Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Apollonia Arsuf 2009

Video Streams from Apollonia Arsuf 2009 - Enjoy :)

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Apollonia Arsuf Day 10

It was our last day of excavating and we managed to finish closure of our area. As a last minute dash, we extended the north west quadrant and traced part of the interior city wall to an easterly direction. We unearthed several pieces of crusader pottery along with many pieces of Byzantine that was displaced out of context.

For the remainder of the day, we spent the time cleaning area L and sectioning trench walls to ensure that the surveyors could create accurate plans and drawings. 

At last minute, we had an interesting discovery of a lead seal from a sectioned wall. This is extremely exciting as any markings on the seal may have the potential of associating a particular historical figure.

A big thanks to all the team that supported and ran the excavation, in particular, Ilan, Neer and Dan.. 

Here's to Apollonia 2010...

Picture, From left to Right:
Christiane, Fran, Claire, Markus, Chris & Stephen in the background...

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Apollonia Arsuf Day 9

We just finished our second from last day and the realisation that we are running out of time is beginning to become apparent. I've enlarged our excavation area again to reveal the inner section of the turret walls so that the surveyors have a proper allignment to follow when making a site drawing. The remaining open quadrants havn't revealed anything of major importance, apart from two tiers of a wall (Possibly Roman) that the Byzantine wall is built ontop of. We also discovered a small worked piece of bone that might have been a hairpin and is decorated at one end. 

Due to a section of one trench collapsing, I've decided to re-open the north west quadrant as part of the byzantine wall was revealed along with some interesting pottery that is out of context. After that, it's a day of cleaning and tidying the area and sectioning.


Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Apollonia Arsuf Day 8

As Christiane from Area L would say... "Dear Diary" today was almost surreal with two major developments taking place within our excavation area. The plaster wall that has caused some confusion was confirmed to be of early Arabic origins by the national park supervisor... He explained that planners thought the Arabic wall was some 50 metres to the west, and that they would now need to re-advise the city plans and location for the outer wall for this period based on our excavations.

In addition, one of our initial quadrants where we disovered a corner of the crusader wall has been excavated further with a mechanical digger, revealing the crusader city walls to a depth of roughly 7 metres and a corner turret similar to the types found at Caesaria. This has also proved different from the initial city plans for the crusader period. Firsty by the type of turret which protrudes outwards into the moat, rather than a square turret which is alligned along the moat wall. And secondly by the placement of where the city wall runs north from our tower in Area L. Due to our excavation, part of the focus for next season at Apollonia 2010 will be based at Area L and remain exposed as a tourist attraction for park visitors. All attendees within Area L should be very proud of their efforts. They have worked extremely hard and produced a text book excavation site that has certainly made a difference within the wider picture of Apollonia Arsuf.... Big thanks to Hillary, Arlene, Christiane, Claire, Francesca, Stephen, Wan, Chris and the additonal students from Israel. 

In addition, we've reached the Byzantine layer in other quadrants of Area L and have a linear Byzantine wall running underneath the Early Arabic city wall. Additional finds from today included a small coin, possibly Byzantine.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Apollonia Arsuf Day 7

Another day has passed in the trenches and our attendees are beginning to feel the aches of archaeology in Israel. They've fought their way through sunstroke, blisters, insect bites, swollen limbs and of course sunburn. Despite all the ailments, everyone pulled together amazingly today and managed to achieve three days worth of digging in just one day. All areas of the squares are beginning to push further down and are breaking through the early Arabic period.

I had hoped to be alot deeper by this time, but the complexity of the area required investigation into the surroundings outside of the initial 5x5 square. Finds included a small coin, possibly Byzantine, countless amphora handles and sherds, animal bones and glasses with base and neck still intact. Three more Walls have been unearthed, making the site even more complex than we initially imagined.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Apollonia Arsuf Day 6

During the weekend a couple of excursions was arranged for attendees around archaeological sites and places of historical inportance. This included a tour of the exposed aquaduct system which fed the city of caesaria built by king herod. We also toured through an underground aquaduct built by the Romans for 500 metres, wading through ice cold water. The following day, I took the overseas attendees to Caesaria and toured the ancient herodian, roman, Byzantine and crusader remains. The city contains some of the finest surviving roman and Byzantine structures and includes an ampitheatre and circus (hippodrome). 

Day 6
Today I was joined by 3 additional attendees from England and really started to push the excavation in order to try and understand the curtain Walls. We've exposed another section of a wall underneath the Arabic remains and will hopefully have them fully uncovered by conclusion of day 7 of excavations. I've closed the two remaining areas of the initial square, now making the 5x5 we started excavations on day one completely closed... apart from removing a section of the central bulk in order to understand the early Arabic fortifications. I've opened up two new areas and will focusing all efforts within the two new quadrants to trace the crusader tower foundations before end of the week. Throughout the week I've been conducting surveys of the site using a dumpy level and have been giving crash courses in it's usage for the overseas attendees.. I received the survey drawings today produced from our data along with a total station survey produced by external surveyors.


Saturday, 25 July 2009

Apollonia Arsuf Day 5

Week one is finally out of the way and area L is closed until the Monday. We've managed to remove about 1.5 metres of loose rubble and layers of sand from the north east quadrant. All the pottery is of early Arabic and Byzantine origins but we seem to be having a lack of crusader sherds at the lower locus.

I've decided to close this quadrant and concentrate efforts on the remaining areas of the square. The north west quadrant remains difficult and has compacted layers of plaster along with rubble from parts of a robbed out wall. The area includes a solid plaster wall which changes direction by 80 degrees and seems to carry on to another locus. The central area of the trench has finally been seived and the layers of burning and dark soil has now been removed ready for excavating the lower locus on Monday.

Work has now begun in the south west quadrant and already there is alot of pottery sherds and amphora handles appearing in the surface layers. The slanted plaster wall has now been identified as the early Arabic fortifications, built prior to the crusader moat and is causing some excitement. The wall indicates where the arabic curtain wall turns and shows that the crusaders made use of existing fortifications by following the allignment and usage of some of the existing defences. In the evening, we returned to apollonia for a live jazz concert in the castle and watched the sun set over the battlements and hide behind the horizon of the med.