It's been a busy offseason for the members of the Ashkelon staff from participating in the ASOR, SBL and AIA conferences to planning for the 2014 season.
At the ASOR conference, held in Baltimore this year, Dr. Kate Birney presented on Hellenistic Ashkelon, Dr. Ryan Boehm presented on the transition from Achaemenid to Hellenistic rule in western Asia Minor, Dr. Dana DePietro presented on Canaanite lamp and bowl deposits, Dr. Deirdre Fulton presented on feasting and former staff members Dr. Michael Press and Janling Fu also gave papers. In fact, the ASOR program was littered with scholars who have spent a season or two at Ashkelon or are in some way affiliated with the expedition.
At SBL, Dr. Daniel Master, co-director of the excavation, gave a talk entitled "Philistine Religion at Ashkelon."
At the AIA in Chicago, Shimi Ehrlich co-moderated a workshop on fieldwork and the processes involved in trying to work abroad and Janling Fu presented a talk on aspects of state formation in the Iron Age. Other staff members attended, in fact I've almost certainly left people of this recap of who presented on their research, and then they all got stuck in the Windy City a few extra days as Chicago was slammed by 10 inches of snow and record cold temperatures.
With the conferences out of the way, attention now turns towards planning for the 2014 field season which is shaping up to be particularly interesting with two new areas opening up. On the North Tell, Joshua Walton will be opening a step trench in an attempt to get a complete Bronze Age through Crusader, 12th c., sequence. And, near the city center I will be opening a new trench to look for one of Roman period Ashkelon's main streets: the cardo or the decumanus. As these two areas get going, everyone's attention will be on Grid 51, under the direction of Kate Birney, which is fast approaching 604 B.C.E. and what we hope will be more evidence for the destruction of the city by Nebuchadnezzar.
Volunteer applications for the 2014 season are now available. Go the the "Join us" tab on this website to learn more.
Check back often. I'll start blogging more regularly now that planning for the 2014 season is under way.