We were in Israel a few weeks ago meeting with the Antiquities Authority, and their engineers, in order to make arrangements for pre-approval of shoring etc. Last year safety approval was a time consuming, step by step process, that greatly hindered our progress. This time we want everything pre-approved before we get there.
Some of the artifacts that came out of our excavation are dating back to the time of King Solomon and King David. One of the artifacts proved to be a cylinder seal from that time period. It had inscriptions of the god and goddess of Ur of the Chaldees and Haran, the area from which Abraham was called out. It is now in the Israel Museum where experts are working to document its significance.
We will be opening a five meter by seven meter square all the way from the surface to the bedrock some 10 meters below. In order to do this we will have to weld steel shoring in place as we go. By way of this traditional excavation we should be able to date the archaeological layers and learn a great deal more about what we are looking at. Once we get everything opened and cleaned up we should be able to better evaluate Ron’s findings, visually as well as by way of exploratory drilling and bore hole radar.
Last year we excavated through an eight foot thick wall, about twenty five feet below ground at the first century Roman level. On the other side of the wall we found that the area inside was plastered, which normally indicates a cistern or some sort of storage area. In visiting other first century sites we find the thickness of the wall to be very unusual. The only walls that we were able to find in other ancient locations, that were that thick, were walls associated with city gates. It will be interesting to find out why the wall that we found had to be so strong, and just how big that cistern is.
Because of having to shore up such a large, deep, opening, this dig will be the most expensive and labor intensive we have undertaken yet. Once again, we seek the assistance of contributors and volunteer workers in order to accomplish our task.
We will need to have Two Departure Dates for Participants: Advance Team and Excavation Team.
The Advance Team will be removing the first three meters of surface material by way of machinery. Before we can do that we will have to enter the excavation through the cave system and prepare everything below so that we do not have to completely re-excavate our openings, which were cleared in 2005. Once we reach that level, from the surface, the material will begin to fall into what we have already opened.
Even though we will be using machinery, there is limited space to maneuver in the Garden. Once the material has been dug out, we will have to transport it by hand. We will also have to begin putting the steel shoring in place as we go. It will be the responsibility of the Advance Team to have the excavation at the first archaeological level by the time the Excavation Team arrives. It will then be the responsibility of the full team to perform the archaeological excavation.
If you would like to participate in our efforts, please call me at the museum (931) 293-4745. In order to secure a place on the excavation team, you will need to respond right away, as travel providers require immediate bookings.
Thank you for your interest in our efforts to provide archaeological evidence in support of the Biblical record. I look forward to working with many of you this summer.
President, Wyatt Archaeological Research
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."