Up to 2007 the Valley of Elah was dead - people drove through, guides knew to say here David fought Goliath, and really good guides knew to stop the bus or van at the creek bed and pick up "slingshot" stones. That is now changed forever. The finds at Elah Fortress- Khirbet Qeiyafa stood the academic world on its head, made world headlines and brought eternal fame to its excavator (thanks to Foundation Stone) and is now mentioned at every conference.
But neighboring Tel Socho and Tel Azeqa have never been excavated properly, and in fact have been untouched for a century - except for surveys. Until now.
Tel Aviv University together with an international academic consortium will begin long term excavations at both sites, six weeks at Azeqa and three weeks at Socho, in Summer 2012.
LandMinds interviewed Profs. Oded Lipshits, Yuval Gadot, and survey-team leader Yoav Tzur on site at ancient Socho, and then in their offices, as they concluded a preliminary survey that has now determined their initial target. Socho's history and geography is reviewed including a consult with historical geographer Dr. Yigal Levin of Bar Ilan University.
These exciting digs will highlight one of the most crucial and famous aras of the Bible and Second Temple period Jewish (and Philistine) life. Together with neighboring Bet Shemesh and Gat, Socho and Azeqa will further ensure that the attention of the world and of visitors to Israel will be fixated on this anceint and contemporay transition zone.
There are scoops and explanations in this episode of LandMinds you will not hear anywhere else....
A special series of tours for before and during the upcoming Sukkot holiday, including the Western Wall tunnels, will enhance your visit and holiday in Israel.
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