Friday, July 30, 2010

Week 4: Tell es-Safi/Gath

Week 4 found us with a much reduced team as most of the undergraduates returned to classes. The week was spent drawing sections, then taking down the shade so we could clean for final photographs at Tell es-Safi/Gath. It was wicked hot and reminded me of the many projects I’ve worked on where there was no shade. It was a frenzied week of sweeping our Area, A2 and helping out of neighboring areas in preparation for the final photographs.

Here Alex adjusts the meter stick for photographing the temple in the area neighboring ours. How do we know it's a temple? There are many parallels with the Temple at Tell Qasile. You can find out more info on Aren Maeir's blog:
In addition, we scanned many of our notes. The week ended with final photographs, followed by aerial photographs, and covering our area to protect it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Week 3, Day 4: Tell es-Safi/Gath

Today, one of my PhD students, Caroline Tully uncovered a very interesting floor with lots of debris on it, and Louise "Titch" Titcombe found a tiny pomegranate or opium pod shaped bead, maybe made of carnelian. Tomorrow is our last day of real digging and tonight I'm looking forward to the end of week party.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Week 3: Tell es-Safi/Gath

We've had some other exciting finds this week and I'll blog more about them soon, but in the meantime, this is our University of Melbourne Team Photo with the Australian Ambassador, the Honourable Andrea Faulkner. Note, the students accidentally held up the flag backwards.

Week 3, Day 3: Tell es-Safi/Gath

This week has been another whirlwind and I'll post more later. Today was another big day: one of my students found a tiny gold coil, and another found a fragmentary bull figurine in another rubbish deposit. We have found several floors and documented them, then started excavating them. I went with 3 of my students to see the small Philistine museum in Ashdod. The best part of it was that they had costumes, so we all dressed up like a Sea People's Warriors. They also had a very interesting exhibit on the problem of looting and forgeries. We tried to find the site of Ashdod, but we would've needed a better car, but we did get sense of the landscape. Afterwards, we took a quick dip in the sea, which was very warm. When we got back to the kibbutz, I finally got to see a photo of the very interesting horned altar found at Ashkelon in a previous season.

Friday, July 16, 2010

End of Week 2: Tell es-Safi/Gath

Today we had another exciting day at Tell es-Safi/Gath. It began with a visit from the Australian Ambassador, the Honourable Andrea Faulkner, and continued with uncovering this Philistine amphora.

Here, the Ambassador is speaking with one of my MA students, Sam Crooks.

We also had a visit from the Megiddo team and student Caroline Tully is pictured here speaking with the Megiddo Director, Israel Finkelstein.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Week 2, Day 4: Tell es-Safi/Gath

Although yesterday was rather slow, digging rubbish fill in several areas, we had a big day today. polyvinyl impressions taken of our chisel marks to be studied under an electron microscope in Canada,

In Sharon's square, in fill, perhaps in a courtyard, we found a sealing (aka bulla) but with no image or inscription, a gold earring, and a silver bead.

In Jo's area, we finished the uncovering of our phytolith surface.

While digging yet another rubbish deposit in Dean's area, we found a "celebrity" sherd that was featured in the BBC documentary being filmed on the Bible and a very nice, but broken flint knife.
Tomorrow, the ambassador!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Week 2, Day 2: Tell es-Safi/Gath

Today I supervised Sarah's happy removal of our 4th whole vessel. We also uncovered a layer of phytoliths, supervised by my PhD student Jo. However, I'm pretty tired from my lecture on Cypriot architecture last night, not to mention staying up till 11pm to e-mail from the Australian Ambassador: she's visiting us on Friday!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Week 2, Day 1: Tell es-Safi/Gath

Today was a pretty exciting day in the early Philistine Area, Area A2.

These are two of three Philistine bowls excavated at the north end of our area. They were found under last year's surface of hydraulic plaster (soon to be published in the Journal of Archaeological Science).

Sarah (pictured) and Sharon found the 3 Iron Age bowls and we are hoping for big things tomorrow!

More of our "sacrificed" young goat in a pit was excavated by Liora, our faunal specialist, with assistance from my student Amanda.

This nice rim sherd for a Philistine, Mycenaean style deep bowl came up in one of our pottery bags.

Friday, July 9, 2010

End of Week 1: Tell es-Safi/Gath

On Thursday night, we wrapped up a great week with a felafel party.

Despite the fun, we still had enough energy left to prepare for photos and trench tours. Our rubbish pile was cleaned for photographs and Emily is cleaning the Philistine pavement with chisel marks in preparation for further study.

The week ended with trench tours accompanied by our Aussie mascot.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Excavation: Day 4

Today, my students, Belle and Michelle, found lots of phytoliths under this basalt pestle. We also cleaned the jar smash for photos, and uncovered a chunk of hydraulic plaster from last year's fill.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tell es Safi: Day 3, a Juglet

On day 3 Derry uncovered a complete Philistine juglet. We also have part of another hearth, and some cool animal bones like a piglet jaw and the cervical vertebra of a cow. It must be day 3, because we also found a whole vessel on day 3 last year!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 2 at Tell es-Safi/Gath 2010

I think everyone is doing a great job, despite a few beers last night to break the ice. So far, we have a cobbled surface that may be an extension of the foundation that supported last year's find of hydraulic plaster. Dani is excavating a pottery smash and Dean is instructing his team. You can see more photos on my Facebook page.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 1 at Tell es-Safi/Gath 2010

I have 21 great students that managed to get 8 grid squares clean on Day 1 of the 2010 season of the University of Melbourne team at Tell es-Safi/Gath. There was also time for the kibbutz pool. Tonight a beer, Tomorrow, digging starts!