Week two is complete and as the mornings feel earlier and get darker the team is demonstrating their dedication to archaeology (or coffee!). With some serious soil being moved bucket chains are becoming a regular feature at Tel Lachish but with all this practice the buckets are flying high and fast, not unlike our drone! We use a drone on site to capture aerial footage of the Tel which enables us to better understand features within our squares and help with our interpretation of the site as a whole. We are fully underway with the use of photogrammetry and photoscan to create 3D models of the site which are then imported into AutoCAD in order to provide our team with updated plans of both areas as the season progresses.
It has been a busy week in Area P with the appearance of a possible Iron Age retaining wall in one square, the opening of a probe to try and reach earlier strata from underneath the palace in another and the appearance of Middle Bronze Age palace walls across three squares. Area S has been focusing on excavating Late Bronze Age phases in all their squares which is providing invaluable data that is helping to elucidate the greater chronology of the southern Levant.
We were fortunate to host several distinguished visitors this week. Visitors included Ido Koch and Yuval Gadot from Tel Aviv University, Saar Ganor from the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Hillel Geva from the Israel Exporation Society.
This week we handed out our 2019 Tel Lachish project shirts to all volunteers and staff. This year’s design features a drawing of a chalice found in Area P last year and was drawn by Area P square supervisor Mirek Pleska. This post marked the end of the first half of our 2019 season in the field and we are happy to be making lots of progress.
As this season is following a digital trend we decided now was the time for us to join Twitter so follow us @TelLachish and don’t forget we are also on Facebook!
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.
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!
Check out the latest issue of the Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections with papers by Katharina Streit and Ann-Kathrin Jeske on the presence of Egyptians in the southern Levant during the New Kingdom, by Lyndelle Webster et al. on Lachish, Papyrus Hermitage 1116A and radiocarbon dating, and by Felix Höflmayer on the expulsion of the Hyksos in light of recent radiocarbon dating. Many thanks to Susan Cohen (Montana State University) and Matthew Adams (Albright Institute) for editing this special issue of JAEI!
Also check out Felix’ and Katharina’s chapter on radiocarbon dating and social archaeology in the brand new volume “The Social Archaeology of the Levant. From Prehistory to the Present” edited by Assaf Yasur-Landau, Eric Cline and Yorke Rowan and published by Cambridge University Press!