We are now a week and a half into the 2016 Kharaneh IV field season! We returned this
year with a mix of new and old crew members to continue our exploration of the Early Epipalaeolithic occupation at Kharaneh IV. Our first week was short, only three days on site, but we were very productive. We unbacked filled our old excavation area in Area B and started two new excavation units. This area has occupations dating to the Early Epipalaeolithic period (approximately 19,000 years old). This field season we are exposing and excavating Structure 2, originally identified in 2010, to better understand the behaviours of the Early Epipalaeolithic inhabitants at the site.
Last field season we opened excavation units to find and map the boundaries of Structure 2, however we were unable to locate the west edge. This field season we are opening units to the west to find the extent of the deposits. We have been diligently working in two 1×1 meter excavation units to bring these down to the level of Structure 2. In one of the units we encountered a hearth feature, which contained burnt material such as gazelle horn cores and lithics. This hearth extends further to the north, however these deposits remain unexcavated (perhaps for a future field season!). We are now almost at the level of Structure 2 and I hope to have the full structure exposed by early this week.
Outside of work hours we visited some of the desert castles including Qasr Kharaneh and Qasr Amra. Both these buildings were built in the Umayyad period. Qasr Kharaneh functioned as a caravanserai (roadside inn) and Qasr Amra as a royal retreat and bath. On Friday (our day off) we visited the Azraq wetland reserve, the last remaining part of the Azraq oasis. Most of our current crew is new to Jordan, so we have had fun exploring some of Jordan’s cultural heritage together.
More updates to follow and I will post more frequently in the upcoming weeks!