As you see from the title of this post, members of our group will be at three different sites this summer. Logistics will greatly complicate our updates and blog posts over the next three weeks. Not only must we juggle the difficulties of different schedules, we each are working in different historic periods and unique settings.
Today marked the third official day of the excavation season and it is time for a much-needed update. The blog has been hampered by my jet-lag and concerns over lost luggage – not to mention the logistic concerns denoted above. Here is an all-too-brief overview.
On Sunday, the entire team from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Liberty University traveled to Tel Gezer for a site tour and several hours of set up. Set up was much easier this summer due to the scope of the excavation work at Gezer. The team will excavate in Area C (the intermural complex – wall rooms near the opening of the water system) and in Area B (the water basin or pool of the water system). The team will not excavate in Area D (MB II gate) or utilize a crane to pull material out of the water system. Volunteers will only probe in the material that remains in the pool area to locate a definite bottom. J.P. Patterson of NOBTS is the area director for Area B and Chet Rodin of Liberty is area director for Area C – in other words, these two areas are in good hands!
Dr. Dan Warner, Dr. Tsvika Tsuk, Dr. Eli Yannai, and Dr. Dennis Cole are overseeing the effort at Gezer. This year we have a dig office set up at Neve Shalom Guest House to intake and process all the pottery. Lyn Pruitt is working again as the conservator for the dig.
The work in Area C continues to yield exciting results – obviously, we cannot discuss any of the best and most exciting finds before these are researched and studied. Over the next few weeks, there will be many occasions for us to say: “We wish we could tell you about what we found today.”
Unfortunately, I am not excavating at Tel Gezer, so photographs and descriptions of each day may be difficult for me to obtain in a timely fashion. I will do best.
On Monday, seven members of our group were sent to Tel Hadid just a few miles north of Gezer to help start the next large excavation of the Moskau Institute at New Orleans Seminary. Our Israeli partner in this new excavation is Tel Aviv University led by Ido Koh. The team – on which I (Gary Myers) serve as a co-area director along with two Tel Aviv students, Alex and Noa) – is doing the preliminary work needed to begin a full excavation next year. In the mornings before “breakfast,” which we are treating as lunch, the team is excavating three half-squares. After our lunch break, we spend several hours surveying smaller sections (survey units) of the tel. During the survey, the team spreads out, usually in groups of three, to pick up all the pottery sherds and other ancient items on the surface of the survey unit. It is a great way to learn how to spot pottery and distinguish pottery from stones.
Follow the Tel Hadid Facebook page for updates - www.facebook.com/Hadid.Expedition/
This morning, several from our team including Dr. Jim Parker left work on an ongoing excavation project at Sepphoris in the Galilee region. The goal is to clear out two cisterns near the front of the archaeological park. Due to the distance, they will stay close their excavation site and therefore, it will be difficult for us to provide update on their work.