Monday, July 6, 2009

Kharaneh IV 2009 - Week Six - The final push..

How time flies when you are digging – we are now in the last full week of excavations and have only a few digging days left. The pressure in on! We had a very good week on site – more digging days would be great, but that is always the way. We are wrapping things up in both Areas A and B. In Area A that means finishing off a couple of hearths and associated ashy deposits (not an easy feat as you can see from Bryan perched over the baulk while digging one and Susannah’s face after digging one), as well as excavating the compact surface identified last year. The deposits are often so fragile that we had Bryan digging in his sock feet so that the material on the surface would not be damaged. This area contains a lot of very large bone, including a complete equid(?) or bos(?) pelvis (see pic).

In Area B, things are also starting to make more sense…Up top we are cleaning up some small hearth features and associated layers containing burnt flints or extremely dense animal bone (our bone beds). In the lower part of Area B (R/S2/60), we are excavating an alternating series of surfaces and fills (the latter containing high densities of very large bone and tons of charcoal). By the end of the first day next week we will actually be down to sterile deposits in this trench and will take samples for OSL dating (to try and date the sands in the clay below our occupations to get a date for the beginning of occupation at the site began). Things have certainly slowed in this area and we spend a great deal of the day digging a little bit and then cleaning for photos, and repeat. The photographic shade features heavily in this process, this time held by Steve (who, as you can see, is not carrying any dangerous weapons or metal).

GeoTrench is now finished, and I’ve included the fun days that Matt, Jen E and I had digging with the big pick – we now have a nice long section running from the wadi to catch the southern edge of the site that will allow Matt J to link up the surrounding wadi deposits with the deposits on site.

So, what else is new on-site? Well, the weather has changed a little bit with the wind really picking up for a few days (reminiscent of last year). In fact, after a few days of some pretty gale-force winds, our ‘Automatic Party Tent’ (that really was what the blue tent was called) snapped, blew down and collapsed into the Landcruiser. The mudbrick wall is progressing quite well, and we now have a gate onto the site (not wide enough for cars though!). It should be finished by the end of next week.

All is going well in the lab. We are now starting to pack things up and prioritise what we want to look at over the next year. Aside from the excavating and lab work every day, some of our crew are pulling extra hours getting other work done – and after 6 weeks, the exhaustion is starting to show, right Menna? And finally, just to let you all know that the Pirate Disco Party was a big success!

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