Our Last Full Excavation Day

We finished this season’s last full workday at the site. Tomorrow we will arrive at the usual early time to clean & brush off the excavated areas for final photography. The site photos will be in the published reports for this season’s work. After photography is complete, we should finish packing up and head back to the hostel around 9:00 to 9:30  a.m. to finish sorting and analyzing pottery.

The past three days have been crowded with visitors from tour groups, visiting archaeologists, and a small army of teenage Israeli helpers that we have come to call “Blue Shirts” or “Blue Kids” for an obvious reason.

The Blue Shirts

The Blue Shirts swarming the site. Around 70 showed up for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. A number of them turned out to be quite helpful.

I recently mentioned excavating an ancient drain that flowed out of the city gate. My job soon turned into sifting debris from the drain for small objects while a smaller-framed person finished the actual excavation in the drain. It was a productive project. Pottery styles give us a general date range for the layer they are found, and olive pits can be dated with Carbon-14 analysis. The objects we found should affirm the date of the drain, and of the original city gate. I hope to be more specific about the date in a later post.


Leora, a fellow volunteer, was able to excavate the drain channel while sitting inside of it. The drain was a collecting place for animal bones, olive pits and broken pottery, among other things.

David Willner of Foundation Stone took this photo of a certain red-bearded volunteer sifting the drain debris.


Sifting for pottery, bones and pits (of olives).

To add an interesting element to the mix, National Geographic arrived to produce a “Nova” episode on our excavation.


Was I featured in this production? I am likely in a few group shots of people working at the site and washing pottery afterward, but they did not request a personal interview! They did get a few close up shots of me scrubbing a large piece of pottery, so we'll see if any of those survive the editing process. The program will air on PBS, but not until sometime mid-to-late next year (2010). When I hear any details regarding the air date, I'll post them here.

About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister with the North Terrace Church of Christ and has participated in multiple archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke leads informative, meaningful tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
This entry was posted in General Archaeology, Israel, Links to interesting stuff, Overseas trips and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Our Last Full Excavation Day

  1. Gardner says:

    I’ve enjoyed scrolling down through your previous posts and enjoying your dig vicariously. Thanks

  2. afrankangle says:

    Thanks for updating your journey as you may be the first person I known to do this … very interesting and thanks.

    Have a safe trip home.

  3. Pingback: The last day at Khirbet Qeiyafa « Ferrell’s Travel Blog

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