The daily grind of the dig

An archaeological excavation is an interesting experience. It’s fascinating to dig up something that someone else has last touched thousands of years ago. It makes it all worthwhile. But archaeology is careful, methodical excavation. That means a lot of measurements and recording. And we need to dig clean and meticulously. One of the main tasks of the excavator is to keep the sides of the excavation unit vertical. These unexcavated sides between units are called balks. “Keep your balk straight,” is the phrasse that every archaeology student hears again and again. It’s not easy. At times it requires the aid of the plumb-bob. For the eye is easily deceived so that the balk is no longer vertical.

At times we find really neat things while trimming a balk – like this nearly complete oil lamp. But if something that big is still in the balk it must mean that the balk was not that straight to start off with. It would have been better if it were found when the balk was straight so that we can see it in context. Still, it’s a find.

Balk trimming is just one of the many tasks. There’s sifting, recording, cleaning, removing topsoil. They’re all required to make a successful dig.

This entry was posted in Archaeology, excavations, Khirbet Summeily and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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