Seminars and First Day of Excavation

The pictures above are from Seminar Day. Volunteers got a tour of the site, learned about specialist fields including geology, archaeobotany, OCHRE, GIS, drone photography, and more while also enjoying lunch on site.

Today was all about excavation. In Grid 92, work continued to uncover 20th century occupation, the latest on site. In Grid 94, they hit their first stratified occupation levels (date to be determined). And, in Grid 23/24 volunteers removed the top 5 cm of topsoil across the grid. With a little help from one of the co-directors, they even started stringing the squares. 

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Tonight, the expedition will hear a lecture from local residents about the recent history of Tel Shimron and the connections the communities of Timrat and Nahalal have to the site.  

Tomorrow we are back at work. The second day is often harder than the first but we'll all be on the bus at 5:00 am, more or less ready to go, and if we're moving a little slower...well, all we can say is that it does get easier.

Archaeology and the Local Communities

More photographs from a busy day with local students. Our outreach program is done for the season. Now we get ready to welcome our volunteers. They arrive tomorrow and will participate in Seminar Day during which they will learn about some of the technologies and methodologies we employ here at Tel Shimron.  

Thursday we officially begin the first large-scale excavation of Tel Shimron. The sun is hot, the breeze is strong, and we can't wait to see what the dirt has in store for us.

The Shade Cloth

It is no small feat putting up a shade cloth. It is all that much more difficult when you need to get a 10 x 30 meter shade cloth up the steep incline of Tel Shimron. How did we do it? First, we packed it into the van.

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Then we unpacked it and carried it into the excavation area.  (And, as you can see, it took much of the excavation staff to accomplish this.)

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Next, we had to lay it out and make sure it was oriented correctly.

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Once it was in position, we were able to start tying it to the poles and tightening it down. 

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Finally, an hour later, the shade cloth was up and Grids 23/24 were ready for excavation.

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The first step in excavating a new area? A 5 cm pass across the entire area to start removing the topsoil layer. Needless to say, though we got started and made a lot of progress, it will take some time to finish. Fortunately, we have teams of volunteers arriving soon and the pace of work will definitely pick up.

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Check back to see our progress in Grids 23/24 as well as Grid 92 and Grid 94. 

A Busy Sunday

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We were back at work today.  The morning started with a site tour for the staff. Then it was on to our outreach program. We hosted four fourth grade classes today and fun was had by all as they learned about various aspects of archaeology.

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Grid Supervisor Adam Aja demonstrates one possible use of a worked stone blade to a student.

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Students learn about surveying and how we take levels. 

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A student holds a bottle he found during excavation. It's a more modern bottle but an archaeological discovery nonetheless. 

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Grid Supervisor Kate Birney helps some students sift their dirt.

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It's hard to read, but this student is holding a coin from 1949. 

We have four more sessions tomorrow, a final two on Tuesday and then on Wednesday, we welcome our volunteers to Tel Shimron and the season officially starts.

Tomorrow, look for the tale of The Shade Cloth. 

The First Week

Wow.

It's Friday and our first week is done. We had two great days of digging with local 4th and 7th graders. Next week, Sunday through Tuesday, we have three more days with local students before volunteers arrive on Wednesday and the dig season gets under way.

Today, we spent the morning preparing for the upcoming week. In Grid 94, where Kate Birney is directing and where we hope to find Hellenistic levels, supervisors dug a probe in Square 90.  

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In Squares 80 and 91, supervisors worked on clearing the topsoil. 

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In Grid 92 to the south, work has uncovered several modern features -- including a sewer and a coin dated to 1961 -- dating to the 20th century.

Both Grids 92 and 94 are located at the base of the Tel. On Sunday, we begin preparing a third grid, located near the top of the tel, for excavation.

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Grid 23/24

The season fast approaches. Check back soon for more stories from Tel Shimron.

Education Day (For Everyone)

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The day started with staff members cleaning two of the three excavation areas. Then, a short break to learn about some new features in OCHRE, the database we use to record all of our data.

Only a short while later, the first of four classes showed up for a day of fun and archaeology. Many of them will be back tomorrow and then again next week as we introduce local children to archaeology and Tel Shimron. 

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The day ended, as it began, with OCHRE and more discussion of some of its many new features.

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We are one week away from the arrival of volunteers and the official start of the 2017 field season.