In my 4 m X 4m square, we removed approximately 1 meter of vertical material. Much of that material was fill left by previous excavations but we did encounter some undisturbed surfaces and ended the season on what we think is a 10th century floor. Along the way we encountered a cobble floor, destruction layers that included ash and stone tumble, walls, pillars and their bases, doorways and of course an assemblage of material culture from loom weights, beads, coins, flint tools, bones, whole vessels, a possible shofar and thousands of pieces of pottery.
I acquired skills with tools I had never used such as a transit level, turia, trowel, patische and guffa and realized that archaeology is not for sissies! Often there is little to do but carefully and systematically remove dirt and that makes for long hours of hauling it out of the square and up to the dump pile. It’s hard to get a sense of the story one or two squares has to others but the field archaeologists, directors and site supervisors involved the volunteers in their postulations and the weekly site tours helped to connect the pieces.
My involvement with the dig gave me an appreciation of how the science of archaeology reveals the stories of a site’s occupation and use. The insights into the history then inform my understanding of the ancient near east and the world of the Bible. I participated in discussions with Israelis over their skepticism of the accuracy of the reporting and disclosure of the findings, as some findings would not support the Biblical record and I saw nothing in the collection or recording in our dig that would have warranted skepticism. What I did find were a number of area supervisors, directors, lab staff and support staff that were passionate about archaeology and the emphasis of this dig as a teaching classroom.