Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tel Michal - Take Two

I am posting a bit late (like the next day late), but it has been a busy weekend. Ian was visiting, he was an assistant area supervisor in area Q at Megidddo and had a few days before he was due back in the UK. I managed to rope him in to coming with me to Tel Michal as I need to do a project for University and needed his help.

We started out going to visit Tel Hefer. I had read about this Tel, which is on the edge of Nahal Alexander and wanted to see what was there. Nothing, it seems. We found some remnants of the digs that had taken place in the past, all overgrown and hard to spot. So we tired of battling the thorns and weeds and headed to Tel Michal.

I have visited Tel Michal before on my Saturday trips, but this time it was different. I need to do a big project for my current MA course in Managing Archaeological Projects and chose Tel Michal because it is near my office and certainly in danger of being lost. The project calls for designing, scheduling and costing an archaeological salvage operation from the beginning to the end (including archiving and publication). Tel Michal is on the coast directly opposite the Herziliya Marina and Arena mall. The Tel has seen occupation from the middle bronze through the Persian period to the Romans and was a major port until Appolonia (a few kilometers up the coast) took over. It happens to be maybe 300 meters from my office.

I was under the mistaken idea that I could write about the whole site, but Ian quickly zeroed in on a smaller section that would be more realistic to attempt. There is a large Roman fort like structure on the high mound that has been extensively excavated and probably restored, so I needed to find somewhere that looks like it has not been dug, but should be. The pictures below should give some idea of what we found.
This is a picture from the Tel looking northward along the coast (so probably NW). You can see the Mall and marina and all the construction. This is prime real-estate and so only a matter of time before economic pressures force this site to be developed.
Looking southward towards Tel Aviv in the distance. This picture, taken from the high mound, shows the area I think I will investigate - where you see the green fence just to the left of the ridge. On closer examination (see pictures below) there are signs of occupation here.
This is the view looking out from the investigation area towards the sea. See the tennis courts there to the left. We found a lot of tennis balls laying around.
The ridge down to the road shows a lot of erosion and signs of some serious architecture. From the little bit of info I have on the previous digs (I will get more from the library) this section was not dug.
Below that green fence you can see that there was what looks to be a layer of occupation - above the uniform sand section. There could also possibly be a floor here.
Here is a close up of the same area. You can see the pottery embedded in the sand. So this looks promising.

We took some sherds of pottery home to try identify when they were from. It just so happened that yesterday there was a birthday party for one of the little nephews at our house and in the balegan my mother-in-law turfed them out. So I will have to go back from more. Luckily the Tel is close by.

I am sure you will hear more about this project in the coming weeks. A million thanks to Ian who really helped me think this out. It's great to have a "real archaeologist" around.

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