Fall 2012 Update
The archaeology class continues to generate excitement. The photos below are of Janelle James, Lindsey Webber and Zach Decker discovering a collection of beads in situ and then measuring their location (triangulating them to plot them on the grid paper). There are some 28 beads in the collection.
In another square, the students are continuing to uncover the skeleton. They now fully understand it is one. The students came over and identified the various bones (femur, pelvis, calcaneus, etc) and have now dubbed the person "Jezebel" and are postulating that the column fell on her and killed her.
A small fully, intact juglet is emerging in another square which they will have to plot and photograph. They have managed to uncover the beads, juglet and skeleton with essentially no damage because of their excavation care.
November 17, 2011 Update
After several years of working (approximately 30 hours a semester), we have finally finished one of the squares to the bottom. This is a series of photos of square F4, which has been worked each semester. We kept all of the architectural features in situ to show how they relate.
These next three slides show the respective levels of the site:
Level 2 represents the 8th century
Level 3 represents the 12th/11th centuries
Level 4 represents the Middle Bronze Age IIB
Obviously only fractions of the buildings are clear (typical of a real excavation), and work is ensuing in the adjacent square to see the connections as the walls might continue west.
We are aware that there is no adequate substitute for a real excavation, but for those who want to get their feet wet (sometimes literally), this at least serves as a respectable context to learn some basic archaeological techniques and to integrate those into the larger social/cultural studies of the biblical world.
November 1st, 2011 Update
The above picture shows two of the students (Emalee Krulish and Emily Weston) taking an elevation. Notice the sandbags that are ready to lay around the perimeter of the squares to help curtail severe erosion.
The above picture shows Luke Hoffmann working to articulate the remnant of a wall in square F4. This square is somewhat confusing to look at because we have left all the architectural features from all three levels in situ to show the skewed relationships and elevational differences of the respective levels. This is our "showcase" square to show visitors about how the different levels do not always look the same. Probably in the next session or two the entire group will move to another square since this one is almost exhausted.
The above picture shows a view of level 2 fully exposed. It shows the NE corner of the city gate along with a small diagonal of a mudbrick wall in the upper right corner. (The soil that is significantly lighter in color than the other soil---thanks to Honors Symposium for the construction of the bricks). Today the students began to penetrate below the surface in this square to find the next level.
The last photo is of our "tea time," when I brew Bedouin tea to serve the students (and guests that might come). This service is contingent upon there not being a burn ban.