Most people assume that the main goal of archaeology is digging and don’t realize that digging is only the first step in a long process. The purpose of archaeology is to gain knowledge about the past. Digging, an exciting activity by itself, produces the raw data that then need to be studied, interpreted, and disseminated. We have excavated at Tell Halif since 1976 and several volumes of final results have been either published or are at the publisher’s waiting to be published. We are working on the preparation of several additional volume, but our presence in Israel this summer involves the preparation of materials from our last three seasons (2007-2009) for final publication.
With the help of a grant from the Emory University Research Committee (URC) we completed, or are making progress on, the following analyses:
1. Sea shells: showing us that Tell Halif had shells coming all the way from the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean, and bodies of sweet waters in Syria/Lebanon;
2. Carbon 14: Some of the samples go back to the 10th/9th century BCE;
3. Animal bones: the locals in the 8th century BCE had access to sheep/goats and cattle;
4. Organic samples: not yet completed (now being done in Missouri);
5. Pottery analysis and reconstruction: in progress (now being done in Mississippi);
6. Storage jar residue analysis: in progress (Weizmann Institute, Israel);
7. Cooking pot residue analysis: in progress (now being done in Pennsylvania);
8. Limestone incense altars place of origin: in progress (now being done at Tel Aviv University);
These are only some of the things that are taking place and that I try to coordinate so at the end we can have as a complete a picture as possible of daily life.
In the next blog I will be discussing what we are doing here besides eating hummus and falafel;