Friday, July 17, 2009

Marj Rabba Weeks 1 and 2

We have been remiss in reporting on the results of the first two weeks of our field season at Marj Rabba. We know there are 100s of diligent readers who are longing for an update, we apologize. We have had a great beginning of the season, finding walls, pottery, flint and basalt (which makes Yo very happy!). In case you need a reminder of what we are doing and why here's the low down.

By launching excavations in the Galilee, at large and small settlement sites (including Marj Rabba), specialized sites and caves, we hope to answer a variety of questions concerning the Chalcolithic period in northern Israel:

· What is the nature of Chalcolithic material culture in the Galilee? What are its hallmarks? How similar is it to the material culture in the Golan and in Lebanon, or the sites in the Negev and Jordan? Is it unique?

· What connection does the Galilean Chalcolithic share with tangent regions (Golan, coastal plain, Jordan Valley) and with places farther afield (Sinai, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon or Turkey)?

· What were the foundations of Galilean Chalcolithic subsistence and economy?

We are a small team of 8 people - Yo and Mo, 2 students from the University of Chicago, 2 from the University of Toronto (yeah! there is a big US vs. Canada rivalry at the moment), a PhD student from the University of Connecticut and one student from the University of Washington at St. Louis (she and Mo worked together in Turkey at the beginning of the summer, more on that later).

So before we could start we needed some help with weed/thistle clearance. We hired a local kibbutznik (young guy who had just returned from "finding himself" in Spain), with a weed whacker. But he was defeated by the stones, weeds and thistles. So we asked the local shepherd to bring his goats and cows through the site, which worked wonders. Of course they also left a lot of "special" presents.

We also needed to comply with some of the landowner requirements, so we rented a port-o-potty for the season. Here is Yo and the delivery guy setting up the site bathroom!

We also needed somewhere to store our tools and finds on site that we could then transport to Jerusalem for the post-excavation analysis. Here is our container being delivered to the site.

Goat herd eating weeds, you can just see Ali, the shepherd off to the far left.

Cows passing through the site, as we discuss where to place the container. Okay Mo is having some issues with uploading images, so more in a minute.


AMP said...

Any martinis in that crate???

MMK and YMR said...

None in that crate, but we did have a pottery washing happy hour with Baileys and coffee . . .

TomL said...

I'm impressed by your toilets!

TomL said...

I am impressed by those toilets! Find some goodies...

adrianw said...

Can you tell me if you posted the spot on google-earth or somewhere?
Trying to understand where the area is - I'm not an archaeologist, just curious to know whether the site is on or near a known ancient route?

Any connection in what you found to the Rasul findings on display at the Pontifical Institute on Jan Smuts street in Jerusalem?