July 22, 2008

Megiddo, Day 14 – Bones of a Sheepgoat

This morning, before it was even light, we took a bittersweet sledgehammer to my dear nap rock. It was glorious. Becky got the whole thing on video, but I won’t be able to upload it until I get home because the connection’s too slow here. I was told I have very good form, and with some guidance, it broke into nice big pieces. Unfortunately I appear to have hurt my thumb, probably a stress sprain or something from the cumulative effects of intense pickaxing and now this. It has decreased mobility of rotation and hurts to clap, open doors, and hold a pen; however, it was fine when I used tools. After clearing the debris (using the special wheelbarrow, which is just a wheel without a barrow), we closed the square and moved to the new square, C5. We have a new Israeli squaremate, Shani, who’s a first-year archaeology and art history student. She says the kibbutz food is about par with the army food, so at least it has that going for it. C5, although it has less bones, is interesting because it has a taboun (a beehive-shaped oven) in the middle-north. Melissa and I cleared the dirt on the east side while Shani excavated inside the taboun before discovering that the west half of the square has a plaster floor (probably stratum 3). Since we found mud brick in the corner, it’s possible this was the courtyard of a house. At 10:30, while clearing the dirt from the most recent bout of pickaxing, we found a circular ceramic… something. It was a funny shape and we couldn’t tell if it was broken. Philippe made us cover it up and excavate around it. We finally came back to it at the end of the day – it turned out to be a flipped-over oil lamp, intact, about eight inches diameter. It was pretty amazing. I got to carry it back in a box.

After breakfast, a group of tourists from Hong Kong crowded the tel. One of them asked me questions, and I think I did a decent job of answering. They were probably the most sun-protected tourists I’ve ever seen – they all had legionnaire’s hats and scarves and long-sleeved shirts and some even had umbrellas. I wonder if they’re one of those cultures that prefers very light skin or if they were just boiling.

At pottery washing I spilled my bucket on my lap, where it soaked the front of my shorts and then ran back into the chair, where it pooled and looked as if I had peed my pants but for all the water on my shirt as well. Just then, Aaron the faunal analyst came over and asked if I would like to help him do data entry. I had to run back and change because I couldn’t sit around looking embarrassing like that. I wrote numbers on the bones and he entered them into the computer – type, location, species, breaks, marks, etc. If any readers haven’t heard, I think I have found my career calling in bones. I realized it combines all the things I like: the outdoors, history, travel, minutiae, science, vast amounts of general knowledge. My New Career Plan is to get an MA in faunal analysis (and then hopefully a PhD in… something) and be a forensic anthropologist/archaeologist and do historical archaeology in the summer. (And to Anna: I’d get to do radiocarbon dating. Science, see? Real science!)


Sledging my rock


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