D6


Day 16 / 20 (80%)

One more week to go.  We’re working hard to try and finish up in all the areas before the season ends this Friday.  We are less people now than we were last week – more people left than came over the weekend – so it’s a good thing our general digging area is smaller than it was.

Though we’re getting closer to the deadline we’re still making interesting finds.  Only today we found beautiful fragments of Iron Age pottery – more complete and of better quality than most of our finds from the period – in area D6.

In C4 we’ve even opened up some new squares that we hope to finish in the last few days of digging that we have left.

Buckets of finds waiting for pottery wash

Buckets of finds waiting for pottery wash

CNS News has an article on the dig up here.  (The piece is aimed at a very specific demographic, and is slightly misleading – headline: Christians Excavate Holy Land Treasures for Summer Fun.)

Day 9 / 20 (45%)

Afternoon silhouettes from this weeks summary tour

Afternoon silhouettes on this week's summary tour

There’s been a lot of progress in the western squares, B2 and C4, over the past day or two.  We’ve reached walls in several different areas, enabling us to fill in some of the blanks regarding the layout of the fortress.

Here’s the B2 wall:

Oded with wall in B2

Oded with wall in B2

We’ve also found walls in C4, one in a square that’s been depressingly finding-less up until now, and the other in a square excavated last year – only 10 cm. below where they stopped last season!

Northern C4 square

Northern C4 square

Wall corner in southern C4

Wall corner in southern C4

And here are some pictures from other areas:

Area D6

Area D6

Finally, some love for area D1

Finally, some love for area D1

Partly collapsed church wall from area D4

Partly collapsed church wall from area D4

Day 7 / 20 (35%)

Shatil sketching rock positions in area D6

Shatil sketching rock positions in area D6

Work in area D6

Work in area D6

Slow but steady progress.  Nothing notable in the dirt (and there was a lot of it) that we dug out of our square today, but we’ve made progress on C4’s main purpose – to fill in the blanks on our map of the site.  That means finding walls, garden areas, water channels and so on, so we can get an idea of what the site looked like and what it was used for.

Measuring a new square in area C4

Measuring a new square in area C4

Today we found what looks like a “ghost of a wall” – an area of fill where a wall used to be.  The building stones of the original wall were dug out by people from a later period, and the resulting “robber’s trench” then filled up with dirt.  Since the new dirt is different from the soil surrounding it, it’s possible to tell where the trench – and therefore the wall – ran.

Theoretically, at least.  When we packed up for the day, we were still trying to figure out how exactly the hopefully-wall stood in the area we’re digging: whether it continued straight, curved to the left, curved to the right or simply stopped.  Got to leave more work for tomorrow, after all…

Part of todays pottery haul from C4

Part of today's pottery haul from C4

Day 4 / 20 (20%)

Prof. Lipschits in area C4

Prof. Lipschits in area C4

This rectangle of area C4 has been excavated down to the bottom.  The part on the right – the white surface that was under the garden soil – is clearly different from the left part of the trench, which goes down lower.  This was either a channel contemporary to the original Assyrian structure – perhaps a channel leading water along the west face of the citadel – or a “robber’s trench” – dug by people from later times who wanted to extract building stones from the ground to use in their own buildings.

Oded in area D4 - the Byzantine monastery

Oded in area D4 - the Byzantine monastery

Living quarters, including the remains of a kitchen, have been found in this area of the monastery.

Prof. Lipschits in area D6

Prof. Lipschits in area D6

At the bottom of this picture the layer of rich garden soil from the Iron Age period is visible.  Area D6 is in a different part of the site from C4 – the Assyrians had extensive gardens in their citadel.

Part of a casemate wall, also in area D6

Part of a casemate wall, also in area D6

Here are some of the finds from this week, cleaned up and on display:

A Byzantine coin horde uncovered today and yesterday, containing approximately 350 coins

A Byzantine coin horde uncovered today and yesterday, containing approximately 350 coins.

A Byzantine coin horde uncovered today and yesterday, containing approximately 350 coins

Various seal impressions on jar handles from several Biblical periods - Assyrian, Persian and perhaps even pre-Assyrian.

A very fine lmlkh (to the king) seal impression, which also bears the name of the city of Hebron

A very fine lmlkh - "to the king" - seal impression, which also bears the name of the city of Hebron. Second from left in the row of handles above.

Shard of Byzantine oil lamp, with writing in Greek

Shard of Byzantine oil lamp, with writing in Greek

The writing on the lamp is a Christian religious inscription – or at least it was meant to be.  Because the Byzantines who made it did not know Greek, they copied the inscription from somewhere else by sight, introducing errors into the text and rendering it jibberish.