As I mentioned in a previous communication in this site, we are busily working on the materials we excavated in the last three field seasons (2007-2009). The goal of every archaeological project is the publication of results so the scholarly and lay public will be informed of the discoveries. This process is very long because it involves the work of specialists in areas such as pottery analysis, zooarchaeology (analysis of animal bones), archaeobotany (analysis of organic remains), metallurgy, geology, and more. Some specialists examine remains that are specific to a particular site; at Tell Halif we have the remains of a lively textile industry and they need to be examined to determine the type of textiles produced. Halif’s geographical location made it a center for commercial activities and these can be determined by the examination of sea shells that originated in a variety of geographical sources as well as beads and an assortment of tools that were brought to the site from distant locations.
This summer we are examining all the finds and comparing the information on the tags accompanying the objects with what was entered in the record books during the field working seasons. And we find that there are discrepancies that need correction. This needs to be done before the objects go for analysis by the specialists, and it’s quite tedious.
Since at the end of each season the finds were stored separately, we have now the opportunity to see each group of finds in its totality. If I mentioned beads, now we can see the whole bead collection we assembled in three years and we will try to find their source.
One things that happens to archaeological sites after the work is over is that if they do not become tourist attractions, they become overgrown with weeds. Our site has become overgrown with salt bush, a hardy plants that is native to the Dead Sea region and was introduced to our region for cattle grazing. This plant is doing so well that at some places it looks like a little tree. One of our chores this summer is to clear as much of the salt bush as possible in some of the areas we had previously excavated.
It is very exciting to re-discover the house we excavated almost 20 years ago.