|Soft limestone surface|
Well our first week is completed and it was exceptional (See video). We were able to complete one of our major goals of removing a large hump of debris that we created last season which posed as a possible hazard to our hoisting operation. Once this was removed we moved into our second goal of exposing more of the entrance and digging down in front of the cave with the hopes of locating the source of the water. We have already begun to do both and progress has been noteworthy despite the consistency of the debris which comprises of large boulders, many cobbles mixed with heavy mud. This mixture is very difficult to penetrate but our group is highly motivated and have as of today (June 3), been able to remove a little over a meter of this fill and to our surprise we have discovered a surface of soft limestone directly in front to the entrance to the cavern. It is not, as best as we can determine, noted on any of Macalister’s drawings. It appears like it may cover the total width of the entrance. We are not sure of its function yet, but we will continue now to remove the debris, which have accumulated over the past 100 years, to the west (remember the water shaft runs East-West) towards the staircase of the water shaft (the water sources according to Macalister was located at the base of the last step of the water shaft) to see how far this surface continues.
As mentioned, we also have begun to expose more of the entrance to the cavern and hope this week to continue moving into the cavern. We trust as we move into the cavern, there will be a separation from the ceiling of the cavern with the debris that lie inside.
Editor’s Note: Today the team removed 62 bags for debris and welcomed three new team members to the site.
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.