Monday, May 30, 2011

May 30 Gezer Update

By Gary D. Myers

Work got off to a slow start Monday because sandbag steps were needed in several areas near the bottom of the tunnel. It was a slow process, the team couldn’t dig while the bags were filled and place due to concerns on falling debris. Once the sand bags were placed the team worked hard and finished with 97 bags of dirt and rocks (just eight bags less than the day before). Sixty bags were filled after lunch.

Above the Water Source/Closer to the Cave
Before this year’s dig, Dr. Jim Parker developed a detailed CAD drawing of the tunnel based on measurements he has taken and the account of a 1908 excavation by R.A.F. Macalister. Based on the CAD calculations, Parker believes that the team is currently working above the water source. He said that if the team were to dig straight down approximately seven feet, they would reach the spring at the bottom of the tunnel. However, the prime objective is to reach the cavern/cave at the end of the tunnel, so the team is currently clearing from the roof of the tunnel down about 10 feet.

Based on computer calculations, Parker believes the team will reach the cave during this year’s dig.

The Excavation Process – How the Team Removes the Dirt

  1. Three to five people use picks and shovels to loosen the dirt, mud and rocks and from the tunnel.
  2. The debris is loaded into large fabric bags. Each bag holds around 400 lbs. of material.
  3. At the mouth of the water system a large winch is used to drag the bags up the steep grade of the tunnel. Two people are needed to bring the cable down to the work area, another person operates the winch.
  4. At the mouth a crane is used to pull the bags up to the dump site. One person attaches the bag to the crane hold and two are need to signal the crane operator.
  5. The bags are dropped at the dump site where two people work to empty the bags. At the current dump site another spotter is needed to facilitate the drop.
   Continue steps 1-5 100 times per day.

Click here for Photos


The Gezer Water System project is co-sponsored by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary under the direction of Tsvika Tsuk, chief archaeologist at INPA, and Dan Warner, co-director of the Center for Archaeological Research at NOBTS.

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