Tel Lachish is one of the most important sites of the Bronze and Iron Ages (c. 3300–586 BCE) in present-day Israel. Finds of Early Bronze Age pottery testify to the fact that a substantial settlement must have already existed in the third millennium BCE at the latest. During the Middle and Late Bronze Age (c. 2000–1200 BCE), Lachish was a flourishing Canaanite city whose rulers maintained lively diplomatic exchanges with the pharaonic court in Egypt and other city-states in the region. Numerous imports from Egypt, Cyprus, and even from the Mycenaean palaces of Greece attest to the city’s importance in the second millennium BCE. During the Iron Age (c. 1200–586 BCE), Lachish was the most important city in Judah after Jerusalem. The Assyrian campaigns under King Sennacherib put a temporary end to the flourishing city in 701 BCE, an event mentioned in the Assyrian sources and the Hebrew Bible, and depicted on the famous Lachish Reliefs from Nineveh. The Assyrian conquest was followed by a second decisive blow around 586 BCE when the Babylonian army under King Nebuchadnezzar devastated Judah, conquered Lachish a second time, destroyed the First Temple in Jerusalem, and led the population into exile in Babylonian.
Since 2017, an international team directed by Felix Höflmayer and Katharina Streit from the Austrian Archaeological Institute (ÖAI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) has been digging at Tel Lachish. The Austrian Expedition is currently uncovering parts of the Middle Bronze Age palace of Lachish, which fell victim to destruction at the end of the Middle Bronze Age. Further excavations have uncovered parts of a monumental building of the early Late Bronze Age and adjacent settlement layers. Numerous imported Cypriot pottery fragments and the so far earliest early alphabetic inscription of the southern Levant testify to the importance of Lachish during this period.
Shephelah, South-Central Israel
July 9 - August 4, 2023
Wednesday, March 1, 2023
We will be accommodated at the Mechinat Meitarim in Beit Guvrin, a boarding school for Israeli students who finished high school. Beit Guvrin is a kibbutz with a strong communal aspect to it. We are expected to be friendly and calm members of the community and to keep our surroundings clean. The accommodation has rooms for 34 people in simple bunkbeds. Mattresses are provided, but no bedding or towels. Meals will be prepared in a communal kitchen and organized by the excavation. Hot water showers are provided. A washing machine will be available for a small fee. A fridge available for everyone is foreseen. A small shop for minor purchases is within walking distance.
Please be aware that the accommodation is not a luxury resort and you will be expected to play an active part in keeping our everyday logistics up and running. We will have a rotational system for specific duties.
Felix Höflmayer: Austrian Academy of Sciences
Katharina Streit: Austrian Academy of Sciences
Dr. Felix Höflmayer