Friday, March 6, 2009

Before We Dig

This is how Ashkelon Archealogical Park looks before archaeologist start digging.
The fenced area is where we were digging.

The park was divided into 100 grids with only a few grids being excavated to the bottom. Most of the park will be left untouched.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pottery Cleaning Yard

Here is another view of the Pottery Cleaning Yard. As you can see it was a big operation every day. Students and volunteers would sit in the shade and wash the pottery then set it out in the sun to dray on the wooden pallets. After drying it is moved to the sorting tables.

 It did not take long for the pottery to dry in that hot sun.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


The cardboard boxes we use to bring pottery and bones back from the dig are called "flats" and in this picture we have some flats containg pottery. Attached to each flat is a tag that tells where all the pieces of pottery come from and who excavated it.

This pottery is sitting on the sorting tables so it has been cleaned and is ready for sorting and clarification. Some will go to the Harvard University Lab in Ashkelon for study by PhD. students and some will go to Israeli museums and some will be discarded.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Scarab Seals

Here is a display of Scarab Seals found during the dig in 1999. In this picture the seals are mounted on glass above the mirror so observers can see both the top and the bottom at once.

The Egyptians invented the Scarab seals and used them to impress their seal on documents and clay seals for locking boxes and doors. Some of these seals are egyptian and some are Canaanite. Egypt often conquered Ashkelon and then the Canaanites there copied the ways of the Egyptians.

As the Scarab was considered sacred its image was used on the top of the seal and the owners cartouche was the seal on the bottom.   They looked like the cartouche of my name on the banner of this blog.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Here are two views of a Christian Church in Ashkelon dating from around 500 AD.
Our guide is pointing out a painting on the wall that is slowly fading from view now that it is exposed to the sun and other elements of weather.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Fauna Bones

Not all of the bones we dig up were human. As a matter of fact most were not human. To deal with those bones we had the "Fauna Crew" down at the other end of our row of bone tables these three experts on animal bones sorted them out. They had the more difficult task of sorting than we did as they had to identify not only which bone in the body but also what kind of animal it was.

You can learn a lot about a culture by the bones of their animals both pets and what they ate. It was interesting for me to discover that not only did the Hebrews not eat pork but neither did the Canaanites and other Semitic cultures. The Greeks and Romans did and a lot of it.