Excavation is now well under way in all three areas. The team drives down to the field at 5:45 AM in order to beat the heat. This has been hard for the last couple of days, with the weather reported to have been over 110 degrees on Sunday and Monday. Because of the heat, we leave the field around noon, after a second breakfast at 9:30.
Everyone is hard at work. In Area B, Area Supervisor Jessica Walker oversees the excavation of four tombs, two of which – B.5 and B.6 – were partially excavated in 2012. But despite almost a meter of backfill, looters attempted to rob the B.5 tomb, disturbing the sealed contexts and necessitating the use of a sifter. But the B.5 team remains in good spirits and laugh at the amount of dirt which comes back in their boots.
The other Area B trenches are new this year. The teams in B.7 and B.8 have removed almost one meter of sediment and hope to soon reach bedrock.
In Area C, Dr. Duncan oversees three new trenches and one old trench from the previous season. Area C is further south than the excavation areas of previous seasons, but the team has hopes to identify Byzantine domestic occupation in Petra in the new area based on the presence of a Byzantine wall. The three new trenches have yielded several large stones which may be toppled walls.
Dr. Duncan’s trench from last season has been completely cleared already. Trench supervisor Carlos Santiago Marrero and his team are now documenting and drawing, and hope to move to a new trench soon.
Area D is a completely new area, north along the Nabataean city wall. Russell has three trenches, two directly north and south of the wall and another several hundred meters east along the wall. Excavation in these areas is moving fast, with most trenches at the drawing and photography stage already.
But those in the field are not the only ones at work already. In the house, pottery in being processed, small finds are being documented, artifacts are being conserved, and human remains are being analyzed.
Now onto the next locus!