Preseason Day Two

Cleaning the excavation areas not only means clearing the grids of winter wash and the plants that have moved in during our absence, but also helping the wildlife find a safer place to live for the next two months.

A European Glass Lizard in Grid 92, a lizard and snake skin in Grid 94

A European Glass Lizard in Grid 92, a lizard and snake skin in Grid 94

Today staff members set up auxiliary benchmarks, began setting up the pottery compound and studied pottery from Grid 23/24 and Grid 94 in the lab.

Grid 23/24 pottery

Grid 23/24 pottery

There’s still a lot to do in the pottery compound and we’ll be back there tomorrow. Be sure to check back for pictures of our progress.

Tel Shimron Preseason

The preseason is under way and we are back in the field! Actually, we are preparing the site for excavation. In the grids, one of the first things we have to do is hang the shade cloths.

Hanging the shade cloth in Grid 94

Hanging the shade cloth in Grid 94

Then in those areas where we will be hosting local school children for a day of archaeology, an activity which is part of our outreach and education program, the next step is to start cleaning.

Dr. Kate Birney preparing Grid 94 for excavation

Dr. Kate Birney preparing Grid 94 for excavation

In addition to the work in the grids, there is a lot of other work to do from setting up the pottery compound and establishing benchmarks to finalizing the lecture schedule and sorting tools.

Fortunately, we also have some time to enjoy the landscape. One thing we all love about the preseason is getting to see the site in bloom.

Flowers from around the site

Flowers from around the site

The preseason also marks the start of our daily blog posts. Want to know what’s happening on site? The blog will tell you! Check back tomorrow for another update.

What Our Photographer Sees

As the photographer for the excavation, I'm usually running from grid to grid, trying to capture important features before the sun creeps too high on the horizon or I'm photographing objects in our shipping container/office/studio. I'm always excited to walk through a grid imagining the Roman street or Bronze Age room I'm walking through, and being able to handle precious objects under a camera lens. But I'm a biologist at heart, so I sneak in photos of the local flora and fauna when I can. Sometimes I add a helping hand to the grid with a visit from our tiniest archaeologist (and my daughter), Ellie. Here are some photos from 2017.  

Melissa Aja, Photographer



Tel Shimron Discoveries

As we look forward to the 2019 field season, we asked staff members to share a memorable discovery or moment from the 2017 season.

Carbonized fig, Grid 23/24, 2017

Carbonized fig, Grid 23/24, 2017

In 2017 we found a carbonized fig in a flotation sample taken from the Byzantine-Umayyad street in Grid 23! You can see the seeds and everything in this photo taken through a small magnifying lens. That such a delicate fruit preserved for over 700 years hints at the great preservation of other fruits used by the ancient inhabitants of Tel Shimron. I can't wait to see what archaeological plant remains we recover this season!

Kathleen Forste, Archaeobotanist

Mikvah, Grid 23/24, 2017

Mikvah, Grid 23/24, 2017

I would be remiss not to mention the mikvah as one of our more memorable finds from 2017. This find in particular reshaped our understanding of the way this space was used during the Roman period. More than that, excavating it required the skills of not only our volunteers, but also our onsite conservator as well. She was able to show us that the bath had multiple layers of painted plaster over the years it was in use, details which I thought brought it to life.

Emily Erickson, Square Supervisor

Tel Shimron 2019

Grid 23/24 volunteers returning tools to the pottery compound at the end of the day, Tel Shimron, 2017

Grid 23/24 volunteers returning tools to the pottery compound at the end of the day, Tel Shimron, 2017

June 23rd, and the start of the Tel Shimron 2019 field season, is fast approaching and we are excited to get back in the dirt! With less than two months to go, we’ll be blogging more as we look ahead to the summer. In general, the blog is devoted to life on the excavation and is a great way to learn about what’s happening while we’re in the field. Readers who want to learn more about the project’s research design and get updates on publications should consult the research page.

This year we will resume excavation in three areas as well as begin work in new areas. How do we go about opening a new area? Once an excavation area is selected, it starts with hanging shade cloths.

Grid 23/24, 2017

Grid 23/24, 2017

The shade cloths no only help provide a more comfortable work environment but also make it easier to “see the dirt,” meaning it’s easier to see distinctions in color, texture, and other markers that give archaeologists clues about where and how to excavate.

Grid 23/24, 2017

Grid 23/24, 2017

The next step is to establish the baulk lines, the boundaries of each excavation square within the larger grid, and clear the field in preparation for excavation.

Grid 23/24, 2017

Grid 23/24, 2017

Then it’s time to start excavating and in no time at all, the excavation area goes from looking like a rock strewn field…

Grid 23/24, preparing for final photos, 2017

Grid 23/24, preparing for final photos, 2017

…to this.

Interested in learning the details of this process and experiencing it yourself? Want to learn more about the history and archaeology of Tel Shimron? Good news! You have until May 15th to submit your volunteer application for the 2019 field season.

Extended due date for 2019 applications!

We’ve extended the due date for our summer 2019 field season applications. Applications are now due on May 15.

We hope you’ll consider joining us for the second field season of Tel Shimron where we’ll be excavating sites from the Bronze Age to the days of the Romans while enjoying beautiful views of the Jezreel Valley.

We never know what lies below the topsoil and you could be among the first to bring the artifacts and history to light!