Bar-Ilan University is now offering fellowships to college students around the world wishing to participate in its annual excavations at Tell-es Safi.
Approximately two dozen fellowships will be awarded, covering room and board at the excavation site for the entire upcoming season (June 28-July 24, 2015). Fellows will cover their travel expenses to and from Israel, and all expenses incurred in Israel outside of the excavations, including the cost of weekends during the dig.
Fellows accepted to the program will commit to participate in all activities for the duration of the excavations, prepare a written report, and take part in filmed interviews on their experiences during the excavations.
The fellowships are being made possible through the support of the Ackerman family of South Africa. In honor of the Ackermans, the archaeological project is being renamed the Ackerman Family Bar-Ilan University Expedition to Gath.
Fellowship applications may be downloaded at http://gath.wordpress.com/ackerman-fellows/ and returned to firstname.lastname@example.org. All application materials, including a letter of recommendation, must be received by December 31, 2014. Recipients will be announced by January 31, 2015.
Now entering their nineteenth year, the international excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath are led by Prof. Aren Maeir, of the University's Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, along with groups from the University of Melbourne, University of Manitoba, Brigham Young University, Yeshiva University, University of Kansas, Evangel University, Grand Valley State University, and additional institutions throughout the world.
Tell es-Safi, the biblical city "Gath of the Philistines" (the home of Goliath), is located in the Tel Tzafit National Park, north of the modern city of Qiryat Gat.
Among the most significant findings uncovered at the site to date are:
A long sequence of finds from different periods, from the late Prehistoric through Modern periods
Impressive evidence of the Canaanite city of Gath during the Early Bronze (3rd millennium BCE) and the Late Bronze (2nd millennium BCE)
Evidence of the various phases of the culture of the Philistines, adversaries and neighbors of the biblical Israelites.
Two Philistine temples, along with ritual items dating back to the Iron Age
Evidence of an earthquake in the 8th century BCE, perhaps of the earthquake mentioned in the Book of Amos I:1.
The earliest decipherable Philistine inscription ever to be discovered, which contains two names similar to the name Goliath.
A large stone altar with two horns, reminiscent of the Israel altar mentioned in Exodus 30:1
Remains relating to the earliest siege system in the world, constructed by Hazael, King of Aram Damascus around 830 BCE, along with extensive evidence of the subsequent capture and destruction of the city by Hazael, as mentioned in II Kings 12:18.
Remains of the Crusader period fortress Blanche Garde built after the first Crusade in the mid-twelfth century CE.