Saturday, July 12, 2008

Week 6 – the end!

We have now completed our final week at Kharaneh IV for this year and I, for one, am now enjoying a relaxing week in Madaba. I am lounging pool-side as I write this...

Week six was pretty uneventful, but extremely busy. In the Middle EP area, we came down on a notably compact locus that still contained quite a lot of lithics and faunal, but all much smaller and less dense than the layer above. We are approximately 30 cm below the surface, which is roughly the level at which Muheisen reported a living surface and several postholes... We decided that time did not permit full excavation of this locus this year, so we exposed it, mapped it, and collected the surface material that we felt would not survive being backfilled until next year. Then, we buried it. Jay came out for the last few days, so we put him to work doing this (and backfilling, of course). We have a great deal of charcoal from this locus and the one above, so we are hopeful in getting good dates for these deposits. The microliths are all wacky trapeze/rectangles, some with interesting little points or hooks on one end. The bone is, not surprisingly, mostly gazelle. And, we continue to find lots of shell beads.

In the Early EP area, the new excavation squares produced a very large pit, similar in description to the one excavated from this area by Muheisen. Those in the deep trench continued to dig sterile for almost a metre (after we couldn’t move in the trench, we used the auger), and it was very dense, orange clay all the way! Sorry Matt, no clear greenish-grey lake silts below the site this year, but it is still about a metre above the modern wadi bed. However, our stratigraphic section from this trench is amazing – I’ve included a photo here – and we managed to pull out over 50 pieces of charcoal for dating.

Our last two days on site were occupied with drawing our sections and taking final photos, while we had a fence re-built around us. It is a temporary fence, until we bring a digger to site next year for our geomorph work and use it to dig proper foundations for permanent fence posts. But, hopefully it will do the trick until then. Then, the final day was backfilling – oh what fun! I hired a dump truck to bring us 12 m3 of sand to use for backfill (so it would be very different from any deposits on-site or nearby), and we filled lots of sand bags to keep everything anchored down. We also covered over just the very surface of our trenches with material from the sieve, so you would almost never know we were there...well, sort of (see pics).

Our end-of-dig party (the first one) was that night in Azraq, where we were joined by the crew of Carlos Cordova, Michael Bisson, and April Nowell. Our excellent cook Ismael made pizza and much celebrating was done as both projects had just wrapped up. The next two days were crazy hectic with packing up the material and the house. But, it all paid off when we got to Amman on the 6th and enjoyed a few hours at the hammam (having my ‘tan’ scrubbed away), and then an excellent dinner at the Vinagrette Cafe (our second end-of-dig party). For those who know my love of this place, I ate so much sushi I thought I would explode! The crew has all headed their separate ways now, and I am in Madaba catching up on a little R&R and hanging with my TO friends digging at Tell Madaba and Wadi Thamad. I think I will head now to the Ayola for a cheese sandwich and mixed fruit juice...

So, this will be my last up-date on this blog for a few weeks, until I return from the field in mid-Sept and start dealing with all the material we dug up. But, I will be sure to continue to post the progress of this material throughout the year, so please check in every so often.

Thanks to all of the crew for a productive and fun first season!

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