It is fascinating to uncover things that have not been seen or touched for thousands of years. Uncovered objects face hazards, though, especially when they lie on top of other things waiting to be discovered.
Take, for example, the paved floor in the video below. We encountered this 2,300 year-old (more or less) floor at the beginning of this week. It was beautiful! Most floor levels at Qeiyafa consist of compressed dirt. Stone floors tend to indicate something special about the building. The pottery we collected indicated the floor was built sometime around the Hellenistic period, maybe some 3 centuries B.C. However, other floors nearby dated to the Iron Age, some 7 centuries earlier. There was almost certainly an Iron Age level buried underneath this beautiful floor. What to do?
Here is our solution, along with its curious results:
Qeiyafa is a fairly simple site for stratigraphy. It has one site wide Iron Age level plus a few later periods that only covered portions of the site. Sites such as Megiddo, Jerusalem or Lachish have many, many levels of civilization stacked on top of one another, often just inches apart. What we found in this room was a little unusual for Qeiyafa, but it is part of the story here. Once we remove something like a floor, it’s gone forever. We therefore record everything before removing anything.