Excavations at Khirbet Summeily have wrapped up for this year. The first season was promising. From what we discovered this year, we concluded that there are three phases of occupation at the site. The village here seems to have been established in the early 10th century BCE. The next level seems to be from the 9th century BCE. The final phase is from the 8th century BCE. Nearly three hundred years of life, of working the land, of staying in this place. Thick ash layers indicate why it was abandoned. The village seems to have been destroyed. But not all ash is from a destruction. It seems quite a bit of dung was burned in this place, too. Was it used for cooking, for baking, for something else?
Most of the potsherds we found are similar to hill country pottery, indicating that this place was part of Judah. We also found some Philistine forms. Clearly, the village also had connections with the Coast. After all, it sits right at the border. What the exact connection was, is difficult to tell at this stage. Further excavation will give us more information.
Of course, we could not just leave the site exposed to the elements. After final pictures were taken, we went out to the mound and spread plastic liners across the base of the squares and placed sand bags on the walls. Then it was time to get the heavy machinery in. A front loader dumped a layer of soil into the squares. It was the soil we had dug out – only a lot finer now. We had sifted it all.
Finally, we had to put a fence around the excavation area. It will not keep anyone out that’s determined to get in there. But it’s a reminder for people not to go there. And under Israeli law they’re committing an offence if they go into the fenced-off area of an archaeological site. Let’s hope the squares will be largely undisturbed next year. Until then! We’ll be back, Summeily!