Can You Dig It?

Gezer 2015 – Update Eleven

By Gary D. Myers

And that’s a wrap

The work is never truly complete at an ongoing excavation. Always more work to do next year. Dig directors have to decide when it is best to stop excavation and focus on washing, reading and recording all the pottery. That moment came today. Around 12:40 p.m. today, the digging team was notified to complete its work by 1:30 p.m.

For all intents and purposes, the 2015 Gezer Water System Expedition has come to an end.

The next few days will involve hours of cleanup, reading and recording pottery and the taking of final photos. Reports will be completed and the tools will be stored.

June 8: First Water, Then Rocks

The deep water threw the dig team a curve on June 7. It is difficult to work all day in shin-deep water. The plague of the water was followed by the plague of the rocks. For several days we had been dealing with a substantial level of rocks. But by June 8, it had become almost in possible to stick your shovel in the ground without hitting a very large stone. We had to stop for a while and measure the area and look at the stones closely to determine if these could be from an unknown structure. After careful examination it was determine to be rubble which tumbled or was thrown into the system.

Our work on June 8 resulted in the largest bag count of this season – 51 bags. We turned to the north to remove a large area of dirt and debris between the center point of the basin and the northern wall. The goal was to find the floor all the way across the width of the basin. We didn’t make on the June 8, but there was still time Tuesday.

Work in Eli’s House also came to a close. The team made great progress this season and learned more about the site near the Canaanite gate. They also encountered large areas of fill dirt and pottery from R.A.S. Macalister’s dig in the early 1900s.

June 9: Washing Dishes

Eighty pottery buckets were waiting on the dig team when they arrived this morning. With such a large backlog, almost everyone had to wash pottery before anything else could be dug or sifted. Each piece of pottery is scrubbed with a small brush, inspected for inscriptions and place in a box to dry. Before 9:30, all the pottery was washed and we were all back to our original work spots.

Two team members started the day in the cavern behind the water system. The two were investigating the source of the dirt intrusions in the cavern. The goal was to find a crack which may be allowing dirt intrusions into the cavern. No crack was found. However, the area was covered with clear vinyl sheeting in hopes of catching a cone of dirt intrusion before the next dig season to help isolate such a crack.

For Emotional Health, We Needed to Find the Floor

In the remaining time this morning, the team began searching for the floor in the middle of the basin. We knew that this would be our last digging day, so we dug as fast as possible this afternoon. It was as if our sanity or emotional health depended on reaching the floor from the center of the basin to the north. We have exposed a good amount of floor along the southern wall, this would give a new look at the basin. We were almost there when we got word to stop digging by 1:30. We dug feverishly and found the floor [more about that in later blogs].