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Ẓafit, Tel

An update to Vol. 4, pp. 1522–1524.

By Aren M. Maeir

RENEWED EXCAVATIONS

Following the conclusion of the excavations by F. J. Bliss of the British Palestine Exploration Fund, little archaeological exploration was conducted at Tel Ẓafit for close to a century. Only limited surveys and illicit excavations had taken place, despite the site’s apparent importance in ancient times and the ongoing controversy over its identification. Since 1996, the Tell eṣ-Ṣafi/Gath Archaeological Project, headed by A. M. Maeir of the Institute of Archaeology of Bar-Ilan University, has been conducting a long-term research project at the site. In 1996–2002, seven seasons of research and excavation, the first phase of this project, took place.

A preparatory season in 1996 included a comprehensive surface survey of the site, aerial photography, photogrammetric mapping, and ground-penetrating radar. The main objectives of this season were to determine the periods represented at the site, best ascertain the size of the site in different periods, and determine whether it would be possible to easily access the pre-Classical period strata on the site.

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