Tell es-Safi/Gath I: The 1996-2005 Seasons. Vol. 1: Text; Vol. 2: Plates. By Aren M. Maeir. Agypten und Altes Testament, vol. 69. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2012. Pp. vii + 628, illus.; xii + plates. 168 [euro].
This initial volume of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project summarizes findings from the 1996-2005 excavation of the principal fields, Areas A and E, supplemented by additional information and insights gained through early 2011. Aaron Maeir's overall objective "is the study of the history, archaeology and environment of this site from late Prehistory until modern times" (p. 4), employing as a strategy "a wide, interdisciplinary view, combining a plethora of research perspectives, both relating to the study of the cultural remains, as well as to associated environmental/ecological aspects" (p. 5). The volume's contents amply demonstrate both the historical sweep (EBA, LBA, Iron I, Iron II, and Classical, Medieval, and Modern periods) and the interdisciplinary approach.
Twenty-eight chapters and one appendix present an introduction, overview, and synopsis of results (A. Maeir); history of research pertinent to the site (A. Maeir, R. Avissar); methodology, recording, and processing of finds (A. Maeir, A. Zukerman); survey results and stratigraphy (J. Uziel, A. Maeir, A. Zuckerman, I. Shai, J. Pincus); EBIII, LB, IrI, early IrIIA, late IrIIA, and IrIIB pottery typologies plus provenience and technological studies (I. Uziel, A. Maeir, Y. Gadot, A. Yasur-Landau, A. Zukerman, R. Avissar, C. Ben-Shlomo, Z. Zweig); environmental research (O. Ackermann, H. Bruins, N. Greenbaum, H. Bruins, M. Bar-Matthews, A. Ayalon, A. Almogi-Labin, B. Schilman, M. Davis); archaeobotanical ("a first glance at some of the finds") and faunal assemblages (Y. Mahler-Slasky, M. Kislev, J. Lev-Tov); textual and epigraphic evidence (A. Rainey, U. Levin, H. Etkes, S. Wimmer); specialists' studies of stamp seals, glyptics, weaving implements, ground and chipped stone objects, and notched scapulae (O. Keel, S. Munger, M. Gorg, S. Wimmer, D. Cassuto, J. Citron-Katz, S. Rosen, C. Ben-Ari, Z. Gotesman, A. Zukerman, H. Greenfield, L. Kolska Horwitz, J. Lev-Tov); and historical overviews of the EBA and the Medieval and Modern periods (A. Levy-Reifer, A. Boas). This review focuses on the Iron Age, the most extensively excavated and published period.
Archaeologists owe their audience a historical narrative synthesizing the available evidence and Maier complies with a compelling...