Friday, June 22, 2012

Day 23: Our Last Break

It has been a bit of a roller coaster of a week.  On Tuesday, I started to feel bad on the site and by Wednesday, I was stuck in bed feeling pretty horrible.  I made it to the site on Thursday and Friday, but I spent a majority of both days helping our area supervisor catch up on paperwork.  My health has returned, however, and we are excited to see what turns up in our area.

It is about 6:30 a.m. here and our finally day off before the final push.  After breakfast, we will be loading up and heading out to visit the ancient synagogue at Chorazin.  Following this outing, we will be heading to the Jordan River to test our fates with a white-water rafting adventure.  It has been mercilessly hot this week and and adventure involving water is most welcome.

I am a bad archaeologist for not having the exact measurements, but we are between 5-6 ft. down in our square for the season.  It is becoming somewhat of an endevour to climb down to where we are excavating.  We, of course, take great pride in this.  Until we look to our neighbors who are below us and require a ladder to enter their squares.  This, amongst other things (such as having three diggers in our square verses the veritable metropolis of five to six in each of the other two squares of area 2000), have caused us to affectionately refer to our square as "the square of despair."  Though we joke about this, we are happy and able to do the required work with only three.  The other squares lend help from time to time as well.

One item of interest which we discovered yesterday is that we are beginning to pull out Iron Age pottery.  The square directly next to us who is slightly lower than we are has accumulated a large sum of this pottery.  The problem with this is that we had no idea our site had an Iron Age occupation (there is evidence of Bronze and Iron Age occupation on a nearby hill).  Iron Age is a time period often associated textually with the stories of King David and King Solomon in the biblical books of Kings and Samuel.  This age is broken into sub ages but it begins around 1300 BCE and ends with Assyrians conquest of the Levant in 722 B.C.E.

At first glance, you might think it bizarre that we would have pottery ranging from this early of a time to the Late Roman / Byzantine period (say 5th or 6th c. C.E.).  This is actually easily explained.  Whoever built the level of walls which we are now excavating would have dug a trench along side where the foundation was being laid in order to better maneuver the stones.  To dig these trenches (called foundation trenches), a lot of lower soil would have been turned up and used to fill in the trenches after the foundations had been completed.

I did not take my camera around too much this week and sadly do not have too many new pictures.  I will take plenty today and post them after we return from taming the waters of the Jordan.