The second week of our 2018 season saw some great results both in Area S and Area P. In Area S, we continued to go down from the Late Bronze Age IIA levels of the Tel Aviv University’s expedition at the westernmost squares (C/12 and D/12), and in Area P, we reached Middle Bronze Age layers in squares F/10 and G/10. We already see mud-brick walls coated with plaster in the soil of these squares which we can identify as the continuation of David Ussishkin’s Middle Bronze Age palace, and found a new entrance to the easternmost flight of rooms. Further, we continued to explore the later structures of presumably Late Bronze Age date.
Last week was rich not only in architectural features, but also in small finds. Our very first scarab was found in a context from the end of the Late Bronze Age, and in Area P, we unearthed a completely preserved Late Bronze Age chalice. Further, on the plastered floor of the Middle Bronze Age palace we found the charred remains of a wooden beam, carefully retrieved by Lyndelle for further analysis. Other complete vessel shapes, mostly from Area P include bowls and lamps, we continue to uncover substantial amounts of Cypriot White Slip and Base Ring imports, and, for the first time, fragments of Red Lustrous Wheel-Made Ware spindle bottles.
Our afternoons are busy with pottery reading, marking and drawing and special thanks go to Miroslav Pleska for his awesome drawings of our best pieces. In the evening, staff members give lectures about their current work in the project.
We are very much looking forward to our next week and hope for nice finds, especially when we start to excavate the continuation of the Middle Bronze Age palace rooms in Area P!
Images by Jared Dye, Vanessa Becker, and Felix Höflmayer
Sunrise over Area P
Setting up the level
Excavating walls in Area P
Documentation in Area S
Katharina during coffee breakt
Adam, Lyndelle, and a charred wooden beam
Lyndelle sampling timber
Timber on plastered floor in Area P
Ann-Kathrin in Area P
Felix and Anna during breakfast break
Agnes documenting in Area P
Sabrina and an oddly shaped rock
Excavating Area P
Late Bronze Age chalice in Area P
Vanessa and the first scarab of the season
Getting ready for bucket chain
Lecture on radiocarbon dating by Lyndelle in the evening
Our team has arrived and we have concluded our first week in the field. We are happy to work with a highly motivated international group from thirteen different countries, including Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The excavation in Area S continues and we opened four new squares east of Area P, north-east of the Judean palace-fort. In the first days we set up shadecloths in both areas, removed the topsoil and the erosion from the last year and went straight down on archaeological remains.
In Area P, square F/10, we already excavated some walls of presumably Late Bronze Age date (Stratum P-2?), which were documented photogrammetrically. In Area S, excavation of Strata S-2 and S-3 continued, the finely laminated ashy layers of S-2 being rich in pottery finds including Cypriot imports such as White Slip Ware and Base Ring Ware and also an almoste complete Late Bronze Age bowl and S-3 yielding the continuation of previously excavated walls.
In the afternoons, we worked in our camp in Sheqef and set up an efficient process for pottery reading, marking and drawing. Square and area supervisors worked at the same time on 3d-models and photogrammetry and we experiment with daily digital top plans.
We were also happy to welcome Prof. Michael Hasel from the Southern Adventist University and former co-director of the Fourth Expedition to Lachish, to show him our current work and discuss Middle and Late Bronze Age chronology.
We are very much looking forward to our second week and will keep you updated on our progress and finds.
Area S starts again …
Orthophoto of Area P prior to excavation
Building shadecloth in Area P
Building shadecloth in Area S
Pottery reading in the afternoon
Start of excavation in Area P
Late Bronze Age (?) remains in Area P
Bucket chain impressions
Bucket chain rescue
Excavation in Area P continues
Area S and S-2
S-3 wall in Area S
Photogrammetry of square in Area P
New friend of Kath
Almost complete bowl from Area S (thanks to Hadas for restoration)
Excavating S-2 layers in Area S
Mikolaj drowning in buckets
A well deserved rest
We are very much looking forward to our upcoming second excavation season at Tel Lachish. This year, we will continue to excavate in Area S in order to reach the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age. Additionally, we will open new squares in Area P, next to where the Tel Aviv University’s expedition under David Ussishkin uncovered the Middle Bronze Age palace.
The last weeks have been extremely busy for all of us. Our new (used) shipping container has been delivered to the Albright Institute, our current homebase for the project, Felix joined the Austrian delegation of the visit of the Austrian Chancellor Sebastan Kurz and the Minister of Education, Science and Research Heinz Faßmann to the State of Israel and met with a delegation of Hebrew University, among them Katharina Streit, Ilan Sharon and Katja Cytryn-Silverman.
Our core team arrived on 30 June and 1 July and while Katharina and Felix restocked tools and supplies, Lyndelle Webster, Ann-Kathrin Jeske and Vanessa Becker went for a brief visit to Tel Dan to check for potential radiocarbon dates with David Ilan and Aaron Burke. On 3rd of June, we welcomed our new square supervisors and prepared the site for excavation, rescued a chamaeleon, set up the excavation’s office in our accommodation in Sheqef and tested our new drone.
Besides preparing the excavation areas, on Thursday, Katharina and Felix joined a reception marking the beginning of the Austrian EU-Presidency in the Austrian Ambassador’s Residence hosted by Ambassador Martin Weiss and on Saturday the whole team joined the traditional 4th of July BBQ hosted by the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research.
We finished the preparations for an exciting excavation season. Tomorrow, on July 8th, volunteers from many different countries all over Europe and North America will join us on our second season of the Austro-Israeli Expedition to Lachish.
Meeting of the Austrian Minister of Education at Hebrew University with Ilan Sharon, Klement Tockner, Katja Cytrin-Silverman, Felix and Kat
Delivery of our new (old) shipping container
Lyndelle in search of radiocarbon samples
Tel Dan sampling session with Vanessa
Arrival at our accommodation
Preparation of Area P at Tel Lachish
Maciej testing the drone
Kat upgraded her means of transport between excavation areas
4th of July cake at the Albright
The (nearly complete) team with Matt
Lyndelle Webster is currently representing Tracing Transformations at the 23rd International Radiocarbon Conference in Trondheim (Norway). Lyndelle presents new radiocarbon results for Late Bronze Age Lachish and Azekah and we are very much looking forward to get new samples in our upcoming season!
Last week, Matthew J. Adams of the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research helped us to conduct a drone survey of Tel Lachish. The DJI Mavic Pro Platinum drone took over 1000 high-resolution aerial pictures, and using Agisoft PhotoScan, a detailed, geo-referenced 3D-model of the site was created. This model helps connecting past, current and future excavations.
Check out the 3d-model and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of Tel Lachish (be sure to turn on the sound!).
We are most grateful to Matt Adams, the Albright Institute, and the Jezreel Valley Regional Project for sharing their technical knowhow and equipment!