Diana Craig Patch
We all happily went off this morning to our first day of the 2016 season at Malqata. It was a lovely clear day, a welcome change to the dusty and low visibility day we had on Friday. However, it was quite chilly and we all wore many layers of clothing. A brisk wind picked up about mid-morning with gusts that challenged anyone who wanted to get a plastic bag out of a box or a piece of paper from a notebook. Nevertheless we moved forward.
The first order of the day was hiring this season’s workmen, including the specialized excavators, the builders, the men who mix mortar for bricks, and individuals who are willing to carry away debris from the excavations, rip out the unwanted camelthorn, and to take care of the odd jobs. We were all delighted to see so many old friends among the men waiting when we arrived at 7 AM at the King’s Palace. Hiring went quickly and the various tasks began rapidly. Today most men worked on cleaning active sections of the site and starting to collect the ingredients for mortar, which takes a few days to mix.
Janice, Catharine, and I went off to the West Settlement (Janice’s site) and the area west of the Audience Pavilion (Catharine and I focus on these squares), which are close to one other. The first task of the day was locating the stakes we had installed last season with Joel Paulson, our surveyor. They were all there and still very solidly in place. Using meter tapes, we subdivided the 10 m x 10 m squares, which are too large to excavate, into the more manageable 5 m x 5 m squares that we want. By 11 AM, we had enough squares outlined in string that excavation could begin.
In the first few minutes working in a new square west of the Audience Pavilion we recovered a broken awl. You may remember we found four of these lovely little flint tools last season. I believe this is a good omen.
January 9, 2016