Field Practicals

This week students at Marj Rabba learned about the wonderful worlds of lithics (stones) and pottery from two of our expert analysts. We had hands-on practicals in the afternoon after our long day in the field, yummy lunch, and siesta. Every day in the field we collect up all of the artifacts (broken pieces of pottery, animal bone, lithics (worked stone)). We find the artifacts in situ (that means in their original place/archaeological context) or we find them in the sieve. At Marj Rabba we are doing 100% sieve from all contexts except the very disturbed topsoil. Here Achmed and Amir are sieving the material from their excavated area:


We bring back the artifacts from the field and in the afternoon we record, wash, sort, and label them for the experts to analyze.


Washed pottery drying in a fruit flat.


Here Dina explains some of the intricacies of Chalcolithic . . .

Dina Shalem, PhD Haifa, is the leading expert on pottery from the Chalcolithic in the Galilee. She came by this week and gave us a tutorial on the types of wares, vessel shapes, and elements that go into studying pottery.

Below Yorke talks to the MR crew about lithics. Lithic analysis is the study of stone tools and other chipped stone artifacts using basic scientific techniques. At its most basic level, lithic analyses involve study of the artifact’s morphology, the measurement of various physical attributes, and examining other visible features (such as noting the presence or absence of cortex, for example).


We learn something new everyday at Marj Rabba!


Field Trip – Tel Akko

On Friday the Marj Rabba team took a field trip to Tel Akko.


Marj Rabba visits Tel Akko

We had a great tour courtesy of Prof. A. Killebrew of Penn State. Akko has served as a major trade center in the ancient world, with Bronze and Iron Age levels and appearing prominently in ancient Egyptian, Ugaritic, Assyrian, Classical, and biblical accounts. Prof Killebrew told us that locally Tel Akko is known as Napoleon’s Hill


Napoleon Hill

It is famous as the city that withstood Napoleon’s two-month siege and marked the end of his campaign to conquer the Middle East.


Excavations at Tel Akko

Excavations on this ancient mound have uncovered remains of Canaanite, “Sea Peoples,” Phoenician, Persian, Greek, and Hellenistic culture.

Getting into the swing of things

It is day 3, and we are really getting going.

All of the areas are looking good:

The walls are so high!

Allen’s room in area BB

We have been using our trusty Total Station to relocate missing or migratory stakes:

so laser-y

Our TS looking out into area CC

Students have been getting lessons in what to look for when screening:

Is this a flake?

MH helping new diggers identify artifacts

We are now removing soil in earnest:

so much dirt still left to move

hard at work in area AA

P sweeping her area

and our area supervisors are already losing it:

Dont make BJ angry.

BJ calmly drawing a daily top plan

Our Academic homes . . .

This season we have an array of participants from all over, representing no less than 12 home institutions. Joining us for the first time this year we haveXULA%20Logo a group from Xavier University in Louisiana, ably led by Professor Michael Homan ( and his son Gilgamesh. Yo and Mo worked with Michael way back in the 1990s, when they were all younger, skinnier, and had more hair. I distinctly recall a painted blue D on a white belly …

After a very successful first foray into the Middle East, five more intrepid high school students from the Rowe Clark Math & Science Academy in Chicago, Rowe Clark accompanied by the adventurous Maggie Culhane will join us for four weeks of fun in the sun.

This season at Marj Rabba we also have students and interns from: UChicago_logo

UCONNpomona-college-mobile-wallpaperPuerto Rico


Our staff join us from places like:


And KPMG (

But none of us would be embarking on this big adventure without the permissions and support of the Israel Antiquities Authority


or the logistical and financial support of the Oriental Institute and our many generous donors – we offer our heartfelt thanks!!!

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