Area J Picture Pavement

Rachel Navarro writes:

Now that the week is over, its a lot easier to look back and consider some of the great things that happened.  As mentioned in my previous post, I found previously unnoticed incisions on an already exposed slab last week.  Around two edges of the rock there are small “cup-marks” or indentations that are clearly man-made and intentional. Dr. Ussishkin told me I had earned my breakfast that day, which I later learned was actually a compliment.  It was my first semi-major archaeological discovery, and I was more than a little excited. It was most encouraging because we knew that the University of Chicago excavators had removed all of the pavement slabs that they had noticed in the 1920s.

Finally after taking a week and a half of digging and removing approximately (or maybe slightly exaggeratedly) 16 cubic meters of dirt, we finally have reached the pavement in our square.    It was one of the most gratifying things I have done to finally brush the dirt off the large slabs of limestone and basalt in our square. There weren’t any that were noticeably incised with drawings but there were a few that at least seemed to have intentional lines scratched into them.  On Sunday we will clean them off more and take a closer look.

Last night, Adi, our supervisor and expert on the picture pavement, gave a lecture to the entire expedition on the drawings found by Chicago and argued that the incisions were done by Egyptian artists because of the artistic style and subject matter.  The more I learn about Megiddo in the Early Bronze Age the more intrigued I am by the area.  Megiddo was a massive cultic center that would have drawn worshipers from a large area, including the huge area of the Jezreel Valley that was covered by Megiddo’s domestic area.  I would love to excavate that area and see just what these people were up to.  The Early Bronze 1 B temple was bigger than any monumental architecture in the Levant, including Egypt, which makes me wonder just what kind of role Megiddo played in the development of culture across the region.  Working in this area and working to answer some of these questions has been a blast this week, and I can’t wait to see what discoveries the coming week will bring.


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