Phil Silvia

Phil Silvia

Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project

Project Lead and Field Archaeologist


Published on Sep 22, 2021

Publication Announcement

Dr. Phil Silvia, Director of Scientific Analysis for the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project (TeHEP), announces the publication of a major paper in Nature Scientific Reports entitled: “A Tunguska siz...

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Published on May 31, 2021

Season 15 (2020) Update

If you have seen the National Geographic program (filmed in October 2018 and first aired in March 2019), then you saw Albert Lin interview Dr. Steven Collins and me at Tall el-Hammam. Toward the en...

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Published on Feb 19, 2020

Ongoing Research and Analysis

Research has continued during the three years since survey funded through this project was completed. Many more material samples have been collected from Tall el-Hammam during the annual excavation...

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Published on Mar 17, 2017

More Thoughts on 17 March Reply to Peter Silvia

A surprising "discovery" from exploring the major wadis of the valley is the amount of alluvial deposition that has accumulated over the millennia. If the vertical wall in the sand and gravel quarr...

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Published on Mar 16, 2017

Follow-up with Geologists

Following the tour of Tall el-Hammam with the group of geologists, I had some conversations with Dr. Abdalla Abu Hamed from the University of Jordan about coring studies in the Jordan Valley. This ...

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Published on Mar 09, 2017

An Unexpected Opportunity

I had an unexpected opportunity to deliver a lecture on Monday evening to a tour group of 25 geologists in Madaba who were from 10 different countries. Two days later, I led them on a visit to Tall...

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Published on Mar 05, 2017

Preliminary Report on #SkyFire

In my doctoral dissertation, I hypothesized that a meteoritic airburst is the most probable cause of the civilization-ending destruction of the Middle Ghor (the Kikkar, the flat, circular plain of ...

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Published on Feb 01, 2017

Shifting Gears

My wife Yvonne and I met our goal of exploring all of the major wadis between Tall el-Hammam and the Dead Sea. We have yet to explore the two wadi segments that pass by the site on the north and so...

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Pete: One aspect of my destruction theory is that "ground zero" of the airburst event was the north end of the Dead Sea; hence, #1 is near the NE corner. #3 is in the agricultural footprint of Tall el-Hammam, which was the dominant urban center of the Bronze Age culture on this side of the Jordan...more
The preliminary assessment (subject to change) of the pottery is that it is Byzantine (ca. 6th C. AD) and is, therefore, unrelated to the MB2 destruction event (ca. 1700 BC). There is no ash layer associated with this batch of pottery. Similarly, there is no pottery associated with the ash layer ...more
Reply to:Curtis SmithCurtis Smith
Curtis, I will discuss with the team about what tests should be run. So far, we have only discussed C14.
I have no plans at this time to gather samples from the Cisjordan side of the Kikkar, but I do not rule that out as a future possibility. For now, I am focusing my investigation on the Transjordan side. Thanks for asking.
Azeimeh was abandoned at the end of EB1, so it was not contemporary with MB2 Sodom (time of Abraham/Lot). Azeimeh is now a vast limestone quarry. The formerly occupied area no longer exists. It is highly unlikely that we will learn anything from it. I do not trust the identification by Glueck of ...more
James: I will answer your questions in reverse order. (2) Short answer: No. There have been a total of four excavation projects, including TeHEP, of Bronze Age sites; the other three are inactive. Only TeHEP has been conducted with a specific concern for discovering evidence the destruction mecha...more