Why Excavate Tel Hadid?


Adorned by generations-old olive groves, Tel Hadid sits atop a high hill overlooking the Tel Aviv Metropolitan Area. Over three millennia of settlement history has been sporadically explored during the last three decades. Exploration of the site has primarily included salvage excavations conducted during the late 1990s. A fascinating aspect of the history of Tel Hadid was revealed during these very excavations. Within the remains of an Iron Age II settlement, two cuneiform tablets were found, and were accurately dated to the first half of the 7th century BCE. These two legal documents refer to individuals who bear non-local (mainly Akkadian) names, and were interpreted as members of deportee communities, brought to the country by the Neo-Assyrian Empire. A similar scenario emerges from two tablets found over a century ago at Tel Gezer, where Aramean and Akkadian names are mentioned alongside a local name.

Tablet bearing a legal document written in Neo-Assyrian cuneiform
Neo-Assyrian Tablet from Tel Hadid

As such, the study of the remains at Tel Hadid holds great potential for the advancement of an archaeological understanding of dislocated communities. The dislocation to remote colonial margins forced groups (passively uprooted from their homelands) to reinvent their new home through language, narrative, and myth. The disruptive and disorienting experience of dislocation pressured these groups to adjust their identity (or to form a new one). Textual reflections of such experiences, both ancient and modern alike, have been studied under the umbrella of postcolonialism. Yet the archaeology of such situations is rather limited.

Now, how different would be the behavior of these uprooted groups compared to their local neighbors, and how would it have materialized? What do we, as archaeologists, expect to find in the field? Could we identify differences in architecture, pottery assemblages, animal remains, botanical remains, or various other material remains?

With these questions in mind, the first season of the excavations at Tel Hadid is set to commence this spring. In addition, we aim at a high-resolution survey of its surface and a complete digital documentation of the site’s landscape, including its many agricultural features. This is a joint project, headed by Tel Aviv University and the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, under the direction of Ido Koch (Tel Aviv University), Eli Yannai, and Dan Warner (New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary).

To discover more about Tel Hadid, email us at hadid.excavations@gmail.com.

Excavation Dates: May 28th–June 21st, 2018