Some photos from the day are below, but many more can be found on my Flickr Photostream! Be sure to look at both!
Day two was another strange day on the tel. I’m not even certain it is appropriate to call this a dig report, given that much of the day was spent doing other things.
Anyhow, upon arrival we were split among two groups, and my group was instructed to mend holes in the large shade-netting that we intended to suspend over the top of Area M. Though we did so, this was a difficult and annoying process: using thin metal wire and pliers, we sewed holes shut to the best of our abilities. However, some holes were more like long rips, so it’s fair to say that we did some delicate suturing of last season’s surgery.
At this point, the truck towing the arial photography balloon pulled up, and we finally had something to take our minds off the shade netting repair. The balloon, and its operation, was rather cool: the operator held a machine that looked rather like an Atari, with buttons, dials, levers and a screen through which he could control the flight of the balloon and the orientation of the camera. Below is a photo of the balloon in action high above Area M.
After the balloon show was over, we found other, more badly damaged pieces of shade netting that were to be used for other areas of the tel this year. So, our annoying job wasn’t quite over; it was just getting started!
Finally, I was able to descend the ladder down into Area M, and the brief spell of digging began. Using picks and hoes, we de(con)structed the top layer of a couple of walls, shoveling the dirt and rocks into buckets as we went. While doing so, one of my dig partners discovered a couple pieces of an alabaster jar, and not far from us, another digger found what seemed to be the nipple-shaped lid of the jar. Unfortunately, I did not snap pictures of these.
Shortly hereafter, at approximately 9:15 am, came the call for breakfast, and after breakfast, it was announced that Professor Amnon Ben-Tor, who has led and been part of the Hazor excavations for 30-plus years, would lead us on a tour of the tel. How often does one get such an experienced tour guide? Our tour was fantastic, as my Flickr Photostream might show (hint, hint).
Above, for example, is an olive oil press found in a traditional Israelite home (the wooden rod, rope, and baskets are all modern implements added to show how the press would have worked). Our guide explained that the olives would have been smashed into a pulp in the container to the left, before being placed in the baskets and weighed down over the course of a few days in order to collect the oil in a floor-level jar.
And this “Israelite” guard keeps watch over a tower on the western edge of the tel, just outside of the city walls. Ben-Tor explained that it was placed here after a long battle with the Israeli government–over the specific aesthetics of the warrior–in order to attract passers-by to the site.
The tour eventually finished, but we were prevented from doing any actual digging back in Area M because of a lengthy clean-up operation involving a tractor, some large rocks, and the balot, which are large bags into which we had been dumping our dirt and rocks. The tractor will not be at our disposal every dig day, so we had to use it to lift away our junk while it was present today. Thus, our last job of the day was to remove our tools from the dig location by the use of an assembly line-like “tool chain,” storing them in the coffins at 2012 ground level. Day two of fifteen, complete.
In all honesty, I’m not sure I will always have enough interesting material for a “dig report” blog post every day. In some cases, I will have to write about other topics, if I write at all. My wife has suggested a few different topics, including kibbutz life, the Israeli food, and something on the other people with whom I am digging. To me, these all seem like great ideas, and I will incorporate them in a post eventually. Let me know if there is anything else along these lines you’d like to read about in the comments below!