Section Drawing 101

Liz Cannon writes:

With the third week of Session Two drawing to a close, I’m beginning to sense a sudden time crunch. I think we’re realizing that we have only one more week to accomplish the dig’s objectives, and that is making everyone a bit more irritable. Add onto that sleep deprivation, weeks of manual labor, and a growing aversion to kibbutz cuisine, and you’ve got yourself a nice combination for emotional explosions.

Imagine my delight when I found out I would be taking a break from the tension of square excavation to draw sections for Area H. Zack and I drew the western bulk, or what we lovingly call the apocalyptic section. It’s basically layer upon layer of destruction material with a few added pieces of mud brick, pottery, and rocks squeezed in somehow. Section drawing is relatively easy although time consuming. Area H had a crash course in measuring and drawing to scale during Eran’s techniques course, and after practicing our artistic skills on a wall next to the kibbutz basketball court, we were considered prepared to try our hand at interpreting the bulks of Area H in our own archaeological and artistic way.

Equipped with measuring tape and a trowel, I set to work clearing off unnecessary dirt around rocks, pottery, and other items of interest in the bulk in order to take coordinates of them. Zack was the grand artist of the day. Either we were too tired to argue or we happened to work together well, because the entire experience went quite smoothly. We found that if we worked from right to left, taking measurements of four points of each object, we could work more effectively and efficiently. Our most important features, however, were the levels of floor that could be seen in long stretches of dark mud brick material and white and black lines that hugged the main layers of mud brick. One can see the manner in which the floors are layered successively, and hopefully we can make a case that we have now broken through to H-11.

The entire process took the majority of the workday as I scraped off the bulk, yelled out coordinates, and waited until Zack drew the object. Luckily, Johnny and Casey were working in the same square, drawing the eastern bulk. Johnny was the measurer of the duo, and given the amount of downtime we had as Casey and Zack drew their pictures, we had plenty of time to find other uses for the measuring tape. Let your imagination take you back to Middle School, as Johnny and I fought with light sabers, played an assortment of sports from baseball and golf to skiing and cricket, filed our nails, shaved beards, used a metal detector, conducted symphonies, and found a variety of other rather bawdy uses for the measuring tape.

Besides our foray into a different form of archaeological fieldwork, we’ve set to work knocking down a few of the walls that are now either floating or are ready to be shortened. Thankfully, we have some new blood in our midst with the arrival of seven students from Tel Aviv University. We’re still feeling the growing pains during bucket line — they still have to get used to swinging a bucket with one hand to maintain a consistent momentum — but it is better to have more people in the Area to distribute the work.

As far as finds go, Garrett struck gold when he found a full vessel, a half-vessel, and a pair of turquoise-colored earrings in F8 in the bulk underneath a now floating wall on Thursday. It’s high time we start finding more artifacts in Area H. Eran no longer gives me a smile when I find yet another stopper. After all, we have cuneiform archives that we have yet to find. With one more week to excavate and clean, we have a lot of work cut out for all of us.

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