Wow! Today was a tough one. I woke up sluggish and exhausted... I was fast asleep at 4:30 (deep in the juju-- chasing the train) and I didn't feel fully functional until second breakfast. Out in the field, we spent the morning preparing to photograph the stairs. We swept the whole square out and took out a few more stones that blocked the view. One of the rocks we pulled out of the 13th century surface that covered the stairs turned out to be a fragment of a basalt basin-- maybe a grinding basin. We also worked on a top plan; we needed to draw all the new features before ripping out more rocks and continuing downwards. Edward top planned with Kate and I measuring and we finished just around second breakfast. We will reshoot the stairs tomorrow just to make sure the photos come out clearly (by the time we finally photographed them the sun was up and the shadows were too strong). See them above.
After second breakfast, we basically ripped out more rocks! This is the third day in the week we've done heavy rock removal and it is one of the toughest maneuvers in the field. To add insult to injury, the gnats were the worst they've been all season, and it was hot and airless, so the long sleeve shirts and bandanas we wore were suffocating. Nevertheless, we persevered and got the next layer of rocks out. We spent the remainder of the morning picking and hoeing like crazy-- moving buckets almost faster than Edward could barrow them over to the dump pile! Check out some of our gnat-protection (from 2009 season-- left).
Upon return to the kibbutz, we washed pottery (we had too much and washed for almost an hour). Ben Rubin, class of 2001, helped us and chatted to us about his experience getting his PhD at Michigan, and his adventures as professor at Williams College. Time passed slowly though, because the gnats were out on the kibbutz too, and ate us while we sat, helplessly washing pottery. Because it was Friday, the Druze came over and made some delicious falafel. We wolfed it down and then dispersed to our respective rooms to stay cool and to regroup after a morning spent besieged by gnats.
I spent the afternoon reading and napping, and then helped Amy (class of 2007) catalogue some of her recent finds in the master database with Charlie. I enjoyed working with artifacts from another square, especially because Amy's square is working in the temple next to the early shrine. They are finding the coolest artifacts and found the limestone pavers which seem to predate the shrine! I got to see some of their well-preserved unguentaria and some cool beads and figurine fragments. Check out Nanette (the other supervisor in Amy's square) perched on the early shrine, to the right!
Overall, it was another tough day, but tomorrow is a half day, and I have a falafel sandwich stashed away in my fridge to snack on! Always look for the silver lining.