Monday, June 4, 2012

Day 4: Opening the Squares

Today at the site, we worked both our muscles and our minds.  The first task of the day was to lay out our two new excavation squares in Area 2000--the ancient village.  To do so, we used surveying data combined with a tape measure to section off two five meter areas.  One meter around each square serves as a bulk, from which we are able to determine soil color and composition change (among other things).  So we really have two squares that we must measure:  a five meter square including the bulk and a four meter excavation square (excluding the bulk).  To check our measurements, we took a journey back to sophomore Geometry to visit with our good friend Pythagorus.  For the 5 x 5 m square we would expect a hypotenuse of 7.07 m and for the 4 x 4 m square we would expect a hypotenuse of 6.65 m.  And guess what?  We had our squares squared away on the very first try.

After the rush from our mathematical triumph subsided, we began the physically demanding portion of the day with filling sandbags.  We filled many many, but eventually were called away from our task to help the other area--the synagogue of Area 3000--to haul rocks from a soon-to-be excavated square.  The rock pile proved intimidating and required something akin to an assembly line to move.  We worked on it until breakfast and a little longer after.  I was called away for a bit to drive metal stakes into the ground to help hold the shave tent.  My arms are already sore from the exercise.  During this time, however, I made a comment about wishing I knew how to tie more knots.  Micki, the dig administrator, was more than happy to offer some knot tying lessons.  We cut several cords of rope and will be having the lessons later this evening or tomorrow.

We ended the final two hours of the dig officially opening our squares.  We broke ground and began the arduous month long task of peeling back the earth one layer at a time.  We only managed to remove close to 5 cm today, but will continue with 5 cm more in the morning.  The first 10 cm is considered somewhat of a junk locus (because this areas artifacts are largely out of context due to years of rain and burrowing animals).  I will explain more about what constitutes a locus tomorrow.  I will post a few pictures from the dig today below.  Thanks for reading.

A view of our area and its four squares

A close up of our square for the season--Square 7/6

Josh taking final elevations for the daily report