Digging at Khirbet el-Maqatir 2015: Week Two

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Excerpt The second week of our dig at Khirbet el-Maqatir has ended. Our early morning alarms have been turned off, and we are ready to relax for the weekend! Continue reading

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We graduated a new class of veterans Friday night. Some have been bitten by the archaeology bug and will join us again in the future, while some will be able to mark this experience off their bucket list.

Our weather has been beautiful all week, reminding many of us of San Diego. Since the weather has been clear, several days we were able to see into the Jordan Valley, across to Jordan and the minarets in Amman, and Jerusalem, as well as, encounter the Judean desert. We praise God that injuries have been few and far between, mostly blisters and sore muscles complaining of the load we ask them to bear.

Chinese film crew interview Dr. Scott Stripling.  Photo by Steven Rudd

Ms. Ellen Jackson, our metal detectorist, has been sweeping the site and between her scanning and sifting we found a whopping 114 coins this week. We had the Chinese film crew back on the site again. They were doing interviews with our scholars and getting B-roll shots. We all tried to look busy and productive! Overall, everything has been running smoothly and effectively.

Dr. Bryant Wood

Coin Count:

Square Theme: Rocks, and Dirt, and Flints, Oh My!

Dr. Wood has a beautiful square of mostly dirt. Only a few large rocks dot the landscape, much akin to a zen garden. After a half meter of dirt, they have caught the edge of a possible domestic house that was built against the western side of the Late Bronze wall that he is attempting to trace. It’s a bit difficult since the Late Bronze wall dodges under an modern agricultural wall into a olive grove. His team has been keeping busy finding flints in the hundreds!


Volunteers Ryan Shields and Bill Saxton make the morning

climb to the site. Photo by Roy Andersen

Dr. Mark Hassler

Coin Count: 26

Square Theme: Boulderdash and Your Token Piece of Pottery

Many squares have been complaining of the rock tumble they have had move, but Dr. Hassler’s square can lay claim the the largest stones on the site to move. These stones, probably from our missing left side Late Bronze gate are now tumble in our First Century tower/ gate complex. His team has uncovered 2 chambers (2m X 2m) of a possibly 8 chambered tower that would have been at least 5 stories high. Pottery hasn’t been abundant, but has consistently confirmed its First Century origin.

Ms. Abigail Leavitt

Coin Count: 29

Square Theme:  What'll Ya Have?

Ms. Leavitt’s square has been a whirlwind of activity. Her team has been working in a First Century domestic area of a house they affectionally call The Diner. They found our first in-situ tabun oven at the site, as well as a textbook, picture perfect silo, and a possible pot holder or grinding area carved into the bedrock. They rounded out the week excavating a series of small walls, and closed out the square on Friday. Monday will be a new square with a new theme!  Before this Abby and her team excavated a mikveh.

Square Supervisor Abigail Leavitt constructs a top plan of her silo. Photo by Steven Rudd

 

Dr. Boyd Seevers

Coin Count: Iron Age Doesn’t Have Coins!                

Square Theme: Rocks, and Walls, and People Lived Here

 

Dr. Seevers has been uncovering our Early Iron Age houses on the northwest side of the site. Opening up a new square this week, his team has clearly identified the house’s walls built into the Late Bronze city wall. These settling Israelites dismantled the interior part of the wall, using the stones to build their house, and used the exterior side of the filled wall as the back wall of their house. It makes for a jumbled, hard to distinguish context. There is a differencing opinion on whether this emerging culture was smart and clever using existing walls this way or just plain lazy!


Volunteers Michael Neuburt, Eric Pritt, Emily Shields, and

Detectorist Ellen Jackson wash pottery.  Photo by Roy Andersen

Mr. Steven Rudd

Coin Count:

Square Theme: Rock Pile Gang

Mr. Rudd’s small, but able body team has been moving quickly. They finished up last year’s heavily looted square and moved onto a new square this week. However, one of the $20,000 questions is where to dump the dirt and rocks you excavate. Ideally, you dump in a previously excavated square, but sometimes that isn’t possible and you add your rocks to a “naturally” occurring rock pile. Mr. Rudd seems to be chasing that rock pile from square to square, having to move it each time. Although, it could be possible that they’ve been sentenced to hard labor for their bad puns! Under that pile of rocks, they were treated to a silo to excavate. Unfortunately, it only contained a few inches of dirt and they had it completed in an hour. They have finished their squares and are planning on lending a hand to others.

Dr. Brian Peterson

Coin Count: 25

Square Theme: Ain’t No Place Like A Hole In The Ground

Dr. Peterson’s squares are the squares that keeps on giving. They are by far the most stratified squares we have on the site, containing everything from our First Century Villa to the foundations of our Late Bronze city wall, they’ve got it all. Walls crisscross in every direction. They have also had some beautiful small finds - earrings, bracelet, beads. (He Went to Jared’s!) His team attempted to find bedrock this week, but there seems to be no end in sight.

Volunteers Rachel Temp and Sherry Klick playing in the dirt. Photo by Roy Andersen

Ms. Suzanne Lattimer

Coin Count: 26

Square Theme: The Walls Between Us

Our series of small walls have turned into a series of larger walls this week. Most cannot be crawled over anymore. It makes for moving dirt a long process. We uncovered a door jam and threshold in-situ in the beginning of the week. Today, we decided it might be window instead due to other architectural blocks we found nearby. Next week we might decide it something else. Stay tuned. Sometimes interpreting can be troublesome, digging is the easy part! Lastly, we discovered a silo on Friday just inside the threshold (only further confusing the threshold issue). It is almost completely filled with dirt, making it a tight fit for one person and a bucket. We made a dent, but have many more buckets of dirt to look forward to.

Field Supervisor Suzanne Lattimer and Director Scott Stripling examine a top plan and email Dig Architect Leen Ritmeyer in London

to consult on architectural features in real time.  Photo by Steven Rudd

 

Note from Director of Excavations Dr. Scott Stripling

Thank you to those who are praying for us and have responded to the fundraising appeal in the last update. We need friends like you to contribute $5000 in order to finish the season in the black.  Together we make it happen!


Donate to the Khirbet el-Maqatir Excavation and Research! (Please note in the SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS section that you gift is for the Khirbet el-Maqatir Excavations).

Director Scott Stripling surveying his domain. Photo by Roy Andersen

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