Today, after many truck runs from the container to the tel, lots of equipment prep, removing the winter growth, etc., we actually managed to begin excavating!
This season, we are joined by a number of students from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (led by Prof. Steve Ortiz – co-director of Tel Gezer) and Moody Bible Institute (led by Prof. Steve Sanchez). We also have volunteers/team members from China, Taiwan, USA and Canada. All told – it is already apparent that we have a very good team this year with a lot of potential for some excellent discoveries.
We are excavating in at least four areas this season – A2 (center of the tell – Iron 2 large building), B2 (section on the western slope of the tell), B3 (continuation of large cultic 13th century BC building), C (agricultural installations), and G (presumably the Iron II city gate).
In A2 – Debi and her team are returning after taking a year off – they hope to work in previously opened squares and get down below the 8th century BCE layers to the 9th century (and perhaps earlier) layers.
In B2 – Aharon and co. will be working on a number of different issues including exposing a new square to the north to excavate more of the very nice Iron IIC structure that was excavated last season beside the casemate fortifications. He also hopes to open a new square just north of the very impressive destruction layer that we began excavating only on the last week of the season. This is a very interesting destruction layer that until now has only been exposed in a very narrow section – however – it appears to date sometime in the Iron I or perhaps in the early Iron IIA. One of our main goals in B2 is to get more samples for radiometric/14C dating.
In B3 – Marcella will continue the work done in last seasons in the adjacent Area B1 in which we excavated a large cultic structure from the 13th century BCE. One of the main goals is to locate the southern wall of this building and perhaps also begin work on what appears to be another very large structure on the western lower platform.
In C – Ian and Benjamin will hopefully expose more agricultural installations that will continue to give us further insights into the daily life, agriculture, food processing, etc of the ancient site.
In G – my team has begun the effort to locate the city gate. Either prophetically or presumptively we have called this new area – G – in hopes that we will be able to locate it. Time will tell if our hypothesis is right or wrong… stay tuned.