Well, honestly, we were hoping this post would come sometime next week, after two full weeks of digging. Unfortunately, the rain changed our plans (you have to be careful saying that about rain in this country), and we were forced to cut things short. we ended up digging for only five days. So you may ask – how much can you do in five days? was it even worth it? well, the answer is a definite yes, and I’ll try to sum up what we accomplished this season, and hope for more success in the summer (when rain is no threat).
- Having more than 100 different people on the tel digging, from four institutions (Israel College of the Bible, IBEX, Beit Guvrin Military Academy and the Jewish National Fund) and just stray volunteers and the staff is always moving. the friendships formed, and hopefully the fun and experience and learning that occurred over the week on the tel and the next few days washing and reading pottery, will hopefully last a lifetime, and will be looked back on with fond memories. Hopefully some of you who participated will be able to join us again soon. Thank you all for all of your help!
- We came up with a nice group of interesting finds, including Iron Age II pottery for restoration, a couple of masks, an LMLK stamped handle, a complete stone bowl and more.
- We exposed another five meters of the outer wall, preserved to a height of eight courses (and remember you can help restore this wall by participating in the “Rebuild the Walls of Ancient Israel” program – see the link at the top of the page). This is now quite an impressive site when you climb the tell.
- We have begun to reveal the next five meters of the inner wall, and it seems that we now have the joining wall between the two. if this is the case (which it seems to be and we’ll work on this more in the summer), that means we have a casemate fortification system.
- In the center of the tel, we keep revealing more and more Iron Age II architecture, and it seems that the walls visible on the surface, are actually rebuilding of the 8th Century walls, but using very large boulders. the later architecture would seem to date to the 7th Century BCE.
- In our new area – Area B, we fell straight into Late Bronze Age levels, with no Iron Age occupation there. While we are only beginning our work there, this reveals some interesting information about the site and sets the stage for more interesting research. First of all, we now know for sure of Late Bronze Age occupation on the site. It will be interesting to compare our survey and test pit results with the information from the excavation. an interesting point is that there is no Iron Age settlement in this area – the area outside of the fortified summit, facing Philistia. This will need more examination, but may indicate the orientation of the site towards Judah, and the areas to the east where the people living at the site felt safest.
- All in all, we set the groundwork for the summer season, opening 9 new squares. these, along with the 5 from last year will probably suffice for most of the summer season, and make it easier to reach important contexts then.
Now just some pics of people having fun. We’ll post some more pics of the squares next week.
Thanks to Debi for the pics!