I am counting down my last days here at Tell Atchana and I have to admit that I will miss it here! I only have 3 more days in my trench, but luckily we removed most of the in-situ pottery today so I will get to see it all before I leave! In the past week we have been piecing together some really beautiful Syro-Cilician painted wares that will eventually be restored by our loverly conservation team!
Today we took final photos of this phase of our trench (3c in case you were wondering), and now we are beginning to take down some of the main features in order to see what is underneath… I can’t quite decide how I feel about this. We have spent the past month exposing all these interesting, beautiful features, and now we’re just going to destroy them all?? I guess that’s the whole idea behind archaeology though, you find something, study it, and keep moving. Which brings me to my next topic: documentation
The Alalakh documentation system is a beast. Every day we keep a daybook detailing what we dug and how we did it and describe EVERYTHING down to what color the dirt was, all while recording seemingly insignificant millimeter changes in elevation. On top of the documentation that takes place on site, we spend several hours each evening we do things like sorting pottery, entering lot and locus information into the database, and writing photograph descriptions. Some days I really dread this, but it is definitely the most important part of our job. Anyone can dig a hole in the ground and pull out some buried treasure, but we aren’t a bunch of Indiana Jones wannabes running around the desert (well, maybe some of us are). I would say I only spend 40% of the work day playing in the dirt, and the rest of my time is spent sampling, observing, and describing.
I know have mentioned before that I have become really attached to my trench and everything in it, so I am very sad to see it get big-picked into nothing. But thanks to the sickeningly thorough and precise nature of archaeology, I know that every single detail of its existence is neatly organized in the Alalakh database if I ever want to visit it. And who knows what we’ll find next? I’m sure that just a few centimeters under my beloved kitchen there is a whole new context just waiting for some caring archaeologist to tear it apart!!
Sadly though, I leave in 4 days… so it won’t be me. Probably Luca.