Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Ashkelon Dig Site

Ashkelon is a city on the Israel Mediterranean coast just north of Gaza. It was first settled by the Canaanite people About 4,000 BC and by 1300 BC was a well developed city with mud brick walls  and arched gates.

This is a picture of my dig site in 1999 and the Canaanite tombs that I worked in are over the edge and about 45 feet down. This was a wonderful place to dig and the seven weeks I spent there were not enough.

For those seven weeks this was the most exciting place to be when every day I was uncovering things that had not seen the light of day in thirty-five hundred years. Awesome!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cleaning Pottery

We found a LOT of pottery in the Ashkelon dig and it was all dirty having been buried for thousands of years.In order to be properly identified the pottery needed to be cleaned. 

Every afternoon the students and volunteer would gather in the pottery yard to wash pottery, clean bones and other artifacts. As we collected lots of pottery it took a lot of people to carefully wash each piece. Here is what that process looked like. Each one had a small bucket of water, a finger nail brush and boxes of pottery that had to be kept with their tags. 

This was also a good time for informal conversations with other diggers so we usually grouped in circles like this to talk as we worked. The vacant space in this picture is where I pulled my seat aside to take the photo.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What It Was

In yesterday's post I had a picture of the Greek vase as I first found it in the ground. Only the round part was sticking up and could have been anything. Here is how it looked when after I excavated it and cleaned it up. In this picture the jug is ready for display.

The tag attached tells future archaeologist where and when it was excavated and also has my name on it as the one who excavated it. They will be able to consult the dig report and see the site map of the exact place where I found it. What joy to discover something like this that was buried with its owner some three thousand five hundred years ago! 

I really need to get back to a dig.

Monday, January 31, 2011

What is it?

In 1999 I was digging in a Canaanite tomb in Ashkelon. I had uncovered a good number of skulls already and thought that this might be another one.

As it turned out my  first I thought that it was another skull was wrong. It was pottery and an import from Greece at that. What was Greek pottery doing in Canaan?. Around 1500 BC the best pottery was imported from Greece and it was expensive so to leave it in the tomb most likely meant that it was a treasure of one of the dearly departed and left with that person.

What joy to dig in the dirt and make shuch interesting discoveries.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

In A Very Large Tomb

My friend Eudora Struble and I are in the opening of a very large tomb in Petra. This was in 2002.

The tomb is huge inside. About the size of a three story house.