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Excavations in 2023

Who were the Canaanites, Philistines and early Israelites, and how can we tell them apart? What territories did King David and his successors control? These are questions that the 2023 excavation team of students and staff hoped to help answer by excavating the famous archaeological site of Lachish, second city of ancient Judah.

Working under expert supervision from staff at ACU and the Hebrew University, students were trained in all aspects of digging and conserving an archaeological site and recording the finds. We uncovered a city wall and structures linked to Rehoboam, the third Davidic king. In an ACU first, students also gained knowledge and experience in an onsite chemistry laboratory, revealing clues from organic residue into what people ate, drank and wore.

Lachish is situated about 50km southwest of Jerusalem in the Shephelah (hill district) of Israel. It has long been known that the great city was abandoned following the destruction of the Canaanite city-states in the Late Bronze Age collapse (c.1200 BCE). Philistines moved into the region in the Early Iron Age and controlled major cities such as nearby Gath (Tel es-Safi), home to Goliath. Our excavations sought to understand who took over at Lachish when settlement resumed in the Iron Age.

On weekends the group explored Israel, including Jerusalem, Masada, the Dead Sea, Caesarea, Megiddo and the holy sites around Lake Galilee.

 ACU students at Lachish archaeological digsite in Israel

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