Last Thursday (sorry for the delay), we spent a day at the tel with students from Tel Aviv University, who came with Dr. Alex Fantalkin as part of their course on survey methods. We spent the day digging test pits, as part of our project to compare different survey methods. for those of you unfamiliar with the process, the idea behind test pits is that you excavate small pits around the site, to a shallow depth (about 20cm), and sift the material. This way you collect the pottery that would be on the surface, but avoid certain drawbacks of surface collection. so for example, if you collect pottery from the surface, certain periods will be represented more, since the pottery from these periods is decorated and easier to spot. By sifting, you create an unbiased sample.
We were able to do quite a lot with the group, who managed to excavate 16 such pits! This puts a dent in the 200 that we would like to get done. We will be digging more of these with IBEX on Sunday and Monday.
Thanks to Alex for organizing this and to all of the students who participated!