Can You Dig It?

Tel Gezer 2017 - Update 8

By Gary D. Myers

Week Three of the Tel Gezer Water System Expedition has arrived. Only a few excavation days remain and the team is working hard to make the most of those days. While some days seem to speed by with little to no progress, it has been a successful season.

The Water System (Area B)

While much more will be said about this at a later date, the team finally – after eight long years – reached the bottom of the water system. Those words are very satisfying to write, but the work is far from complete.  The dig directors – Dr. Dan Warner, Dr. Jim Parker, Dr. Dennis Cole, Dr. Tsvika Tsuk, and Dr. Eli Yannai – will continue to study the findings from the water system and the two additional excavation areas in an attempt to date the construction of the system. The Area B crew will continue the clean-up process in the water system for the next few days.

The Intramural Complex (Area C)

The Intramural Complex is a group of rooms connected to the MB II wall adjacent to the water system. Due to setup complications and the number of volunteers, the excavation in Area C began late last week. Earlier in the dig, this group of volunteers and staff was a huge help in clearing a large area of bedrock in Area D before moving over to Area C. The team will dig a few small probes this season and will continue their work next summer. The team barely broke the surface before they discovered yet another wall. It seems like we can always count on Area C to provide an interesting discovery.

The Canaanite Gate (Area D)

It has been a challenging season at the Canaanite Gate. Some of the answers we hoped to find have been elusive. Bedrock was much further below the gate than we anticipated and two puzzling fill layers exist in the gate passageway – one ancient and the other modern fill with ancient pottery inclusions. The legitimate ancient fill is a wide, loosely packed group of large stones about 30 cm below the gate passage. The construction method makes no sense as a wall, so the team is currently interpreting it as fill material placed there by the ancient people to build up the area before the gate was built. So far, this is the first fill layer of its type discovered in the land. The other fill material, which consists of dirt and mix of random pottery pieces, was dumped on top of the ancient fill stones during the modern period. It is the only way to explain the unique mix of pottery Dr. Yannai has identified in the area. The contamination makes much of the pottery we collected early this season useless for our purposes. We have found one small area at the north end of the gate that is not contaminated. This area may reveal key evidence which can help date the water system construction.

Interesting Finds

You will have to wait for the official announcements from our dig directors to hear about our interesting finds for this season. While not as extraordinary as the pendant and scarab found last year, we have had a few interesting discoveries. Stay tuned.