Day 2 of excavation – some new activity!

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Today we had our second day of excavations.  some new aspects were added to our work – Shovel pits, and pottery washing.

Pottery washing, a standard activity at excavations, took place after the field work, back at Kibbutz Beit Nir, who have been very kind in helping us in every which way they can!  the idea behind pottery washing is to clean the sherds found the day before (after having soaked for 24 hours), and then set them out to dry so that we can look at the the next day and gather information about the different features we are excavating.

In addition, today we excavated our first shovel pit (or test pit).  this is a type of survey method, where you dig a small hole (1 meter wide and 20 cm deep), sift all the dirt, and collect the pottery.  this is considered to be more reliable than just picking up sherds on the surface (like we did in 2009).  this fits in with our goals of improving survey methods used, which will enable future projects to gather more information through survey, a method less destructive than excavation (as you know archaeologists love to dig destruction, but we also destroy as we dig).

here are some shots from today:

here are Seth, Anthony and Mor working on the shovel pit,

and sifting the dirt from the test pit.

Amit explains to the crew the principles of taking the height of finds using the dumpy level

Eitan washing pottery,

and the pottery drying on the table (the closest pieces are large fragments of Iron Age II bowls found near the fortification wall).

Again, thanks to Mindy and Amit for the photos.


Ground has been broken – there’s no turning back

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Today was the day!!!! We were 14 people making history at Tel Burna, as we began the first excavation ever at the site!

We started the day putting up the shades:

We then split up into four squares, which we set up in order to create a section along the eastern slope.  And we couldn’t of asked for a better first day…..

We managed to move plenty of dirt….

and along the way, we managed to catch the outer face of the fortifications,

and we found some nice pottery along the way (mostly from the Iron Age), including this piece of an oil lamp

with some hard work, we got a lot done and hope that the good times continue.

Thanks to Mindy and Amit for the pictures!

One week in and we are ready for the next

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On Thursday we completed our first week of work. the day was filled with various activities, including more cleaning of the thorns, setting up our grid of squares with J (the team’s surveyor/architect/draftsman), and marking the squares for Sunday when we will begin working int he squares. here are some shots of what we were doing:

Here is Shawn helping J mark the grid, using the reflector of the Total Station.

Here is J taking readings for the grid with his Total Station

Here are Joel, Joel and Shawn marking the squares.

And here is one more agricultural installation – picture courtesy of Shawn French (thanks Shawn!)

Later in the day, we were told that our license was finalized and we could begin on Sunday as planned! I went out to celebrate with 45000 other people, including my wife, cousins and Elton John.

All in all, it was quite a productive first week of work, and we hope that next week will continue on this path.

Three days of work and the walls are looking good!

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Today we completed our third day of work in the field.  we have been focusing on cleaning along the northern side of the tell, where the fortification walls are best seen today.  We have been cleaning along the walls, and have extended the exposure of the segment that Aharoni and Amiran had already seen 50 years ago, to reach the northwest corner of the summit, creating a nice segment of wall.  here you can see the team that was on site today (and thanks to them for their hard work) in front of that same segment of wall.

From Left to right: Debi, Shawn, Joel, Joe, Joel and HooGoo (thanks to Amit who took the picture).

Here’s some of the gang having breakfast (You see, sometimes we do rest)

And here is the eastern end of the north side, with the upper wall exposed.

Lets hope for more fun finds!!!

First Day of the 2010 Season

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Today was the first day of the 2010 season (and the same day that we reached 4000 hits on the blog – hooray!).

7 of us were out in the field, cleaning, surveying and preparing for the fun to come in the next three weeks.  here are a few shots of the activities today:

Here is the team climbing the tell.

Here is one of the wall sfound on the summit after cleaning.  near the wall is a nice pillar base, and possibly another wall, forming a building ont he summit. 

Here is Debi near on olive press that we discovered.

And finally here is an additional olive press that we found:

And this is just the begining….

Hebrew Guidelines

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For those of you who would prefer to read the guidelines in Hebrew, here they are:


English Volunteer Information

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Anyone coming to dig with us may be interested in reading the information in our volunteer information package, which can be downloaded here: