Here is a proposal for a GHF tour to Israel aimed to learn and aid several important archaeological Digs in Israel. I collected 5 sites which I think are the most interesting and important digs going on in Israel right now:
1. City of David
“City of David” is the Biblical name of the Western part of Silwan which is south of the Old City of Jerusalem. This site is the “real” ancient Jerusalem, bearing finds from Canaanite and Israelite periods. Potentially this is the very site where David dwelt, where parts of the bible were compiled, and where Alphabeth and Monotheism became widespread for the first time in Human history.
It is a highly important site. Frankly there is a well operated system for development of the site, Called “Ir David Foundation” or in short “Elad“, but I am sure they will be happy to host a GHF deligation, and offer cooporation.
Here are some photos I took of the site –
2. Tel Tsafit – Gath?
The Philistine city of Gath was known as the hometown of Goliath, the large scale warrier which David slew. Its location had eluded scholarship for many years, yet since the 1990’s Prof. Aren Maeir of Bar-Ilan University is excavating a Tel Tsafit which could be the lost city of Gath. Although he did find noumerous Philistine finds at the site, he is still searching for final proof (e.g. an inscription) that Tel Tsafit is indeed Biblical Gath. No doubt a contribtion by GHF will be much appreciated.
3. Azekah and Socho
Azekah and Socho are the sites were the Philistines and the Israelites camped when the Battle of David vs. Goliath took place.
Most likely Azekah is at Tel Zakaryia, and Socho is at Khirber Sweikeh.
Interestingly enough Socho has never being excavated, and Azekah was excavated when proper digging techinques were not yet employed.
This year (2012) two teams of Tel Aviv Univeristy excavated at these two sites, and I am sure they will appreciate your aid to enable several season of excavating, and who knows, maybe spotting remains which will illuminate the famous battle between the Israelite Sheperd and the Philistine mammoth.
Here is the website of the Tell Socho excavation.
Here is the Website of the Azekah expedition
And here is the weblog of Azekah expedition.
And here is a photo of Azekah from the Ellah valley, site of the David vs. Goliath battle –
Ein-Gedi is a oasis along the western shores of the Dead Sea. It has a unique combination of the beautiful nature reserve along springs, with rich in finds archaeological sites.
I personally participated in the excavations at the site as a student more then 10 years ago, and I wish to help Dr. Gideon Hadas, who is excavating at the site to this day, though on very limited budget.
The main mystery of the site is the famous “Balsam” perfume which was produced in Ein-Gedi, and apperently generated a lot wealth to its residents.
for more then 50 years now several expedition have being trying also to trace the botanical identity of the shrub from which the Balsam perfume was produced, but so far with no success. Perhap your contribution will enable the research which will solve this riddle??
5. Tomb of the Maccabees
Last but not least, not far from where I live is the site where I believe an archaeological expedition could find the lost tombs of the Macabbean Jewish kings. Historical sources tell us their mausoleum consisted of Seven pyramids, and could be seen from the Mediterranean sea. I believe a site north of the modern city of Modi’in might bear remains of the famous burial site, but only an expedition could validate this suggestion.
Here are some photos I took of this site –
If there is a possibility of ME creating an expedition, I would also very much want to conduct some trial digs at a site in the Jordan valley where I believe John the Baptist may have been active for a while. The site, which consists of several springs and is next to a mound called “Tell Shalem”, might be the site mentioned in John 3:23: “Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized.”
Looking forward to seeing you again in Israel!