I’m thrilled to be back at Malqata for my second season with the JEM. I’m working again in our “West Settlement,” where we have started by opening up two new squares just north of the 2015 excavations. I’m happy to have on my team two of the experienced excavators with whom I worked last year, Mahmoud and Ja’allan.
On the first day, we cleared the surface level of both squares, and collected LOTS of pottery – according to Peter, we have at least one imported amphora, at least one local amphora in palace ware (but probably more), and then a lot of village-type pottery. We know the surface is very disturbed, though (some of my favorite sherds actually turn out to be Roman!).
We’ve gotten off to a good start over the past few days, going down a few centimeters at a time from the surface level. On Monday, Mahmoud found our first “ghost” wall, and today, as we went down further, more walls have started to emerge. We’ve got a few nice groups of “in situ” pots, mainly along one of the walls in the southeastern part of our excavation area. It looks like we have the sherds from at least one nice-looking amphora; some large red-ware bowls; and some coarser ware. To make it more interesting, we’re also finding some charcoal and a fair number of bones, mainly from smaller animals or birds and definitely from some fish.
We find mostly pottery and bones in this area, but we do also find some fairly interesting odds and ends. On Monday, among other things, we’ve found the fragment of a ring that looks like its bezel was in the form of a cartouche; a nice piece of wood; a tiny lump of cupreous material; and part of a mysterious ceramic object, which Peter has now identified. We will blog about this in the next few days, so stay tuned!