Four and a Half Weeks at Megiddo – A Summer’s Summary 2014

Posted by on Aug 25, 2014

Four and a Half Weeks at Megiddo – A Summer’s Summary 2014

After four and a half weeks at Megiddo, my time here has sadly come to an end; but the memories and the experiences from the excavation will be treasured forever. 

This being my first excavation ever, I was uncertain of what to expect. I figured that since I enjoy both the outdoors and archaeology – the excavation will be fun. However, it really was so much more than I could ever have imagined. 

There were of course sacrifices that had to be made such as waking up very early and the intense physical labour. These however added to the experience, and in hindsight were even very enjoyable within themselves. There is truly no better type of work than working outside, looking at the beautiful scenery and feeling the calm breeze sooth you after an intense pickaxe or turia session.

There are also many things I learned from an academic perspective. Being part of an excavation undeniably contributes to your understanding in ways that sitting in the library reading about it can never achieve. From a technical standpoint, I could see how everything worked.


Mordechay working in area H

Gradual Progress 

The first week involved mostly removing and cleaning winter-wash. In the second week we began to excavate hard but it still was slow in terms of finds, at least in Area H. Notwithstanding you get a better understanding of concepts like floors and accumulation. Throughout this time what became really visible were the area’s features like the walls and pavements. By the third week things began to get interesting as we dug enough to reach the floors of a next phase. The fourth and fifth weeks were by far the most exciting: In my locus I had reached a floor and even found a tabun! 

Along with this tabun I found a broken glass bead and a pounding stone which prompted me to think of a story regarding a Late Bronze lady breaking her jewelry while using the tabun… The Weitzman institute also came to take samples from the tabun for paleomagentic analysis which is a really interesting thing within itself.

Jordan, Laura and Mordechay in Megiddo

Sadly, during the fifth week, when we got an influx of volunteers from other excavations and the finds were getting very interesting, I had to leave. However, by this time I had seen the entire excavation process: I witnessed cleaning, finding, and ultimately, the destruction of a feature once it has been drawn and recorded to the fullest extent, in order for the excavation to go further down into new layers and depths. 

Throughout my time there I also had the privilege of helping Prof. Finkelstein and Dr. Langutt with a pollen analysis project involving mud bricks, a task which I really enjoyed.


Traditions and shenanigans 


The sign of Prof. Finkelstein's window.

While we worked hard, we also had fun maintaining traditions and being involved in various shenanigans. Area K has its longstanding tradition of raising a Jolly Roger in their area. In Area H this season we got Max, a cow skull who is the spirit animal and caretaker of the area. And as it is well known that Prof. Finkelstein takes his naps really seriously and under a threat of “mortal danger” we all knew to be very quiet around certain times… Don’t believe me? Just check the post on his window. 

Altogether the excavation was a great experience. I got to meet really cool people, heard experts give really interesting talks, and found some really awesome items. I would definitely recommend this excavation for anyone interested in archaeology, with or without experience. It was truly a wonderful time participating in the Megiddo 2014 Expedition :)

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