Day 9

Ido in the Top Area says he has reached floor level in yet another square. Pottery is coming up with  sheep and goat bones, and some remains will be send for faunal analysis. They have found olive pits which will be analyzed. These can potentially give a date – pun not intended- within a few years that can determine exactly when the building was destroyed or abandoned- the terminus anti quem – the date before which an archaeological artifact must have been deposited. 

The team decided to expose more of this building, so they opened two more squares. That required putting up new fencing, shading, and infrastructure. Ido has to be particularly careful as thousand of people walk right by there – sometimes thousands a day. This installation process comes in place of digging. The safety and protection of the working people and visitors, and the preservation of the remains, require it. 

The dozens of buckets prepared for wet sifting have not yet been analyzed- I saw screen after screen with pies of washed earth drying in the sun. 

Yuval Gadot was listening to this review and pointed out that the quantity of animal bones does not compare to Tel Dor, a significant city. The quantity even in this house may be an indicative factor of the population and its wealth and cult. But it is still early! 

Boaz in Azekah West exposed another mud brick wall; and, a plaster floor; and possibly another installation, meaning an olive press or the like. He says it was a good day and they are proceeding slow and with patience. Some scholars looking at his area have reached conclusions about its potential and have suggested how to speed up the process to find structures right away. Boaz takes his time. Time with Boaz, though, is measured – how long did it take to bring the equipment up, how long the break is- he is super efficient and a model to be emulated. Also, he is working on the side of a cliff, where extreme care must be taken. A sandbag staircase now goes halfway down the hill, and next week will be completed. 

Omer in Azekah South has uncovered so much of a powerful wall, and a floor, that the decision was taken to widen the excavation. This means once again digging through topsoil with mixed and largely meaningless pottery as far as dating goes (Jose and I washed the contents of one of his pottery buckets today); removing trees with the Parks Authority, and starting over so to speak- but this time with a knowledge of the target and depth. Omer is very lucky to have many of our strongest and even professional diggers in his squad! 

Keren sees walls and floors and is carefully and slowly opening new areas to follow them- trickier than Omer’s because she is on a slope, however with the advantage that there is not nearly as much topsoil as fills Omer’s “ledge” below. 

Efrat and Parker in Azekah East are full of anticipation for tomorrow. In my square John and Rachel removed a collapsed wall, which needed sledgehammer work, and even more of an area of garden soil appeared. At the same time the line the experts saw amidst a mass of stones has become very clear, so we have the edge of a building, and maybe a perpendicular wall. We shall see tomorrow. On the upper level walls are appearing and new areas are opening as well to see if they can be understood and dated. In the midst of all this, Efrat and Sara and Shimrit are helping us learn how to record information as are all the respective area managers. We are acquiring skills steadily. 

Dr. Yucal Goren gave us a talk on the Shephelah – Judean Lowlands in the Late Bronze period based on his work in museums and collections throughout the world. His team analyzed the origin of the soils used in the el Amarna letters, many of which came from Canaanite city-states. The methods and the conclusions were striking. The night class for the English speakers was Ido Koch contining his historical series on the Judean Lowlands, while the Israelis had a training session with Efrat and Shatil of how to record data and mark out an excavation area. 

The “Nes Harim pub” area was hopping tonight. I held an interview with Graham Walker of England which will be posted later in the week, and a theological conversation with a European student who is training for the ministry. 

Bob Cargill is working hour after hour and shares his perspectives and varied news sources when he comes up for air. Today when the office was empty he gave me an overview of new kinds of presentations helpful to archaeologists. It is great to have him around

While Prof. Lipschits was preoccupied reading pottery with Leora, Yuval Gadot, and others, he sent Omer to walk around and take  pictures. See the Facebook page and enjoy! 


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