First week in the field

It has begun! We are excited to be back in the full swing of things here at Tel Lachish for our third season!

On Sunday afternoon our volunteers arrived and on Monday morning they had their first taste of our 4:30am wake up for a Tel tour with the sunrise. They are a productive group as by 9am we were excavating in both Area S and P.

In Area S we are currently in Late Bronze Age strata and over in Area P we are covering a lot of bases with Iron Age and Late Bronze Age strata’s as well as some squares working in a Middle Bronze Age palace strata. Area P has grown even more this season with two more squares being opened this week.

We have already had a few visitors to site to see us in action. From the Israel Nature and Parks Authority we had Hagi Yochanan and from the Israel Antiquities Authority Vladik Lifshitz and Yevegny Ivanovsky.

On Thursday we were visited by Brita Lorentzen, from Cornell University. Brita actually took the chance to get some samples of a charred beam for us from Area P and has reported that it appears to be Lebanese cedar.

A blustery day swept us from site early one day last week but luckily we are already in a routine of afternoon activities that include pottery washing, marking, reading, and drawing. For area and square supervisors there is also documentation to work on and this season we are all adjusting to fully digital documentation. This means we have a fantastic FileMaker database that is available in the field via iPads used by all square supervisors. This feat is thanks to the (continuing) hard work by Jared Dye and Lyndelle Webster.

Staff week finished – we are back in the field

We just finished our staff week and will be back in the field by tomorrow. Before that we visited friends and colleagues at Legio (Matt Adams and Susan Cohen), Tel Kabri (Assaf Yasur-Landau and Eric Cline) and Tell Keisan (Gunnar Lehmann and David Schloen) and welcomed a Czeck team from the University of Pilsen headed by Ladislav Šmejda that untertook soil analysis of ashy layers of Stratum S-2 in Area S. The last couple of days we spent with our Area and Square Supervisors cleaning Area S and Area P, encountering the occasional tortoise and chameleon, setting up shadecloths, getting office and accommodation organized, and training staff in digital documentation. Lyndelle Webster and Brita Lorentzen located more organic samples (both seed and wood) from the excavations of David Ussishkin at Tel Aviv University and we had the chance to discuss our excavation strategies with Amihai Mazar from Hebrew University on the site itself. Today, we enjoyed the traditional 4th of July BBQ with our friends at the Albright Institute and are looking forward welcoming our volunteers, coming from over 15 different countries across four continents!