced 3D-model of the site was created. This model helps connecting past, current and future excavations.

Check out the 3d-model and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of Tel Lachish (be sure to turn on the sound!).

 

We are most grateful to Matt Adams, the Albright Institute, and the Jezreel Valley Regional Project for sharing their technical knowhow and equipment!