Can You Dig It?

Gezer 2012 – Update Three

By Gary D. Myers

The first day of the dig is always a challenging day. All the tasks have to been done, but most are mundane. The first day always comes when the team is still trying to recover from jet lag and attempting to adjust to a different climate and a different diet. However, this year’s team embraced their first-day task and made great day of it. These tasks, while mundane, offer the chance to work with and get to know other team members before the work intensifies.

The team arrived at Tel Gezer at about 6:45 a.m. Upon arrival at the site, Dr. Dan Warner gave a brief tour of the site to the team. Highlights of the tour included the Canaanite mud brick gates (3,000+ year-old mud brick is visible), the remains of a massive Canaanite tower, Middle Bronze Age Canaanite walls, a typical Israelite four-roomed house, the Solomonic gates, wall sections dating the time of Solomon and the Canaanite high place. Warner shared about the history and significance of Gezer during the different time periods as the team toured the site. After the 30-45 minute tour, the work began.

The team keeps about large storage container at the edge of Karmei Yosef, a village adjacent to the ancient tel. The items were shuttled up to the top of the Gezer mound and the team began working to set up the work site.

The first day tasks included:

  • Setting up the shade cloths (tent-like structures supported by four poles) – one shade cloth at the top of the hill where we eat lunch and another for sifting and washing near the dump site
  • Filling and placing sandbags (a safety measure to keep rocks from falling into the tunnel)
  • Drinking Turkish-style coffee*
  •  Installing the orange mesh construction fences around the entrance to the tunnel
  • Installing catch fences in the tunnel (two metal fence posts and orange construction mesh to prevent falling rocks from injuring diggers at the bottom of the tunnel)
  • Drinking more coffee*
  • Eating watermelon*
  • Cutting steps in the dirt floor of the tunnel (the actually tunnel floor has rock hewn steps, but the excavation team left a 4-5 foot layer of dirt in the bottom to the protect the rock steps)
  • Filling and placing sandbags on the steps
  • Removing a large hump of dirt in the middle of the tunnel

*These are so much a part of the Gezer dig that these should be official daily tasks. The afternoon break is either watermelon or popsicles. Either way, it hits the spot at just the right time.

The day was a huge success. Much of the prep work was complete, just a little more to do tomorrow.

We received are an official visit from Israeli safety inspectors. They seemed to approve all that we had done to promote safety. I’m sure they will be back to check on us again.

Today’s Gezer Passage

Joshua 10:31-33

“Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Libnah to Lachish; he took up positions against it and attacked it. The Lord gave Lachish into Israel’s hands, and Joshua took it on the second day. The city and everyone in it he put to the sword, just as he had done to Libnah. Meanwhile, Horam king of Gezer had come up to help Lachish, but Joshua defeated him and his army—until no survivors were left.”