The first day of excavation, you never know what you are going to find. Unless, of course, you are opening a new grid, in which case we actually do have a good idea of what we might find. Usually about a meter below ground level we hit walls and other types of architecture. In the case of Grid 25 (which we thought was going to be the new Grid 32 but which proved to be further north than we realized) excavation started uncovering a drain. Surprising? Not in the least. Almost every excavation area on site which has produced Islamic and Crusader period material has had a drain, a sewer, a well or a sump pit. Now we know, Grid 25 is going to be no different.
The first day of excavation is challenging for a number of reasons from fighting off jet lag while doing manual labor to wrapping your head around the idea you need to sweep the dirt to make it clean. The learning curve, in ways both expected and unexpected, is always significant the first few days of work. It can be all that more difficult when you are in direct sun which is why the sight below is a welcome one in whichever grid volunteers and staff are working.
It makes a big difference having that bit of shade. The hearty volunteers and staff in Grid 16 worked all day without shade. With any luck, though, they enjoyed the strong breezes coming off the Mediterranean. Speaking of Grid 16, Josh expanded it quite a bit this summer. Hopefully, we'll have some pictures soon.
In Grid 51 volunteers began cleaning up after the wet winter. Right now the expectation is that it will take them at least four days to clean up, after which they'll be able to start excavating.
Day One is in the books and the 2015 field season is officially under way.