Thursday, July 16, 2009

Kharaneh IV 2009 - Week Seven - The END...but only until next year!

Well, the very last week! Sorry for the delay in the up-date (since we finished two weeks ago by the time this is posted) – things were very crazy, as you can imagine. We had a very hectic last week on-site and packing up the house and lab. We were only on-site for 4 days of this week, and only two of these were digging. Mostly, we spent those two days wrapping things up in the two main areas and leaving ourselves in logical stopping places to pick up with next year. However, as always seems to happen, we did have our two most exciting finds of the year during these two days. In the first day, the flotation crew found an incised piece of stone in the flotation sample coming from a compact surface (likely floor) context. It was a piece of chalky grey limestone that had been incised with a geometric design and parallel lines on one side, the other side had just parallel lines, and both edges had been worked too. A very exciting find indeed – more on this when we have the illustration by Caroline in the fall. The second big find, which we discovered on the last day, was an isolated human bone from a pit feature. We only really had time to determine that it was indeed isolated in a pit fill, but only caught part of the pit (the rest was in the baulk) and so I guess we know where we will dig next year!

And, furthermore, this find was made by Jay, who we just sent into this square to clean it up for final photos – and look what he found!

The second last day on-site was a marathon day of section drawing for all areas – we pulled out the big guns and everyone worked very hard to get almost all of it done that day. We just finished off two small sections and micromorphology sampling on the morning of the last day on site and spent the rest of the day backfilling, which is where most of the associated pictures come from. It was a long and hard day, but everyone worked really hard and we were done by 12:30pm! We had 24 cubic metres of sand delivered to the site for backfilling and used all of it, and then some! That night we relaxed back at the house and enjoyed a little end-of-dig feast and hafla (party).

The next two days were packing, packing and more packing. It all went fairly smoothly and efficiently and we had everything done by the Thurs morning – all in the storeroom in Azraq, artefacts packed for shipping, objects ready for the DOA, and all of us ready to head to Amman for some R&R (prolonged R&R this time). We arrived in Amman in the early afternoon, unpacked all the CBRL equipment, SHOWERED, and then had a nice dinner on the project! And then we all slept soundly.

From then on, everyone has headed home or off travelling and working. Tobias, Danielle and I headed to other projects for about a week (which is why you didn’t hear from me until now – I went up to Ziqlab). But, now Toby and Danielle are home, I have wrapped everything up here until next year, and am going to sleep for days.

Keep tuned in periodically as we up-date this blog with news of the finds from the summer…

Thank you to all of the EFAP 2009 crew members – our extremely successful season would not have been possible without you!

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!