Serendipity in the Negev

From the Jerusalem Post: Serendipity in the Negev.

In late July, archaeologists and students from four universities in three countries – Israel, Germany and Canada – converged on a remote, blisteringly hot hilltop in the northern Negev. Their goal was to perform the first ever archaeological excavation of a Philistine agricultural village, as compared to an urban area or a tel.

"We had a surprise," says co-director Prof. Steve Rosen of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). "Based on prior surveys and test excavations of the site, Qubur al-Walaydah, we believed we’d find a Philistine farming village — an early Iron Age, transitional Bronze Age, farming community. Well, it was there and we found it — with evidence of lots of Philistines. Unfortunately, not much of it was left. It was situated very high up and most of it had been destroyed long ago by plowing."

That was the bad news. The good news was that beneath the mostly-destroyed Philistine village was something the group hadn’t expected – a massive late Bronze Age settlement. "In terms of construction, the Bronze Age settlement was huge," Rosen says. "We have mud brick walls two meters thick and structures 10-15 meters across preserved more than a meter high, all underneath the ground. It’s amazing – mud brick doesn’t last, so finding this kind of thing is very exciting." [continue]