Through the financial support of an ASOR Heritage Fellowship, I was able to participate in the inaugural season at the archaeological site of Huqoq in Israel. The excavations centered upon the Roman-Byzantine village and the pre-1948 modern village of Yakuk which partially covers it. The project is multi-faceted, with a number of objectives including uncovering part of the ancient synagogue and portions of its village and systematically exploring the modern village through excavation and historical research.
I spent my season meticulously excavating a square in the modern village. In Square 4/7, we immediately encountered a series of layers consisting of hard, compact lightly-colored clayey soil. Although we initially suspected that we had a series of plaster floors, subsequent discoveries indicated that these layers belonged to the common flat-roofing system of the region. Such roofs typically consisted of beams, crossed with small timbers and plant matter and sealed with successive layers of mud plaster. Within these layers, to our initial surprise, we stumbled upon a couple of surviving timbers, and as we continued to excavate, they soon multiplied. (more…)