Thursday, June 26 (Day 2 of Dig)
With a 4:30 wake-up again, we ventured off in the dark to the site again this morning, wondering what the day would bring. Once again upon arriving at the site, we ascended to Area C. A few cows, including a bull, greeted us as we climbed to the top of the tel. A newlywed couple on their honeymoon have been enjoying their time on the dig so far. It was another day of exploring the possible presence of a wall. As we dug further down our 5 x 5 m square, we uncovered more substantial stones. The question is what are they? Were they a part of a wall structure? Some of the stones seemed randomly place, giving some doubt that this is a wall of some kind. Unfortunately, the pottery being found is still very late (not dating to biblical times). Because of the lack of any organized stone structure, it has been determined to open a new square on the western edge of the lower part of the tel. We will begin surveying the preparing for new squares there tomorrow. While we spent these first two days digging with no results, it will be exciting to begin in a new area where there is already evidence of pottery shards from both the Canaanite and Israelite periods.
It was sunny but hotter today too (about 100 actually, higher than normal), with more humidity (not usual for Israel in this area). So the sunscreen was applied in heavy doses. The morning procedure was about the same as yesterday. We dug until 7:15, then had a tea break. Then dug some more until breakfast at 9:15 served under the tree with everyone else. Then we returned to our square and dug until about 12 noon. We then had an archaeology class from Tel Aviv University get a tour of the site. It was an interesting dialogue between our staff and the professor.
Before leaving the tel, I ran around the tel, seeing how massive and strategically-located this biblical site really is. The north side of the tel, the side that faced all the enemies coming south into the land, is steep. We left the tel again at 1:15 with lunch served when we got back. A nap followed for most. At 4:30, we all reported in for “pottery cleaning.” This is when all of yesterday’s pottery (sitting in water for 24 hours now) is washed, clean, identified, and sorted according to where it was found and the time period of the pottery.
We enjoyed dinner together at 6:45, followed by watching the USA vs. Germany World Cup game.