As work begins on the infrastructure required to relocate the Israeli army’s bases and training facilities from Sinai to the Negev—in accordance with the Middle East peace agreements—Israel’s archaeological institutions have been mobilized to survey and excavate on an emergency basis threatened sites in the area. Beginning February 1, 1979, salvage excavations began on three of the most important sites in the Negev—Tel Malhata, Tel Masos and Tel Ira. All three are known to have been occupied for long periods in antiquity and lie within the area destined to become the northern airfield of the Negev. The report which follows, by the coordinator of the salvage effort, Moshe Kochavi, describes the significance of these three sites in the Beersheva valley and the progress of Israel’s effort in this endeavor during 1979. Digging will continue throughout this spring and summer. Volunteer inquiries should be directed to Marta Rettig, Assistant to the Director, Israel Department of Antiquities, P.O.B. 586, Jerusalem, Israel 91000.
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