By Gary D. Myers, NOBTS Communications
The Tel Gezer Water System Expedition welcomed the second week of the 2016 today. It was a beautiful, somewhat cool day – another great day to dig.
Due to our travels, lectures and other commitments (the need for sleep), we weren’t able to publish an update last Thursday or post a week one video update Dan Warner, co-director of the NOBTS Gezer dig. So, I will attempt to get you up to date with our progress and Sarah Simon has edited and posted the update.
The Water System – Field A-B
When Thursday came to an end, the team in the water system had cleared the width of the tunnel just below what we are calling the “bottom step.” For several years the south half of this area has been cleared. However, we left the northern half (actually a little more than half) as a staging area for the bag removal process.
This year removing that mass of dirt, pottery, rocks and debris was a top priority. Since the area was sealed under the causeway of stones laid over the pool area by Macalister in the early 1900s, the material may be helpful in establishing the date of the system’s construction. Removing the material necessitated a reworking of the wooden ramp used as a track for pulling up the bags of debris. After the ramp system was removed for reconfiguration, the team photographed and documented the whole area, because it does not appear in Macalister’s record.
After all, the dig seasons, seeing the entire width of the pool area clear of debris is thrilling. The cleaning for photography, photography, and documentation procedures took most of the morning. After that was complete, the ramp was reinstalled and the diggers will be filling bags at a steady pace again Monday morning.
The Intramural Complex – Field C
In Field C, called the intramural complex in the Dever/Seger digs (Eli’s house in our reports last year), the work slowed considerably to carefully excavate a sizeable vessel. Worked slowed again on Sunday when the team carefully investigated several areas of in situ pottery in one of the rooms. Both are very interesting finds which are still in the interpretive stage. Very cool stuff, unfortunately, not something we can share on the blog without further study, and possibly, the final publication of the dig reports.
The Gate – Field D
At the gate (Field D), the team continued to search for information to link the gate system to the rooms in Field C and to the water system.
Work slowed a bit on Thursday as some of the team members were needed to wash pottery. However, the team did find the dividing line between Macalister’s backfill and what appeared to be leveling layers installed by the gate’s builders.
On Sunday, the team expanded the square to encompass more of Macalister’s backfill. The effort (which was difficult) was designed to create the necessary room to dig a probe in search of bedrock.
At some point the team seems to have broken through the layers of Macalister’s fill to another level of undisturbed dirt. The jury is still out on that. The probe will continue tomorrow.
The day began with a devotion on the tel and because it is Sunday, after the dig and a lecture for Warner on the Middle Bronze Age, we had another devotional/worship time before supper. All in all, it was another wonderful day in Israel.