Macquarie University's archaeologists dig their work

THE stories of the ancient Israelites will rise from the dead in July.

Macquarie University student Matthew Williams will travel to Tel Aviv to excavate at the mound of Azekah.

The site in the upper reaches of the Valley of Elah is near the biblical setting of the battle of David and Goliath.

In ancient times, Azekah was an important border fortress and regional centre strategically located along the main route from the coast to Jerusalem.

The Baulkham Hills student's interest in ancient history began when he "became a Christian and began learning about the amazing stories in the Bible".

He will spend a month excavating at the site.

The team will focus on uncovering the late Bronze Age lower city and tracing the fortifications of the Iron Age city mentioned by the Assyrian king Sennacherib.

What it finds will help show what daily life was like in a border kingdom, how a regional centre worked and find out more about the royal administration of Judah.

Mr Williams said the team will be looking for a 701BC "destruction layer".

This includes looking for evidence of fire, smashed artefacts and siege ramps the Assyrians used to smash through city walls.

Dig director Professor Oded Lipschits, from Tel Aviv University, said: "Participation of students specifically in the fields of archaeology, theology and ancient history in Israeli projects, will give them the chance to touch the Holy Land and understand its character and history."

Mr Williams will start work before sunrise each day and work until noon.

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