Thank you for a great project

With the last excavation season closed, I would like to express my thanks to everybody who has been involved in the project over the years.

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Ein el-Jarba Area G (Photo: it is complicated)

My thanks go first and foremost to the team who accompanied and build the project together with me from the first test season to the last day of excavation. All of the staff members are by now pursuing a career in archaeology and I am glad that they stayed faithful to Ein el-Jarba, despite their advances in recent years and allowed us to close the project together. I thank the square supervisors Marina Bekker Shamir, Hananel Livneh, Alla Rabinovich and Ayelet Segal for their meticulous documentation and instruction of volunteers. Their reports form the base for the final publication.

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A very, very special present from the team

Further, I want to express my gratitude to Dotan Traubmann for his extraordinary logistic skills in the field. Lastly my special thanks go to Hadas Misgav who made this project possible, helping us organizing essential logistic backup in Kibbutz Hazorea such as accommodation, meals and office space. The logistic staff provided the base for any archaeological work and without their skills, contacts and efforts, excavation seasons could not have taken place.

I would like to thank Kibbutz Hazorea, for their kind reception and support. While it is beyond the scope of this short note to name all of them, Menahem Neumark and Lea Peleg should be pointed out. Their support made a significant difference to each excavation season.

Further, I would like to express my gratitude to the many volunteers from abroad who have joined us for one or more seasons. I was impressed by their skill and motivation, and the team appreciated the high work ethic and input. I hope that we were able to grant further work experience and additional insights into the excavation strategy and documentation method of the project.

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Amitai and the figurine (Photo: K.S.)

I also thank the Israel Antiquities Authority for their continuous support, both in their official function and in the many visits of specialists in the Protohistory of Israel. Their experienced advice and input helped me in archaeological decisions and the interpretation of stratigraphy and finds.

I also want to express my gratitude to the Institute of Archaeology at Hebrew University, where this project is based. The academic and logistic backup is essential for projects of this scope and will remain particularly important for the following publication phase of Ein el-Jarba.

Further, I want to thank the Thyssen Foundation, which funded the excavation seasons of 2015 and 2016 and provides the financial means for the processing and publication of the finds. Without their financial support, the project could not have been completed.

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The Ein el-Jarba team of 2016

Lastly, I would like to thank Felix Höflmayer. His meticulous surveyor work, instructions in the use of the total station and drawings in the field were indispensable for the project. I am also grateful for his insightful advice regarding both archaeology and project management. With the end of the Ein el-Jarba project, we will embark on the next project together, as joined venture of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Hebrew University, exploring the Middle to Late Bronze Age transition at Tel Lachish.

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Last season 2016 – week 4

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Fighting with buckets (Photo: K.S.)

Our last week of excavation is over, volunteers are returning to their homes and prepare for their upcoming studies at their universities, and the staff is enjoying some well-deserved rest after four exciting weeks full of archaeological finds and features.

While the last days of any excavation are always extremely busy, this time we had to face the additional challenge of also having the last season of excavations at Ein el-Jarba. Everything had to be finished on time, as the excavation phase is now officially over and in the coming days work will start on the publication phase of the project.

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Standing stones? or just stones that stand? (Photo: K.S.)

Also archaeologically the last week was extremely exciting. We continued to expose Wadi Rabah architectural features and were able to retrieve several astonishing finds, both in situ and from sifting. In the last days, a feature resembling much later ‘Standing Stones’ was excavated and could be dated to the Wadi Rabah period based on the pottery found with it.

Also, a second fragmented Yarmukian figurine was found, together with numerous arrow-heads showing the site’s importance during the late Pottery Neolithic period of the late 7th and early 6th millennia BC. A well-preserved stone mortar was found in a pit that cut our Wadi Rabah architecture and belongs to the rare category of stone vessels from the site.

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The mortar at the bottom of the pit (Photo: K.S.)

During our last week we also welcomed many visitors, both from the Antiquities Authority, other universities, and from our local Kibbutz Hazorea. Public lectures for the interested communities were given in Yoqne’am and Hazorea as part of our public outreach program and on our open day, we gave several tours to local interested visitors.

We are extremely thankful to all those who contributed to and helped with managing the five seasons of excavations, are now looking forward to the upcoming work on publishing the archaeological material and will keep you updated on all future news regarding Ein el-Jarba.

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Last season 2016 – week 3

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Documentation at the site (Photo: K.S.)

The third week of the last season at Ein el-Jarba is over and we are about to embark on our last week, preparing final documentation of architectural features, drawing sections and use photogrammetry for a digital model of the site and its architectural features. In the preceding week we continued excavating walls and installations of the Wadi Rabah period, found clean pottery contexts of the period and further obsidian imports.
Furthermore, we were able to venture even more back in time, as we reached archaeological layers dateable to the Pottery Neolithic period. Although we still lack architectural features or installations securely dateable to this early period, we were able to find artefacts from the layers beneath the Wadi Rabah phase at the site. Finds included so far pottery, sickle-blades, and arrowheads, but last week we were able to retrieve a fragment of a Yarmukian, so-called coffee-bean eyed mother goddess figurine from the late 7th or early 6th millennium BC. This find is among the m

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Introduction to work with the Total Station (Photo: K.S.)

ost significant of the current season, as this type of figurine is so far mostly known from Sha’ar HaGolan with only a few examples excavated at other sites in the southern Levant.
We are very excited of the results of the current excavation season, are very much looking forward to our final week at the site before packing up and will you keep updated on more thrilling finds that we hope to uncover!

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Last season 2016 – week 2

In our second week of excavations we continued to excavate our four active squares, uncovering new architectural features of the Wadi Rabah period, and, most importantly, were happy to retrieve several remarkable finds.

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Photo: K.Streit

A particularly well preserved obsidian blade was found during sieving sediment samples from Wadi Rabah contexts associated with architecture in one of our squares and we hope that pXRF analysis will tell us something about the provenance of this exceptional find and reveal some of the Chalcolithic trade routes that were active during this enigmatic period.

Furthermore, a fragment of a so-called ‘horned figurine’ was found, an extremely rare find, not only in the southern Levant, but in the entire Near East. Little more than a dozen of these figurines have been found so far and most of them come from antiquities trade or are surface finds. The whole Ein el-Jarba team is exceptionally happy to add one of the few examples from stratified contexts to the corpus of known figurines.

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Photo: K. Streit

Last but not least, a cute little animal figurine was found during sieving Wadi Rabah sediment samples. Albeit only a few centimeters long, the small animal opens a window into Chalcolithic art and how people of that remote period used to depict the living world that surrounded them.

Now, as we embark on our third week of excavation at Ein el-Jarba, we hope for more exciting finds and features, are eager to reach all our excavation goals, and plan for a smooth second half of our season 2016.

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Last season 2016 – week 1

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Outside the excavation house (Photo: K. Streit)

This week we have started our last season at Ein el-Jarba. Volunteers from the US, Canada, Italy, Switzerland, Slovenia, Germany, Hungary, the UK and Israel have joined us this season. We continue our excavation work in Area G, clarifying stratigraphic questions, as well as completing assemblages from certain contexts. This includes exposing architectural remains in two squares. Additionally, two new squares have been opened,

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Work in progress in square 8C (Photo: K. Streit)

expanding the excavation area further south. Intensive sifting has yielded small finds such as fragments of obsidian, a delicate stone bowl, and beads. Arrowheads of the Pottery Neolithic type suggest either the presence of an earlier occupation level or possibly their continuation into the Early Chalcolithic period at some sites. In the coming week, work will focus on the new excavation squares and aim to reach the levels of the Early Chalcolithic.

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One month to go

 

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Becky and the Wadi Rabah floor in 2015

We are starting the last season in precisely one month. Planning and organizing is in its final stages and we are soon ready to go! Stay tuned for updates and further info, and contact me if you have any questions:

katharin.streit@mail.huji.ac.il

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Application Process 2016

The team is looking forward to the coming season!!

The team is looking forward to the coming season!!

Every applicant should have received a reply by now. Those accepted for the coming excavation season should have further received a detailed information sheet and updates via email. In case you did not hear back yet, please contact me immediately!

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