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SAGU student in Tell es-Safi, Israel Waxahachie, Texas – June 7, 2014 – In July, Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) will send a team of eight students and faculty to conduct archaeological excavations at Tell es-Safi, Israel. Led by SAGU instructor, Eric Welch, the SAGU team will work with more than 100 volunteers from around the world to better understand the history of Tell es-Safi and some of its most well-known inhabitants, the Philistines.

Tell es-Safi is identified as biblical Gath, best known as the hometown of the Philistine champion Goliath (1 Samuel 17). Under the leadership of Professor Aren Maeir of Bar-Ilan University (Israel), the excavations at Tell es-Safi are adding important new information to the way scholars understand Gath and its place in biblical history.

As a joint effort between SAGU’s Ancient Studies program and the Department of Communication Arts, the SAGU team will include SAGU faculty member Rob Price, who will lead a team of SAGU media students to film a documentary on the excavation experience.

Ancient studies major, Kristen Flake, will participate in her second season of excavation at Safi. Under the watchful eye of Welch, Flake will train as a square supervisor, a staff position typically held by those with graduate degrees. 

I’m excited to take what I’ve learned in the classroom and put it to the test in the dirt,” said Flake. “It says a lot about SAGU that we’re not just learning archaeology in a classroom, but actually doing archaeological research in Israel.”

SAGU will join major research universities from around the world, including Bar-Ilan University (Israel), the University of Melbourne (Australia), the University of Manitoba (Canada), and the University of Kansas

Loyd Uglow, head of SAGU’s history department, is proud of what the new Ancient Studies major has already accomplished in four years. “We constructed the Ancient Studies major to equip students with tools to understand the time and space of the biblical world. We are thrilled to see our students enter international research environments where they have the opportunity to put their skills into practice while living out a positive Christian testimony to those around them.”

The SAGU team will be in Israel from July 5 to July 25. Follow SAGU’s social media accounts and the Tell es-Safi Archaeology Blog for progress updates.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927 and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.

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