2016 Field Season Day 23

Old excavation photos are so interesting and here are a few more. The photograph below is a staff photo from 2000. Both co-directors and three of the four current grid supervisors can be found in the picture.

One of the most important daily jobs? Processing the pottery excavated during the dig day. The photo below is from 1986. The only thing that has changed over the years is that we now dry pottery in cardboard fruit crates.

2016 Field Season Day 20

It's Friday and the end of another busy week. Grid 51 continues to excavate 604. While digging a robber trench today, volunteers recovered a worked bone ligula (a bone spoon). Here are some pictures from a day of excavation in Grid 51.

2016 Field Season Day 19

In addition to being an archaeological site, Ashkelon's national park is also a nature reserve. It is not uncommon for us to see a variety of animals while in the field. Today a mongoose darted out from behind a pile of dirt during a bucket chain. We have spotted mice, foxes, lizards and a wide variety of birds this summer. There is also a herd of goats and sheep that graze in the park regularly.

The park also has a sea turtle rescue program and one of the highlights of each season is when the park releases healthy turtles back into the Mediterranean. 

We have one more day of work this week and then its the weekend. Saturday everyone is off. Sunday the staff is off while volunteers head off on a field trip.

This weekend also marks the halfway point of the season which means several volunteers are leaving while several more will be joining us for the remainder of the season. Only three more weeks of excavation to go!

2016 Field Season Day 18

Some pictures from Community Day. Approximately 15 local junior high school students joined us today to learn about ancient Ashkelon and archaeology. It was great fun for everyone.

We have two more work days this week and then it's the weekend. A schedule change means the volunteers have a field trip on Sunday and excavation will resume on Monday.

2016 Field Season Day 15

The weather is getting hotter and more humid but work continues. In Grid 51 they continue to excavate the Persian layers of the street running past the insula along the east baulk of the grid. They also are continuing the excavation of the 604 destruction of the city. Finally, every day brings them closer to the digging of a large probe to ascertain the full occupational sequence of Grid 51.

We have a long week ahead of us, six work days, but it promises to be exciting.

2016 Field Season Day 13

It's Friday, the end of the work week! Everyone gets to sleep in tomorrow and enjoy a hotel breakfast along with a day of relaxation. Hard to believe two weeks have already passed.

Grid 51 keeps getting deeper and deeper.

The afternoons continue to be busy with pottery washing and processing, container inventory, research and writing on the Hellenistic and Roman Ashkelon volumes, zoo archaeology and botanical analysis. The registrars also spend a lot of time cataloging and recording all of our finds. While we are off this afternoon, we'll be back in the field on Sunday. Check back for regular updates.

 Examining a "flotation" sample

Examining a "flotation" sample

2016 Field Season Day 12

The weather was much more pleasant today with a high of 82 instead of yesterday's mid-90s. There were even a few clouds casting some much appreciated shade.

Grid 51 continues to make dirt.

After a morning of digging, the afternoons are devoted to artifact processing as well as container archaeology. Who knows what we'll find next.

A busy week this week, a full Sunday - Friday schedule, and we have one more dig day tomorrow.

2016 Field Season Day 11

Grid 51 is making a great deal of progress in Week 2. Excavation of Persian layers continues in the street along the east baulk. Elsewhere, they are continuing the excavation of the 604 destruction as well as exposing more of the earlier city.

It was hot today, mid-90s, but most volunteers (and staff) are now used to such temperatures and simply shrug them off. Shade cloths are an archaeologist's best friend! We have two more days of digging this week, a day and a half to relax and then we'll be into Week Three!

2016 Field Season Day Ten

With the season in full swing, the afternoons are very busy with pottery washing, reading and marking, faunal processing, and flotation. Managing all that also means lots of bookwork for the supervisors.

After pottery washing, volunteers stayed a little longer in the Pottery Compound to hear a lecture by Daniel Master and Lawrence Stager on MB and Iron Age pottery.

2016 Field Season Day Nine

While the students were at Seminar Day, the staff was back in Grid 38 uncovering a Philistine house. 

Today, everyone was back in the field. It's a full digging week, Monday - Friday. Things should look very different in a couple of days.

2016 Field Season Day Eight

Seminar Day went off without a hitch. Students spent the day getting tours of the site and learning about various technologies used by the Leon Levy Expedition as well as archaeobotany and zooarchaeology.

 Touring the medieval fortifications

Touring the medieval fortifications

 Walking down the path towards the Canaanite Gate

Walking down the path towards the Canaanite Gate

 XRF Seminar

XRF Seminar

 Microarchaeology Seminar

Microarchaeology Seminar

 Zooarchaeology Seminar

Zooarchaeology Seminar

 GIS Seminar Part 1

GIS Seminar Part 1

 GIS Seminar Part 2

GIS Seminar Part 2

 Archaeobotany Seminar

Archaeobotany Seminar

Tomorrow we are back in the field!

2016 Field Season Day Seven

Picture of the day.

 Detail of restored mosaic found on North Tell

Detail of restored mosaic found on North Tell

Tomorrow is Seminar Day when volunteers have an opportunity to go on tours of the site, learn about microarchaeology and XRF, GIS and much more. Monday we are back in the field.

2016 Field Season Day Six

The excavation woke to the sounds of a triathlon going on just outside our hotel.

 Swimmers transitioning to the bike leg of the race

Swimmers transitioning to the bike leg of the race

It was an early hotel breakfast this morning, always a treat, before the volunteers left for the 7:00 am bus trip to Jerusalem. Once there, they visited Hezekiah's Tunnel, the Israel Museum and a number of other sites. After the tour, some students stayed overnight in Jerusalem while many returned to Ashkelon.

Tomorrow is another day off and then Sunday is Seminar Day.

From excavation Thursday, baulk cutting in Grid 51.

2016 Field Season Day Five

The inventory of the containers in the Pottery Compound has revealed some fantastic objects. In one container, volunteers found boxes of frescos excavated from the church near the Jerusalem Gate. The church was excavated in 1985 and the collected material culture, fresco fragments included, put into storage. This week, Angie started cleaning the fragments, one piece of which is shown below. 

 Angie working on fresco fragments from the church near the Jerusalem Gate

Angie working on fresco fragments from the church near the Jerusalem Gate

 Church fresco fragment

Church fresco fragment