Just posting a video today of the first couple of days in Israel and the beginning of the dig.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
By Gary D. Myers
Today we reached full operational capacity at all three of our excavation areas. We are actively excavating in the water system (Fields A and B), in the buildings near the gate (Field C), and at the Canaanite gate (Field D). Exciting things are happening at each of the locations.
Though today ended on a high note, it started very slow. One of our drivers (this blogger) lost the keys to one of our vans. Quickly we figured out that the keys were lost while I was blogging in the lobby at Neve Shalom. The only problem is that the lobby does not open until 7 a.m. So instead of leaving at 6 a.m., one group did not get to leave until after 7 a.m. The slow start was accentuated by rain, of all things. I have spent many days in Israel and can remember a light rain only a few times. Three or four times there were significant showers. Between rain showers, the teams took starting measurements at the above ground fields and completed the water system sandbagging of the water system before lunch. After our lunch break, each area was able to begin excavating.
The water system team removed 19 bags of material. The water system and the two other fields generated enough pottery for us to start our daily task of washing pottery.
Dr. Dan Warner, Tsvika Tsuk and Eli Yannai talking about the excavation.
Sifting to find artifacts.
Field C excavations.
Bruce Biddy at Field C.
Dr. Chet Roden at Field C.
Mrs. Renee Roden recording dig details at Field C.
Monday, May 23, 2016
By Gary D. Myers
Setup days are always tough. It’s hot, dirty and we are all a bit out of physical shape when the excavation begins. We round up the tools and equipment, set up camp, raise shade cloth, make an unreasonable amount of sandbags, and a thousand other tasks. It takes lots of time and it is some of the hardest work we do during the excavation.
Day two at the Tel Gezer Water System Exploration brought much cooler temperatures and more setup at all of our major work areas. In the water system (Fields A and B), the team repaired and installed the wooden stairs which allow access to the tunnel. Others began the long process of placing sandbags over the ancient steps – 85 steps total, each requiring two to four sandbags. Once setup is complete, the team will begin clearing out the NW quadrant of the pool (Area A). Removing this will expose the full width of the pool area at its shallowest point.
Just as the team began laying the sandbags, we encountered the first real problem of the season. The switch used to control the winch shorted out and, for a time, we were unable lower additional sandbags into the tunnel. This minor setback was repaired within two to two and a half hours, but the lost time means at least one more set-up day in the water system.
Other fun tasks of the day included clearing weeds from the Middle Bronze Age wall and gate area and covering the long, black water pipe with weeds to help maintain a tolerable water temperature.
In Field C (sometimes referred to as “Eli’s House,” last season), setup was complete on day one. Today the crew began clearing the area and digging. The goal of this work is to determine how these structures relate to the gate and the water system. This year the team opened a new surface excavation area near the Canaanite Gate (Southern Gate). Known as Field D, the new area could help provide a clearer picture of the relationship between the gate, the water system and the structures in Field C. According to the archaeologists on site, portions of these two areas have never been excavated. Other portions have been excavated, but have not been fully described or photographed for the archaeological record.
With setup nearly complete, the excitement is building among the Tel Gezer participants. As many of you know, we will not be able to publish much about our most important finds. Information about the important finds will trickle out in academic publications and later in the final dig publication. So bear with us. We are hoping to answer important questions about Gezer this year. We will share as much as we can.
Welcome to Tel Gezer!
Setting up at the tent.
Our main tent at the entrance.
Digging at Area D.
Pottery findings from around the Canaanite Gate.
The Canaanite Gate at Area D.
Digging at Area D.