All areas were up and running today… with shade! We certainly cannot complain about the weather which has been cooler than it can be… Work progressed in all five areas.
A1 – Area A1 is on the east side of the tell running down the eastern Iron II fortifications. Jane and co. opened up an old square that has not been excavated since 2010. In fact, the last time it was excavated my wife (Mindy) and myself (and others) excavated what seemed to be a nice, possible 9th century BCE destruction layer. The destruction was certainly a long time ago, but our excavations also seem like a distant memory 🙂 The main goal for A1 is to locate this Iron IIA layer, excavate it, and perhaps dig below it to an earlier layer. By doing this, we hope to determine the chronological relationship between this possible destruction layer in A1 and the certain Early Iron IIA (10th century BCE) destruction layer found in Area B2 in previous seasons.
A2 – Area A2 is located in the northern part of the summit of the tell and is a familiar sight for those who have visited the tell or followed the blog. Debi’s team plans to continue to excavate below the very large Iron IIB building to reveal earlier layers (9th and 10th centuries?). However, they must also contend with a couple pits that were cut into the middle of the squares by those pesky Persians…
B2 – Area B2 is a 10-meter wide section running east to west on the western slopes of the tell. Aharon has been excavating in this area over the last few seasons and several very important features have begun to emerge. First, the casemate fortification wall which was in use from at least the 9th through the late 8th century BCE. Inside this fortification is a nice building (Four room house?) that seems to be incorporated into the casemate wall. We have excavated much of this building in previous seasons – and we will continue to expand in a new square while also excavating below the structure into the earlier Iron Age levels. In so doing, we hope to finally establish the initial construction date of the fortification wall. Besides that, we also plan to continue excavating the massive Early Iron IIA destruction layer that we have been uncovering the last two seasons. While looking at the section today, Aharon commented on how the winter rains revealed in the balk clear evidence of two stories (of a building) filled with destruction debris. Sam, Matt, Clay, Stahlie, Hannah, and others will be back in this destruction layer very soon….
B3 – Area B3 is a new/old area. Marcella opened this area just south of Area B1 – the large cultic Late Bronze enclosure that I excavated in previous seasons. In our past work, we noted a concentration of large stones (now known as Area B3) could be a new building to the south of the large enclosure or the elusive southern wall of the enclosure. So far, and after only one day, it seems that Marcella along with Mikayla, Reilly, Jerry, and others have some very nice architecture and Late Bronze pottery.
G – Area G was opened last season in hopes of finding the gate of the Iron Age fortifications. Last season, my crew exposed a lot of massive architecture but without very much pottery. This season, we opened two new squares to the west and also plan to open a couple more and continue excavating in a few of the squares that we opened last season. Today, we exposed a nice stretch of the fortification which may be casemate (two parallel walls) in form or perhaps a massive solid wall – we will find out more tomorrow. Significantly, Shawn found a large fragment of a horse and rider figurine – which is a common cultic item from the Iron IIB-C. This is a very nice find – and a great way to begin the excavations in G – now we only need to find the place where the actual horses with their riders came in and out of the site 🙂 For a similar complete example of this type – see here.