Floors and pots!

Apologies for the delay in updating our activities at Marj Rabba, it has been a busy week. One of the goals for this small season was to locate the floor in Room 1 and to define better the associated structures (including floors) to the east of the room. We have had a lot of success this week as careful excavating has uncovered at least three flattened pots, possibly sitting on a floor.

Flattened pot lying on a floor??

Flattened pot lying on a floor??

Flattened pot lying on a floor??

Flattened pot lying on a floor??

Flattened pot lying on a floor??

Flattened pot lying on a floor??

Sometimes to get a good image of the pots in situ we have to make our own “shade”.

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Make shift shade!

Our weekend – Site Visits!

Today we visited some Chalcolithic sites as one big happy family. First we stopped at Tel Teo.

A man in tall grass, checking out a tel site

A man in tall grass, checking out Tel Te’o

Tel Te’o is a very tiny tel. A small portion of the site was excavated in advance of road development. The Tel Te’o publication states that there is evidence of the Pre-pottery Neolithic B, Pottery Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Early Bronze IA, and the Early Bronze II. It was fairly hard to see anything on the surface due to the long grasses and thistles. We did see some basalt and pottery and some large stone walls on the surface

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The gang at Tel Te’o

 

Some folk stayed at the road side to get an overall view of the tel (“I thought that tells were huge and you could see them from anywhere” direct quote from one of our excavators).

 

 

We found a skeleton!

We found a skeleton!

After Tel Te’o we made our way to Rujm el Hiri, which is a standard weekend visit for the Marj Rabba crew. This year we found a cow skeleton – a poor cow that was quite old and suffered from some calcification on its bones.

Girl power at Rujm el Hiri

Girl power at Rujm el Hiri

Rujm el Hiri is an ancient megalithic monument, consisting of concentric circles of stone with a tumulus at center. For many the site is believed to be an ancient observatory and stellar calendar. Today we saw evidence of this in the form of coloured crystals left on the basalt structure. Perhaps folk were visiting during the summer solstice?

Talking about the landscape

Talking about the landscape

Jocelyn R. checks out some crystals left at the site.

Jocelyn R. checks out some crystals left at the site.

Joyce F. prepping for the walk back to the van.

Joyce F. prepping for the walk back to the van.

After two site visits we stopped off on the way home at the Golan Brewery – makers of the Bezelet (basalt) Beer.

Rewards after a morning of Chalcolithic sites.

Rewards after a morning of Chalcolithic sites.

All present and accounted for!!

We are up and running in the field – a total station (many thanks to AD for the donation!), 2 tablets, 3 shepherds, 8 archaeologists, a herd of cows and a herd of goats – no one can stop us! Our last archaeologists arrived last – welcome Jocelyn R. We hope you have a great first visit to the region.

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A man, the total station, and two tablets…

Genius Chad - 2 tablets in the field!!

Genius Chad – 2 tablets in the field!!

Tablets in the field!

Tablets in the field – a dream come true.

We start our days at 5:00am when we climb into the van and head to the site. At 8:30am we eat breakfast on site – sandwiches, yoghurt, granola bars, veggies, and other strange items (today we had weird banana chips). Sometime we share our breakfast spot with a herd of goats and/or a herd of cows.

Sometimes we eat breakfast with goats

Sometimes we eat breakfast with goats

Gabby B in the house

Gabby B in the house – tools of the trade

Day 1 – A small but mighty crew (-1 who arrives this evening)

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JF cleans the baulk and finds some rather large spiders . . .

Day 1 in the field – lots of cleaning thistles, wrapping barbed wire, lots of sandbags, two frogs, a mouse, and a few scorpions. Our final tally is 8 intrepid souls and 8 disappointed folks back in the US. Over the next three weeks we hope to find some floors, to understand the construction of various building, to make some 3D models, and to bid farewell to Marj Rabba.

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Director – Yorke Rowan supervises the clean up.

Sherd dump and barbed wire fencing

Sherd dump and barbed wire fencing

At many archaeological sites in this region the non-diagnostic pottery pieces (mainly body sherds) are dumped back at the site, once they have been weighed, counted, and studied.

BH cleaning

BH cleaning

JF, ACH, GB cleaning in Area BB

JF, ACH, GB cleaning in Area BB

In the coming days guest bloggers will tell tales of the dig – stay tuned for future updates!

The Final Season – MR 2014

Last season we left without finding the bottom of Room 1 in Area BB, which left us feeling that the excavations at Marj Rabba were incomplete. On Sunday we head back to the field where we will be concentrating on this area and wrap up any other unfinished business. It’s a small experienced crew from the following institutions: The College of Wooster, Columbia University, Whitman College, the University of Connecticut, the University of Chicago, DePaul University, and KPMG.

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Area BB and Room 1 – the object of this year’s affections

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Close up of Room 1 and the storage area

We hope to keep our friends and families up to date by blogging regularly about the season. Check back on our progress over the three-week season as we wrap up at Marj Rabba.

New Season Dates

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We are looking for the few, the dedicated, the untiring, for a special short season in 2014.  There are a few places left if you would like to join the team: July 28 – August 18, 2014.

Don’t delay, and don’t forget that the ASOR grant applications are due soon (Feb. 15). They can be found at: http://www.asor.org/fellowships/excavation.html

Room 1 w storage & features

Contact Yorke Rowan (ymrowan@uchicago.edu) or Morag Kersel (mkersel@depaul.edu) for more information.

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TK on the left, AM on the right, sustained by coffee, hummus, and biscuits

When the field excavations and survey end, most people involved return home (or on to their next project!) soon after – to teach, to enroll in their classes, to go back to their real jobs. As any archaeologist can attest, the excitement of discovery and fresh insights while in the field is only one part of the overall research project. The long, arduous process of studying the material culture, biological remains (animal bones, plant remains) and establishing the stratigraphic and contextual relationships begins after the excavations, and sometimes take years.  But even before that process can begin, these materials must be organized; the thousands of files and photographs must be organized in some coherent manner in order to be useful and likewise, the physical remains too must be organized, placed in well labeled containers, and stored in accessible places.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEnter the interns (Ani Marty and Tova Kadish) and one volunteer (Ted Gold). For two weeks, two interns  (Metcalf Interns) from the University of Chicago stayed on in Jerusalem after the excavations for intensive remedial organization, database work, editing, flotation, and a seemingly endless array of other tasks requiring stamina, organization, intelligence, plates of hummus, and boxes of petit beurres. Together AM and TK worked miracles. At the moment they are printing out the 300+ pages final report for the Antiquities Authority – yay!

TG continued working on the sickle blade assemblage, a project he started in 2012 and used for his BA Thesis at the University of Chicago.

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TG and Yorke check out some lithics

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We are very grateful for their professionalism, dedication, and commitment to the Galilee Prehistory Project – we can’t thank you all enough!!!