About Aren Maeir

Aren Maeir

Aren M. Maeir is professor of archaeology at the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University and is co-director of the Bar-Ilan University/Weizmann Institute of Science joint program in Archaeological Science. Dr. Maeir completed a B.A. in Archaeology and Jewish History and attained his Ph.D. in Archaeology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1997. His primary expertise is Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology, and he has participated in excavations at numerous sites in Israel, including: Hazor, Jerusalem, Beth Shean and Qasile, and has directed archaeological excavations and surveys in Jerusalem (The Western Wall Tunnels, Mamilla, Kikar Safra, Malha), Tell es-Safi/Gath, the Beth Shean Valley and Tel Yavneh. He as published over 100 scholarly and popular studies, and has written and edited several books. He is director of the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project, a long-term, multi-national excavation of one of the largest ancient sites in Israel.

Presenter at

Bible & Archaeology Fest XVIII, November 20 – 22, 2015
Report from Philistine Gath: Fortifications, a Gate and Other Cool Stuff

The 2016 season of excavation at Tell es-Safi/Gath, the 20th year of this project, has revealed yet more fantastic finds. The most exciting finds from this season are, without a doubt the remains of the massive fortifications of the lower city of Philistine Gath, dating to the 10th-9th cent BCE (the time of David and Solomon and slightly afterwards), which apparently include a very large, and well-preserved gate. In the vicinity of the gate there are various structures and features, including a temple and an area of metallurgical activities. These new finds helps us understand the role of Philistine Gath during this period, and most importantly, its status in relation the early Judahite Kingdom. In this lecture, these and other finds from the various excavation areas will be described.

Bible & Archaeology Fest XVII, November 21 – 23, 2014
From the Iron Age to the Iron Dome: News from the 2014 season at Tell es-Safi/Gath

The 2014 season at Tell es-Safi/Gath was conducted during June/July of this past summer. Despite the fact that the hostilities between Israel and the Hamas broke out in the midst of the season, the excavation team managed to keep on digging until the planned end of the season – and had some excellent finds. Even though some missiles landed quite near to us — and they saw many more being intercepted by the “Iron Dome” (a nightly “display of fireworks”) — the dedicated and highly motivated team persevered to uncover great finds from the Iron, Late Bronze and the Early Bronze Ages. This includes evidence of an earlier phase of the fortification of the site during the Early Bronze Age, cultic finds from various periods, and one of the few metallurgical production contexts known from Philistia (the only other one, which is slightly earlier, is from Tell es-Safi/Gath as well…). In this lecture, Professor Maeir will present the main finds from the 2014 season and see how they elucidate important issues relating both to the history of ancient Gath and the land of Israel in general.

Special lecturer for the Biblical Archaeology Society’s 2012 “Exclusive Israel” program, October 13 – 25, 2012

Bible & Archaeology Fest XIV, November 18 – 20, 2011
The Horned Altar of Gath: Recent Discoveries from Tell es-Safi

The 2011 excavation season at Tell es-Safi/Gath (Gath of the Philistines) produced some astounding new finds, including one of the largest and earliest stone altars yet discovered. The altar is reminiscent of the description of the incense altar in the Biblical tabernacle, but has a unique aspect apparently typical of the Philistines: It has two—not four—horns! This presentation will discuss this exciting find as well as several other new discoveries that came to light during the most recent excavations of the city that was home to the Biblical Goliath.

Bible & Archaeology Fest XII, November 20 – 22, 2009
Fleshing Out the Bible at Philistine Gath: The Interface of Bible and Archaeology

The ongoing excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath, which is Biblical Gath of the Philistines, home of Achish and Goliath and one of the largest sites in Israel, have yielded a wide variety of rich and—at times—surprising finds. Of much significance are the many finds from the excavations that have a direct and clear connection with the Biblical text. This includes explicit evidence of several events mentioned in the Bible such as Hazael’s conquest of Gath (II Kings 12:17/18), the earthquake during the reign of Uzziah (e.g., Amos 1:1) and Hezekiah’s westward expansion (e.g., II Kings 18:8), as well finds that have enabled a new, and more new nuanced understanding of various events, customs, and objects mentioned in the Biblical text. All told, the finds from the excavations provide many examples of how the archaeological discoveries from the Iron Age Levant can serve as excellent tools both for a deeper understanding of the Biblical text and provide a new and hitherto unknown perspective based on the material remains from the times in which the biblical texts were initially composed.