TeHEP 1.13.11

This has been a most interesting week. Thomas has been leading the charge in trying to determine the full dimensions of the Bronze Age building right in the middle of the lower city that appears to be a temple, but has not yet been able to figure it out. So far there is only the bottom one or two courses of stone foundation left for any part of the building. But one thing seems to be sure, after the Middle Bronze Age destruction of the city, some 600 years later the Iron Age people were still able to find it. We plan on getting it straight, too.

David and Scott have been overseeing the work uncovering a Roman bath complex and have reached the nicely plastered floor of a room with the plaster continuing up the lower courses of its wall stones. Hal’s area is just full of walls and pottery from all different periods. Ken and his team continue to investigate and excavate dolmens in the nearby hills.

The original trench in the lower city now has 6 squares with Carroll, Carl (Carl #1 and Carl #2–you decide which is which!), Father Chris, Jennifer, and Dr. John. We also set Carroll’s husband Jeff loose to clear the inside face of the Early Bronze city wall. The trench is just a hub of activity.

On Wednesday, we started early L but also ended early Jand one of our good local friends and owner of a couple of the fields in which we dig, Abu Musa and his family, invited the whole team of 60 people to his house for lunch! To show my appreciation for his wonderful Jordanian hospitality, I went back for four more helpings!

Then last night a terrible wind came up and kept some of us awake, dumped over a few of our pottery trays, and kept the dust so stirred up that we actually thought it was too dangerous for people’s eyes and thus non-productive to go out to the site (and that was the right call!). FIELD TRIP!

We got in the bus and drove to Tall el-Umayri and viewed the Bronze Age defensive rampart system and the one large dolmen. Then we visited the archaeological museum on the ancient tell (the Citadel) of Amman. Finally, we stopped in the Department of Antiquities office at Zarqa and viewed some recently excavated Bronze Age storage jars and other vessels similar to those we are finding. Then to top off a great day we went to the huge Safeway store in Amman! No dig season at Tall el-Hammam is complete without a stop at the Safeway. I hung out at the nut bar, myself!

This is the last weekend for my wife, Gayle, and I. We will head for home early Sunday morning. It has been a wonderful season for both of us here at a great place, doing some really cool things, and hanging out with a fabulous bunch of people. We both also want to say thanks to you for standing with all of us here. Your prayers and support of the ongoing effort have been much appreciated. Now that we are returning home ourselves, we will be on your end praying and supporting those who continue to work here. Like you, we will also eagerly look for updates over the final two weeks of work here.

Tall el-Hammam is a very special place to do something meaningful for an important Cause. It is great being part of it–whether near or far.

Pastor Gary Byers