We just wrapped up Week 1 of the Kharaneh IV 2015 field season! It is good to be back in Azraq, this time in March when the weather is cooler (it even rained on site one day!). This year we are returning to one of our old excavation areas, Area B, to continue excavations that we had started in previous seasons. Back in 2010 we uncovered evidence for two hut structures but did not have time to fully excavate them during that field season (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0031447). So we returned in 2013 with a small crew to excavate Structure 1. This year we are reopening Area B (the Early Epipalaeolithic Area) to expose, map, and excavate the second structure that we uncovered in 2010. In addition to the excavation, we are excited to have Adrian and Tom from the Fragmented Heritage Project (www.fragmentedhereitage.com) joining us. They are laser scanning the site and flying an octocopter to capture high resolution images of Kharaneh IV’s surface (and the millions and millions of lithics!). More blog posts on their work will be coming up.
This year’s team is composed of an international assortment including people from Canada, Jordan, the UK, Denmark, Bulgaria, and Brazil. This has led to a range dinner conversations analysing cultural eating habits from around the world. Their enthusiasm for lithics, bones, and flotation has made lab work lots of fun! This year we are splitting the team between the lab and the field, with half the crew working in the lab, half in the field, and then rotating them so that everyone has the opportunity to excavate.
The first day on site we unbackfilled Area B to get down to the level of the structure that we had exposed in 2010. We left these deposits covered with sandbags to protect them as we opened up two new excavation units to fully expose the hut. Abdulkareem, Joe, Renata, and I worked quickly to remove the upper disturbed sediments to expose the in situ deposits underneath. We are now excavating through good deposits and by the end of the week we started to expose what I believe is a bone midden uncovered in 2010. Hopefully we will be at the surface of the Structure 2 deposits by the middle of next week.
Meanwhile in the lab, Adam has been busy analysing fauna from Structure 1 that we excavated in 2013, with the help of Trine who has been sorting bones for him. Dobrina has been floating samples from Structure 1 and we hope to have most of them floated by the end of the season. Olivia has been dividing her time between helping in the lab and working with Fragmented Heritage to survey the site. In the afternoons we have all been sorting lithics, of which there seems to be an endless supply.
At the end of the week we took a much deserved break in Madaba. Rested and relaxed, we are excited to start week 2 of excavations tomorrow!