Tonight I gave my second lecture of the season. This is a field school, after all, so we have 2-3 lectures scheduled each week. I spoke first on how the North Ridge fits into the history of Petra and the region, then Tom spoke about Roman period Jordan. Jennifer Ramsey gave a talk on the importance of paleobotanical remains. Christopher Tuttle was supposed to give a talk on his work in Petra, but he cancelled because he came down with theflu that is going around (and unfortunately seems to be working its way slowly through our folks as well). Tonight I spoke on bioarchaeology and how it can be applied to answer archaeological and historical research questions in Petra. Later on, our faunal analyst, Daniel Lowrey, will give a talk on zooarch, Lucy Wadeson from Oxford, who is visiting us for the week to learn more about studying human bones, will talk about her excavations with the International Khubta Tombs Project (followed by a tour the following day), and Tom will wrap things up during the final week summarizing the results of our excavation season.
This week will involve important decisions about what we will prioritze before ending the excavation. As Tom mentioned in yesterday’s post, we are reaching bedrock in many of the Area A and B domestic structures. We have decided that students and supervisors in closed trenches will focus on trying to tackle our significant ceramic backlog. The flow of ceramics has been consistently heavy, and we are behind in washing and prelminary analysis of the sherds, not to mention registration of those being kept for further study.
Two areas will likely remain open into the next week – Trenches B.1 and B.2, within which we are exploring two rooms of a 2nd – 3rd century domestic complex (B.1 is the one with tons of red painted plaster that covered the walls, B.2 had the incredible wall collapse), and all of the tombs: B.4, B.5, and B.6. Tomb B.4 is closest to being finished – at any rate, we know how much excavation is left and have a sense of the amount of funerary structures in the tomb. We
reached the bottom of Tomb B.5, and incredible 3.08 meters below the bedrock surface, but the tomb chamber is completely filled with soil and we have no sense of how far back the chamber extends. Hopefully we’ll gain that psychological relief tomorrow. In B.6, we reached the bottom of the tomb to realize that the floor consists of sub-floor rectangular slots within which bodies were placed. One can only hope that we finish before the end of the excavation season.