Monograph Series No. 34

Tel Beth-Shemesh: A Border Community in Judah
Renewed Excavations 1990–2000: The Iron Age

Author: Shlomo Bunimovitz and Zvi Lederman34_cover
Contributors: Elisabetta Boaretto, Emmett Brown, Ayelet Gilboa, Amir Golani, Yuval Goren, Timothy Griffith, Brian Hesse, Raz Kletter, Nili Liphschitz, Yael Mahler-Slasky, Dale W. Manor, P. Kyle McCarter, Nir Orlev, Eli Piasetzky, Jeffrey I. Rose, Michael Sebbane, Ilan Sharon, Deborah Sweeney, Andrew Vaughn, Ehud Weiss, Steven Weitzman, Ran Zadok



Located at the geographical meeting point of three cultural entities –Canaanites, Philistines and Israelites—Tel Beth-Shemesh is an ideal site for investigating geopolitical, social and cultural dynamics at a border zone. Applying the interpretive methods of anthropology and archaeology of borders, the renewed excavations at Tel Beth-Shemesh, initiated by Shlomo Bunimovitz and Zvi Lederman in 1990, provide novel insights—“a view from the border”—about major topics in the Iron Age archaeology of the southern Levant. They also allow comprehensive reevaluation of the two early excavation cycles at the site conducted by Duncan Mackenzie (1911–1912) and Elihu Grant (1928–1933). The results of the first decade of the renewed excavations are presented contextually under four main themes: the Iron I peasant community on the Philistine border; the Iron IIA transformation of the site into a state administrative center characterized by monumental architectural enterprises; the Iron IIB olive-oil producing town; and a previously unknown short and unsuccessful attempt to resettle the site in the twilight of Assyrian domination in the southern Levant.

Table of Contents

Volume I

Shlomo Bunimovitz & Zvi Lederman

Expedition Staff

Part One: Introductory Essays

Chapter 1: A Tale of Three Expeditions: Tel Beth-Shemesh Excavators,
Excavations and Site Reports in Context
Shlomo Bunimovitz & Zvi Lederman

Chapter 2: Archaeology of a Border Community
Shlomo Bunimovitz & Zvi Lederman 

Part Two: Strategy and Methodology

Chapter 3: Strategy, Goals and Stratigraphical Synopsis
Shlomo Bunimovitz & Zvi Lederman

Chapter 4: Data Acquisition, Recording and Management
Shlomo Bunimovitz & Zvi Lederman

Part Three: The Last Days of Beth-Shemesh

Chapter 5:
Epilogue: Water Drawers and Vicious Neighbors Level 1: Iron IIC CA. 650–635 BCE
Shlomo Bunimovitz & Zvi Lederman
Excursus: Petrographic Analysis of Iron II Holemouth Jars
Yuval Goren

 Part Four: Early Iron Age Village

Chapter 6: A Peasant Community on the Philistine Border Levels 6-4: Iron I CA. 1150-950 BCE
Shlomo Bunimovitz & Zvi Lederman
Excursus A: Petrographic Analysis of Selected “Philistine Ware” Vessels
Yuval Goren

Excursus B: Jar of Dried Figs
Ehud Weiss & Yael Mahler-Slasky
Chapter 7: Animal Husbandry in the Early Iron Age at Tel Beth-Shemesh
Brian Hesse, Emmett Brown And Timothy Griffith
Chapter 8: Crossing the Border with Samson:
Beth-Shemesh and the Bible’s Geographical Imagination
Steven Weitzman

Part Five: The State At Beth-Shemesh

Chapter 9: Royal Intervention: From Village to Administrative Center Level 3:
Iron IIA CA. 950–790 BCE
Shlomo Bunimovitz & Zvi Lederman

Chapter 10: The Lithic Assemblage
Jeffrey I. Rose
Chapter 11: From Village to State: Changes in the Animal Economy
of Beth-Shemesh During the Iron Age
Brian Hesse And Emmett Brown

Volume II

Part Six: Olive-Oil Producers’ Town

Chapter 12: “Your Country is Desolate, Your Cities are Burned with Fire:” The Death of a Judahite Border Town Level 2: Iron IIB CA. 790-701 BCE
Shlomo Bunimovitz & Zvi Lederman
Chapter 13: A Priest’s House at Beth-Shemesh? an Incised qdš Bowl
Dale W. Manor

Chapter 14: lmlk and Official Seal Impressions
Andrew Vaughn
Excursus: Petrographic Analysis of lmlk and Official Sealed Jar Handles
from the Renewed Excvavtions
Yuval Goren

Part Seven: Complementary Studies

Chapter 15: Anthropomorphic and Zoomorphic Figurines and Hollow Vessels
Raz Kletter

Chapter 16: Iron Age Artifacts
Shlomo Bunimovitz & Zvi Lederman

Excursus: A Scarab Of Thuthmosis III
Nir Orlev
Chapter 17: The Iron Age Jewelry
Amir Golani

Excursus: An Inscribed Egyptian Amulet
Deborah Sweeney

Chapter 18: Loom Weights
Shlomo Bunimovitz & Zvi Lederman

Chapter 19 Ḥnn Gaming Board
Section A: Two-Sided Gaming Board Fragment Bearing an Ownership Inscription
Michael Sebbane
Section B: Comment on the Ḥnn Gaming Board Inscription
P. Kyle Mccarter
Chapter 20: The Name “Beth-Shemesh” and the Toponomy of
the Region Around Tel Beth-Shemesh
Ran Zadok

Chapter 21: Archaeobotanical Remains
Nili Liphschitz
Part Eight: Radiocarbon StudiesChapter 22: Tel Beth-Shemesh Radiocarbon Analyses: A Commentary
Shlomo Bunimovitz & Zvi Lederman
Chapter 23: Radiocarbon Dating of the Iron Age Stratigraphic Sequence
Elisabetta Boaretto, Ilan Sharon, Ayelet Gilboa
Chapter 24: Radiocarbon Dating at Tel Beth-Shemesh: A Second Look
Eli Piasetzki
Part Nine: Data In Context

Main Occupational Units–Context And Contents
Shlomo Bunimovitz & Zvi Lederman

Layer List
Feature List

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