Although an archaeological excavation only occupies a few weeks out of the year, the material that we excavate keeps us occupied for the rest of the year. We have to analyze our finds, research them, have scientific testing done, and finally publish them.
Right now, I am working on projects in all of these stages and also gearing up for another season of excavation at Shiloh. It can be a little hard to keep track of everything!
My top propriety is to finish up my research proposal. While this is not directly related to our field work at Shiloh or Ebal, those sites will be a part of my research. I am almost finished with the second draft, but I had to put it on hold while I tried to track down some resources that I needed. Just yesterday, I got ahold of one of them. As soon as I can go to the library in Jerusalem, I should be able to find the others and finish the draft.
I made a trip to KAMAT, the local branch of the Israel Antiquities Authority, this week. They keep all of the artifacts from our excavations there. I had two errands to run at KAMAT. First, I needed to meet with a scientist who specializes in residue analysis. We have an artifact from Shiloh that may have organic residue on it, and she is willing to test it. I transferred the object to her custody. Hopefully we will get good results.
The second reason for my visit to KAMAT was to analyze the findings from our Mount Ebal sifting project. I have a spreadsheet containing basic information about each artifact, but I needed to take the time to carefully analyze each one, take photos from multiple angles, and writing detailed notes. I left the objects at KAMAT after analyzing them, I but brought the pottery back to Ariel with me. It will take some time to analyze each sherd.
Now that I have analyzed the objects from Mount Ebal, the next step is to research them to find out what they are. I am trying to complete the research for one object each day. So far, I have three done, and about 25 left to go. There are more objects than that, but I have teammates who will research some of them.
Meanwhile, I have two carbon-14 testing projects in the works right now. I just got the results back from the first set of samples, so I am starting work on an article that will highlight those results.
The second carbon-14 project involves some seeds that we found. I am almost ready to send them to the lab, but first I need to photograph them. This requires a camera with a special lens because they are quite small. I found a fellow student who has the correct lens, so hopefully we will be able to get the seeds photographed soon.
When I was analyzing the objects from Mount Ebal, I had a question about the metal type of one of them. I emailed one of the professors here at Ariel University to ask her about it, since she specializes in metallurgy. She said that it is easy to test the metal type and that I should bring the object in question to her lab along with any others that I would like tested. This is great news, since it will be nice to include this analysis in the final publication. The next time I am at KAMAT, I plan to choose several objects and take them to the lab for testing.
I have another project that I have been working on, as well. I was recently offered the opportunity to publish my Master’s thesis, so I have been editing it for publication. It didn’t need a lot of work, but I needed to update a few things. A few days ago, I completed the edits and submitted the manuscript to the publisher. Hitting “send” on the email seemed like a momentous occasion. I have published a few articles, but this will be my first book (albeit a small one!). I’m pretty excited about it.
Meanwhile, some of my colleagues from the Shiloh excavation have started analyzing objects from Shiloh for publication. I am not directly involved in the research, but I am the Shiloh objects registrar, which means that I am the keeper of all the data regarding these objects. Because of this, I have been involved in a lot of correspondence about various items. It’s great, because I am gaining a better understanding of the objects from Shiloh without actually having to research them myself.
So, although I didn’t have a particularly exciting week with any grand adventures, I managed to keep busy with all these dig-related projects. And, now that it is April, that means that the 2022 Shiloh excavation is next month! It is coming up very quickly. There is still time for you to sign up and come dig with us. You can do so at digshiloh.org.
And, because it is springtime and wildflowers are blooming all over, I will finish up with some photos from some recent hikes.