Thursday, 19 June 2014

Droning on and on and on ... (TBS05)

Though it seems odd for Thursday to be the end of one's working week, the prospect of taking a couple of days visiting other sites (whilst hopefully being able to sleep in past four o'clock) does seem most welcome.

The drone hovering over A23 - looking west
Today began with another drone session, during which excavation must temporarily be put on hold to provide undisturbed views of each square. Once back in the square we continued lowering and levelling the south baulk until desired height was achieved. In order to facilitate passage to the east, we had to construct a sort of stairway of sandbags leading to the higher baulk to the south of E23. Something ought to be said of our eastern neighbours, but that might best wait till a later date!

We left the site today leaving our square in a properly excavatable state for the start of our second week. The south baulk looked jolly good, baulk walls had been trimmed and everything generally looked in ship-shape and Bristol fashion. The last task of each day has been to sweep the entire square in an endeavour to remove all traces of dust and to provide a good view of the actual surface.
The drone hovering in action ...
This is certainly one of the most frustrating tasks I have even had to do and might be compared with trying to dry off the surface of Antarctica or simply sweeping clean the Sahara. My suggestion of employing an industrial-sized hoover was not as well received as it ought to have been, whilst another suggested a leaf-blower. Perhaps the drone could be flown over the entire area at VLA thus causing a significant downdraft ...

Returning to the kibbutz, pottery was washed following which we enjoyed our first proper pottery reading session with Shlomo. The idea of reading pottery is fairly straightforward, but a slight explanation might be in order. The routine employed is that pottery sherds brought back from the site are first soaked overnight in water. The following afternoon they are washed and then laid out to dry in the sun (of which there is an abundance). Then the following afternoon, after the washing of the next day's pottery, the previous day's pottery is read. Today we read the pottery extracted on Tuesday.

The baulk being lowered - looking south
Reading involves separating the diagnostic pieces, such as bases, rim fragments and handles, from less distinguishing sherds. These are then arranged on tables according to the squares from whence they came before Shlomo makes his rounds, accompanied by the respective teams and any others who care to observe. I confess I found the whole experience most illuminating, and though I have familiarised myself with much to do with pottery from the Levant over the years, there was much yet to be learned from an expert such as this!

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