Nearing the End

Dear Readers,

The amount of finds has made the excavators concerned about publishing pictures before items go through scientific analysis and review. If they have not, anyone can publish a scientific paper about it before the editio princeps is prepared. And mistakes are often made in early assumption. Therefore this blog went through an edit before posting – and the delay was necessary.

Since writing this I have completed my month on site and brought the Mermelstein family of Los Angeles to dig with us. I hope some of the many who promised to write to the blog will, but the intensity of the effort in the closing weeks means single minded focus – and exhaustion! Reports will continue to filter in…

——–

A month in, it seems we have always been here. Discoveries every day, working down to floor levels, discoveries of material items and structures that it is to early to tell of, and an absolutely wonderful esprit de corps between people from many walks of life and many countries. Who can think of it ending?

Photos are coming to give you a taste of the discovery, intensity of focus, and smiles in the working environment.
As there is one real week of digging left, the general approach will be to expand existing layers, finish up promising areas, and only in certain points make a surgical incision to go deeper.
I spent an hour this morning cleaning animal bones with Curator Leora, which will go to the lab for identification, and yesterday observed pottery reading from the top of the hill, Ido’s layer, where there is enough material found in “good context” that many pots will go to be reconstructed. Leora came over this morning out of the office to show a beautiful clay jar stopper, somewhere between 3000-4000 years old. It was placed over a material and laid on the storage jar as wet clay, thus making a very tight fit.
The weekly roundup tour took place this morning and you can see the pictures on facebook, together with contributions from various volunteers, including my son Nachliel who came for two days. Look them up!
.
Dr. Dudu Cohen, a master guide in Israel and an historical geographer, has not worked in a dig for 30 years, but moved several tons of earth personally from the dig site to the dump site. Everyone enjoyed his humour, erudition, and may have accepted his suggestion that a certain wall is an agricultural terrace. It was great having him.
I have completed my study month at the dig, I hope to visit in the coming two weeks and keep reports and interviews coming to you.
Yours,
Barnea
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Filed under archaeology, Azekah, excavation, Tel Aviv University

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