From the Field: The Tell Madaba Archaeological Project…progress!

Posted: July 4, 2011 - 09:04 , by admin

By Daniel Kwan, Gallery Facillitator and Volunteer

After their first weekend off, the students have returned recharged and ready to dig! Despite the many bruises and sores that I sustained from my hiking trips, I felt more motivated than ever! Due to the progress that we had made in the previous week, precautions had to be made to ensure that the students (and myself) could enter our excavation safely. We have a fantastic group of local Jordanian workers who assist us, many of them have worked with with me during my previous excavation last summer.

Once we had finally finished excavating the soil loci above the remnants of an Iron Age wall, we were finally able to hypothesize it’s relationship with the other previously excavated and visible walls. What has become most interesting is what was thought to be a wall last summer. Our excavation efforts have revealed that it may actually be a blocked doorway! The number of courses (layers of stones within the “wall”) combined with the smaller size of the masonry relative to the newly exposed wall, all suggest that this was an addition. My current working hypothesis is that the wall that my students have excavated represents a structure that existed before the construction of the walls uncovered last year. If this hold true, then the 2010 walls are additions to a building. Perhaps a hallway? A courtyard? Only time will tell.

In addition to the exciting architecture, we have begun to find fairly fascinating objects! What stood out amongst the mundane items such as jar stoppers, spindle whorls, fragments of ceramic vessels, beads, and stones used for grinding food was the discovery of an iron arrow head! Something different! Needless to say, I was very excited. My students have come up with many…interesting theories about the arrows origin (one involves the surprise appearance of a wounded camel at an Iron Age party). but who knows?! Anything is possible!