Friday, June 27 (Day 3 of Dig)
4:30 came early today, but with a new excitement what our new area will yield. Climbing the tel again by 4:45 even before the sun rose to the east above the majestic Mt. Hermon, we went directly to our new area, “Areo O.” Yesterday a back-hoe actually cleared a 15m square section for us. Some of the grass and bushes were removed.
Our first task was to do a “pottery survey” of this area. Placing buckets every 2m apart, we began lightly “hoeing” the surface, looking for pottery shards. Lined up in row, we skimmed off the grassy sections and collected the pottery each buckets. Following this, our area supervisors, Dr. Chris (from Cornell) and Ariel (an Israeli from Metulla) took level readings and charted out three 5m squares for digging. The encouraging results from the pottery survey is that it is pottery from biblical time periods. If this new area is anything like Area F near by, we should only have to go down a foot and a half to get down to stone structures (fortification walls, house walls, etc…). We hope this is the case, but Monday is when we start digging here.
As for today, two of us helped the Area F crew. This section opened up last year is already down to biblical time periods (Middle Bronze 2, Iron Age 1). The square where I dug was hoping to come across the continuation of the MB 2 wall (18th-17th century/Canaanite). As we dug down another 6 inches or so, lo and behold there was the tops of two massive stones that seem to be on the same wall line as the opposing square. It was exciting to uncover this part of the wall, knowing it probably dates back to just after the time of Abraham.
Digging in this area was a bit more meticulous as well. While we still used picks, much of the work of exposing this stone wall required hand tools and brushes. A lot of pottery came from the 5 or 6 open squares in this area. At the end of the morning we were surprised to have popsicles. On a very hot and sunny day once again, it was a delight!
We returned to the kibbutz for lunch. A nap (for most) followed, with pottery cleaning once again at 4:30.
Another great day digging in Israel!