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Re: orion Qumran ostracon
I forward the following information, with permission, from Prof. James F.
Strange. (The text with >> is orion text from Greg Doudna.) Again, I thank
Prof. Strange, who has cooperated with orion-list above and beyond the call
of duty. (I do not invite further requests of him through me.) Thank you.
Stephen Goranson email@example.com
>>The guide repeatedly >pointed to the place on the terrace dug by
>> Strange as the place of origin >of the ostracon (with no mention of the
>> nearby fence site, which was >pointed out by Hanan Eshel as the find
>> site on the Thursday night trip >to Qumran). I asked the guide myself
>> several times if he was absolutely >certain and he said yes each time.
>> So the guide was also mistaken.
>Indeed the guide was quite mistaken.
> >But now that that point is clarified I am puzzled. The volunteer
>>as I understand it was cleaning up the loose dirt to fill the original
>>hole, and in the process the ostracon was accidentally discovered.
>>But I don't understand. Was the volunteer digging below the loose
>>fill dirt into the compact soil? Why? BAR reported the volunteer
>>saying something about hearing a "clink" from the shovel.
>The volunteer was scraping the top of the next layer with a trowel. This
>sometimes results in what we call "overdigging" in archaeology. While
>removing the upper, later layer it is preferable to scrape or dig slightly
>into the lower layer to insure that not one scrap from the upper layer was
>left to contaminate the lower layer. May I add that our "dump" on top of
>de Vaux's trench next to the wall was sterile of any humn-made object. We
>were removing sterile marl, gravel, and clay which had been removed from
>15 m. deep in the terrace. There was simply no chance that the ostraca
>came from that deep in the terrace.
>Since the volunteer was brand new, he did not know to leave a significant
>find in situ. Therefore, in his first encounter with a sherd in situ (the
>clink of the trowel), he picked it up to take a look and saw writing. He
>then took it to me (I was talking archaeology in front of the book shop
>with an official person.), and I immediately recognized it as an ostracon.
>When we returned to brush the find spot, he picked up the second half from
>the small heap of dirt and sherds he had scraped up before he sought me
>out. In simple brushing we picked up several dozen sherds, mostly Iron
>II, but had to stop, as we had no permit to dig in that spot.
>I earnestly hope this helps.