Friday, June 1, 2012

Gezer Dig 2012 – May 31 Update Part 2

Start of the day.
By Gary D. Myers

It is a rare day in the Gezer Water System that you can actually see your progress as well as we saw it today. Most days it seems as if only a few shovels of dirt have been remove when tons have been remove.

End of the day
Much of the day was spent removing dirt from the bottom of the tunnel to give workers headroom to address the cave. What had been three feet of headroom at the start of the day was close to six feet of headroom at the end of the room.  Hopefully, our readers can see that progress in the before and after photos shown here.

At the start of the day, only a small area near the cave had been revealed. We assumed we would find a larger cave opening when we removed the dirt from the left side of the tunnel. Not so. As we worked to lower the ground at the end of the tunnel we found thick layer of weak, chalky material extending down around five feet. The narrow cave opening we found last year may be the extent of the opening. Only time will tell.

On the day the team removed 59 bags of dirt, rocks and debris. The team encountered more rocks and larger boulders during the morning. The material switched to wet silt in the afternoon, leading the directors of the project to speculate that the team is working just above the water source. This theory developed last year as the team cut the probe into the cave. Right at the mouth of the cave the team noticed a very muddy spot. As the team traveled back and forth over that spot it got muddier and muddier. This is the same spot.

During the first two seasons, the bag count has been the major indicator of progress. As we begin to clear the cave, many bags of debris will need to be removed. However, the count is less important now. Dr. Dan Warner will be keeping a watchful eye on the work, hoping to find anything (including an inscription or a pottery layer) that would help date the tunnel. The team will also be searching for an exit through the back of the cave.

Losing team members
Thursday was the last work day for Stephen Woodson Sr. and Stephen Woodson Jr. from Oklahoma. This father and son team has played a key role in this year’s dig and they will be missed. Join us in praying for their safety as they travel home June. 2-3.

The Bad News
There was an equipment malfunction and/or operator error issue during the filming of the Week One video update. We regret to inform you that the update will be delayed for a few days. Hang with us and we’ll get the issues ironed out and post the update as soon as possible.

Today’s Gezer Passage
2 Samuel 5:22-25
Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; so David inquired of the Lord, and he answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move quickly, because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” So David did as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon[d] to Gezer.


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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