The start of the third week marked the halfway point for this season at Tel Lachish and as we dig further into the past our method grows more futuristic. This week in Area S we trialed the printing of QR coded stickers as a replacement for tags for our in-field documentation which can then be scanned during our daily pottery reading sessions.
In typical excavation fashion the third week has resulted in lots of progress and some beautiful small finds. In Area S some more substantial architecture from the Late Bronze Age has been revealed that appears to be part of the city’s fortification system. Also found in Area S was a decorated piece of bone inlay. Over in Area P the team continued to excavate the substantial Iron Age retaining wall that appears to be part of the Judean palace/fort’s architectural layout. Another substantial wall has been unearthed in Area P, this time it appears to be Early Bronze Age! It was found directly underneath the Middle Bronze Age palace floor levels and is an unexpected yet very interesting find for the season. In other parts of Area P we have reached the destruction layer of the Middle Bronze Age Palace (level P-4). In one of these destruction layers, within a Middle Bronze Age room, some substantial charcoal remains were found that still had preserved tree rings. The presence of the tree rings will help us get a precise radiocarbon date by using wiggle matching.
This was a fitting find for this week as the lecture provided at camp (with popcorn!) by Lyndelle Webster was about radiocarbon dating and the issues with the Late Bronze Age and Middle Bronze Age chronology. Visitors to site were in abundance this week with Shai Bar and Inbal Samet from the University of Haifa, Eli Yannai from the Israel Antiquities Authority and who was the former Area supervisor of Area S, and Eran Arie who is the Freider Burda Curator of Iron Age and Persian Periods at the Israel Museum. We also had a site visit from Archie, our youngest team member, and his dad. Archie is the son of Tori, one of our square supervisors in Area P.
We are very much looking forward to our fourth and final week of excavation starting this week as well as our open day which will be on Wednesday the 7th of August starting at 10:30am. If you are around make sure you stop by and see what we have been up to for yourself.