Archaeology is more than finding a spot in the ground to dig. An excavation is a logistical feat. With around 50 participants this year, the Huqoq dig directors must coordinate meals, field-trips, airport pick-ups, airport drop-offs, lectures, lab schedules, and much more for each participant. The dig itself requires a permit from the Israel Antiquities Authority far in advance of our arrival.
Once we arrive, our dig administrator coordinates the process of moving all the necessary tools to the site. These tools include shade-cloths, pickaxes, sledgehammers, trowels, hoes, buckets, sifters, wheelbarrows, sandbags, tables, desks, chairs, and much more. Students line up in large chains, transferring the contents of two storage bins into the back of the administrator’s struck, only to unload the same contents 30 minutes later on the site.
After the dig begins, many students will volunteer in two labs on site. The first lab is where the dig registrar works. The registrar’s job is to catalogue every artifact and bucket brought back from the site. Once catalogued, all material then transfers to the second lab, where specialists such as the ceramicist, the archaeobotanist, and the glass specialist will examine the respective finds in greater detail.
When one step back and looks at the amount of work a season of excavation requires, it is amazing how smoothly everything often runs. We are excited to welcome the rest of the team on Friday and break ground on the 2015 excavation season.