Monday, June 4, 2012

Gezer Dig 2012 - June 4 Update

Up and Out
By Gary D. Myers

For the most part this was an average day at the Gezer Water System.  Lot’s of dirt, lot’s of rocks and lot’s of dust. As so, there isn’t a whole lot to report. Of course there is the ever-present bag count – today we removed 65 bags of dirt, rocks and debris.

The team is screening samples of the bags taken from the natural cave at the end of the tunnel. So far, nothing too spectacular, but we will continue to look. The best pottery samples are turning up in the area believed to contain the water source – a section between the bottom step of the tunnel and the natural cave. Today we found several shards of painted Canaanite Late Bronze Age pottery. We also found the leg of some type of Basalt bowl or platter. Unfortunately, all of these are in R.A.S. Macalister’s backfill mix and therefore of little use for dating the tunnel.

What is it? Causeway or Floor?
Some things weren’t so average. At the beginning of the day, Dr. Dan Warner and Dr. Jim Parker were still trying to determine whether or not the surface that was discovered yesterday is the floor of the tunnel. In Macalister’s account, he mentioned a “causeway” of stones that were placed across the mucky water area he encountered near the water source. Could this be that “causeway” or is it the floor? Today, the team exposed more of the soft chalky area and it seems to be the floor. The area seems to have no seams and it is too large to be carried down the tunnel to this place. So for now the dig leaders believe it is the floor.

Working both ways
Today one team of diggers worked inside the cave, slowly clearing out the dirt. This team went about 4 feet deeper into the cave. The soil inside is very wet and mucky.

Another team is working in the other direction, outside the cave, seeking the bottom step of the tunnel. Near the end of the day hopes were high that the team had reached that step. Maybe tomorrow. Calculations based on Macalister and Vincent’s accounts place us somewhere between 4 to 6 feet from the step.

Blessed with good weather and good health
The dig team has been blessed with beautiful weather throughout our team in Israel. Sunny, but not too hot. This has been a great blessing. Even better than the weather is the team’s health. Last year sickness hampered the work. Some days very few works were able go out to the tel. This year we have been healthy and we appreciate all the prayers on our behalf.

Solomonic Gate at Gezer
Today’s Passage
1 Kings 9:15-16
Here is the account of the forced labor King Solomon conscripted
 to build the Lord’s temple, his own palace, the terraces, the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer.(Pharaoh king of Egypt had attacked and captured Gezer. He had set it on fire. He killed its Canaanite inhabitants and then gave it as a wedding gift to his daughter, Solomon’s wife.


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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