The 2011 Season
From June 28 to August 6, the University of Washington Tel Dor Archaeological Program will resume its field school excavation at Dor under the director of Professor Sarah Culpepper Stroup.
The UW Team will continue excavating, under the instruction of prof. Stroup and the D4 staff, the impressive and archaeologically-rich Hellenistic and late Persian period buildings on the south side of the Tel (‘Area D4’). This area, which we have been excavating since 2005, consists of a fascinating complex of large public buildings likely connected with Dor’s focus as a center of coastal Mediterranean trade and industry.
In 2007, we found a series of four large Roman period local style ovens (“tabuns”), several drains, pipes, and water basins (indicating large-scale water-based industry), and a complex of rooms, hallways, and thresholds. Finds included numerous coins, lamps, beads, and ancient tools.
In 2008, we moved into the late Hellenistic period, with some fantastic Hellenistic walls coming up throughout the square. In addition to large amounts of fine mold-made pottery (“Megarian” ware), we found some examples of beautiful Hellenistic glassware, a small number of coins, and an assortment of bronze tools and weapons; the most puzzling find of all was an ashlar installation that instantly gained the affectionate nickname “the crypt.”
In 2009, we moved well into the Hellenistic period strata, and began to uncover the late Persian period buildings. 2009 was an especially exciting year on the Tel.
Although the UW team focuses on the excavations of Area D4, the team visits the other excavated areas on the Tel for weekly updates. Participants interested in excavating in one of the earlier periods, represented especially by Area D5 (on the Tel’s southern slope) may be accommodated by special request, and if space permits. This fascinating Area is supervised by Israeli graduate student Yiftah Shalev, and experienced archaeologist with a long history excavating, and teaching, at Dor.
Please note: although we attempt to accommodate preferences in excavation period (Iron Age through Roman), we cannot guarantee to do so.
In 2011, Field School participants will be housed at the K’far Galim Youth Village, a science and environmental school fifteen minutes up the coast from our site (we commute daily on privately hired buses). In addition to having 24-hour security, the school features a sprawling, tree-filled campus, a swimming pool, outdoor sports facilities, a dining hall, and fully-equipped, modern classrooms.
Student rooms (three to four per room) feature central air conditioning, weekly cleaning service, and large bathrooms; most of the campus has access to wireless internet. Lunch and dinner (certified kosher, with vegetarian options) are provided M-F in the school dining hall; breakfasts are catered on the Tel Monday through Friday. On weekends, the school dining hall provides breakfast and lunch.
The Work Day and School Day
Want to know what a “dig day” looks like? Here it is!
Wake Up! We rise at about 4:00 a.m. (remarkably easy after a couple of days), and muster in a group by 4:30. After a quick snack of biscuits and coffee or tea (don’t forget to pack a camp cup!), we board our buses to the site. The Tel is approximately 15 minutes south along the coast, so we arrive around 4:45. It’s a short walk down the beach to our site. We begin to unload our tools at 5:00, when it is light enough to begin excavation; When the tools have been brought out, we gather in our areas and begin excavation.
Coffee Break! At 6:30, we break for 20 minutes of Tel-brewed coffee and our classic Tel Dor snack of bread, peanut butter, and Nutella. This will sound surprisingly tasty by about the second day. At 6:50, we head back to the squares and continue excavation.
Breakfast! At 9:00, we break for breakfast down at our site museum. Breakfast is a modest affair—sandwiches, yoghurt and cereal—but satisfying after a morning’s worth of digging. We break for an hour, so you’ll have time for a quick swim at the beach if you wish. At 10:00 sharp, most of us are back at work in the squares; each day some students remain at the museum to be instructed in registration and conservation techniques.
Fruit Break! At 11:15, we break for a light snack of local fruit—grapes, plums, peaches, watermelon, and occasionally (usually on Shabbat, or Friday) popsicles. At 11:30, we resume work in the squares.
Call It! At 12:30 p.m., we begin collecting the tools and returning them to the container, while the square supervisors take their end-of-day elevations with the help of students who have been instructed in the taking of elevations. We walk back down from the Tel at 1:00 and get back on the buses for the return ride to K'Far Galim.
Lunch! As soon as we return to our housing at K'far Galim, we have lunch as a group in the dining hall. The rest of the afternoon is yours until...
Pottery Washing! At 4:00 each day, we gather as a group and wash the pottery we have found from the day before. This is also when the senior staff members engage in “pottery reading,” which means we analyze the washed pottery (once it has dried) and assign dates to our excavated areas. Every participant is invited to attend the pottery reading sessions, where they learn more about how what they find in the field contributes to our understanding of history. Every season, numerous finds not recognized in the field “come up” once they are cleaned at washing, and so in a sense this is where all of our excavation efforts really start to come together.
Evening Lecture! At 5:00 Monday through Thursday, the UW Field School participants attend lectures offered by Israeli, U.S., and International scholars on a variety of topics. These lectures (which are open to all Tel Dor participants) connect the work you have done during the day with the broader world of archaeological and historical research.
Dinner! Dinner is served at the campus Dining Hall at 7:00. The wise among us head to bed shortly thereafter. The unwise do not.