We have almost finished the first excavation week and have already (quickly!) found notable things. The first week in an archaeological dig can often be slow. One has to remove topsoil and gradually work down to the remains. Those interested in biblical periods may have to wait longer for the “good stuff” since many sites have remains from later centuries covering those layers. One may have to excavate Ottomans, Mamlukes, Crusaders, Arabs, Byzantines, and others before arriving at a layer from biblical times.
So how was our first week at Lachish? On the first day, we discovered a city wall dating back to biblical periods. On the second day we discovered a bronze figurine (idol) dating to the Late Bronze Age (aka the time of Joshua). The figurine must undergo cleaning in a laboratory before its identification will be confirmed. On the third day we unearthed a large vessel whose contents included burnt seeds from a destruction layer in the city. This find is especially valuable because the seeds can be tested for Carbon-14 and produce a date for the destruction. (I will point out that all three of these finds happened in squares manned by my group.) On the fourth day we finally had “normal” results with “normal” finds including pottery, more architecture, household items, weapons/tools, and so on.
On an interesting note, it took six full seasons of work on our previous dig at Khirbet Qeiyafa to find a single vessel full of burnt seeds for radiometric dating. With this first season at Lachish, it took a total of three days. Could this be a good omen?
I will update soon with more news from the field. Many of the most interesting discoveries cannot yet be shown since the archaeological staff has the right and responsibility to publish them first. The finds mentioned and shown on this blog are presented with the permission of the Fourth Expedition to Tel Lachish. I can update with more details and photos at a later date.
Today’s post will conclude with a photo showing the versatility of archaeological field work.