In the spring of 2019 a group of students and teachers from the Protestant Theological Faculty of Charles University (PTF) set off for the site of Tel Moca in Israel, where they spent two weeks working on archaeological excavations.
This was the first year of renewed work on a project led by Prof. Oded Lipschits and Shua Kissilevitz from the Archaeological Institute of Tel Aviv University. Excavations had already been carried out by them on the site in 2012-13, during which they had discovered the remains of a temple which is thought to date from the late 10th century BCE and the first half of the 9th century. The temple was a monumental one, and nothing else like it dating from that period has been found in Judaea so far. Furthermore, the dimensions of the building correspond to the biblical description of the First Temple, which, however, was supposed to have been in Jerusalem, and not in the Tel Moca locality, which is several kilometres away. The discovery thus raises more questions than answers about the historical, social, and cultural context of early Judaea. The PTF has therefore started to cooperate on the renewed investigations into the Tel Moca temple, which will continue in the future and will hopefully provide some answers to the questions that have arisen. It will no doubt be fascinating, not just for the students and teachers of the PTF, but also for the general public, to see the result of these investigations in the coming years.
The archaeological excavations in the Tel Moca locality are part of the long-term cooperation between PTF and the Archaeological Institute of Tel Aviv University which also includes other archaeological expeditions to Israel (in particular the annual excavations in the Tel Azeka locality), the organisation of conferences (most recently in June 2019 at the PTF in Prague), and block seminars (for example in March 2019 we welcomed Shua Kissilevitz to Prague, and in November Alex Wrathall will come to lead a seminar). In this way PTF students and others have the invaluable opportunity to learn at first hand about archaeological investigations in Israel, which provide important information about the history of early Israel, something that is necessary for theologians and especially for biblical research.
Jáchym Šenkyřík, member of the archaeological expedition to Tel Moca in spring 2019