Monday, October 5, 2015

Interested in archaeology: Join the 2016 Tel Gezer expedition

Gezer, Israel May 22-June 10, 2016

About the Project: Participate in New Orleans Seminary’s archaeological excavation of an ancient Canaanite water system (the largest of its kind) at Tel Gezer in Israel and the investigation of structures related to the Bronze Age Canaanite Gate.

Dates: May 22 - June 10, 2016. Volunteers should plan to arrive no later than May 21, and those working all three weeks should plan departures for June 11 or 12.

Cost: $1950 for the three-week season, or $650 per week (Extra days $100 / day) + airfare. Costs cover room, board and weekend travel. Preference will be given to three-week participants. Participants are responsible for their own flights to and from Israel. The dig will arrange airport pickup.

Weekend Travel: The expedition will arrange several field trips covering key regions and archaeological sites of Israel. Weekend travel costs are included in the excavation pricing.

Accommodations: Volunteers will be housed in air-conditioned rooms at the Neve Shalom Guest House, with three to four persons per room.

Academic Credit: Undergraduate or graduate course credit for up to 6 semester hours is available. Standard tuition cost and fees apply.

For More Information: About the dig, contact Dr. Dan Warner ( or Dr. Dennis Cole (, or visit Moskau Institute and Center for Archaeological Research website www.

The ancient city of Gezer, located between Jerusalem and the modern-day city of Tel Aviv, was a Canaanite city-state that reached its height of importance in the Middle and Late Bronze Age. Much of Gezer’s importance derived from its location near the Via Maris, an important ancient trade route. The Bible mentions the city 14 times in the Old Testament. In one of the more important Gezer entries, the Bible reports that an Egyptian pharaoh conquered Gezer and gave it to Solomon as a dowry (1 Kings 9:16). The account records that Solomon rebuilt and fortified Gezer along with Hazor and Megiddo.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Gezer 2015 – And that’s a wrap

By Gary D. Myers 

The work is never truly complete at an ongoing excavation. Always more work to do next year. Dig directors have to decide when it is best to stop excavation and focus on washing, reading and recording all the pottery. That moment came today. Around 12:40 p.m. today, the digging team was notified to complete its work by 1:30 p.m. 

For all intents and purposes, the 2015 Gezer Water System Expedition has come to an end.
The next few days will involve hours of cleanup, reading and recording pottery and the taking of final photos. Reports will be completed and the tools will be stored.

June 8: First Water, Then Rocks
The deep water threw the dig team a curve on June 7. It is difficult to work all day in shin-deep water. The plague of the water was followed by the plague of the rocks. For several days we had been dealing with a substantial level of rocks. But by June 8, it had become almost in possible to stick your shovel in the ground without hitting a very large stone. We had to stop for a while and measure the area and look at the stones closely to determine if these could be from an unknown structure. After careful examination it was determine to be rubble which tumbled or was thrown into the system. 

Our work on June 8 resulted in the largest bag count of this season – 51 bags. We turned to the north to remove a large area of dirt and debris between the center point of the basin and the northern wall. The goal was to find the floor all the way across the width of the basin. We didn’t make on the June 8, but there was still time Tuesday.

Work in Eli’s House also came to a close. The team made great progress this season and learned more about the site near the Canaanite gate. They also encountered large areas of fill dirt and pottery from R.A.S. Macalister’s dig in the early 1900s. 

June 9: Washing Dishes
Eighty pottery buckets were waiting on the dig team when they arrived this morning. With such a large backlog, almost everyone had to wash pottery before anything else could be dug or sifted. Each piece of pottery is scrubbed with a small brush, inspected for inscriptions and place in a box to dry. Before 9:30, all the pottery was washed and we were all back to our original work spots.

Two team members started the day in the cavern behind the water system. The two were investigating the source of the dirt intrusions in the cavern. The goal was to find a crack which may be allowing dirt intrusions into the cavern. No crack was found. However, the area was covered with clear vinyl sheeting in hopes of catching a cone of dirt intrusion before the next dig season to help isolate such a crack. 

For Emotional Health, We Needed to Find the Floor
In the remaining time this morning, the team began searching for the floor in the middle of the basin. We knew that this would be our last digging day, so we dug as fast as possible this afternoon. It was as if our sanity or emotional health depended on reaching the floor from the center of the basin to the north. We have exposed a good amount of floor along the southern wall, this would give a new look at the basin. We were almost there when we got word to stop digging by 1:30. We dug feverishly and found the floor [more about that in later blogs].