Aspen Thompson: The Archaeological Process in the Southern Levant

Aspen Thompson: Archaeology of the So Levant Final Paper
King University

Aspen Thompson

May 29, 2021

Archeology Final Paper

Picture by CROW CANYON ARCHEOLOGICAL CENTER

PART 1: THE ARCHEOLOGICAL PROCESS

The Archeological Process has many steps that best describe how an archeologist and other experts do their work while on site. While studying the different steps, it is interesting to see how detailed oriented they must be to excavate grounds and find little pieces of historical evidence. The steps of the archeological process include finding a site, surveying, and examining the ground, define activity zones and a certain area excavated, documentation, and completed in an organized report.

When it comes to the location of an archeological site, there are many details to consider such as the safety of the site, close to an access to drinking water, fertility of land, near some roads, and other resources. The site that is chosen may be seen from the surface or could be below the ground. As soon as the archaeological site is decided then construction to the grounds would begin. At most sites though, a “pedestrian surface survey” is conducted before getting started as this helps them document all the items they find above the surface. By doing this survey beforehand, it gives a better idea of what items may be found during the excavation.

The context of the site such as the duration, function, and the environment must also be examined. The site then goes through two different processes which are the ‘depositional’ process and the ‘post depositional’ process. The depositional process shows what has happened to the site throughout history when it was being used. The post depositional process is the time where the site was no longer in use by humans, and this also includes natural circumstances.

During the excavations it helps to put together activity zones which will then help the archeologist understand what happened in that exact spot they may find remains. One way they are able to understand what activity took place is by excavating in small trenches which helps them see more of the layers of the settlement. Excavations are often put together by squares on a grid to help show the area they are specifically working on.

As the excavation is taking place, everything that is found is documented. These documents no only share about the finds but also include pictures, sometimes drawings, as well as the elevation that day. By the end of the excavation a report will be put together of detailed information of all the finds, everything about the site, and anything else. After the report is complete it is then published and all the finds are turned into the “Israel Antiquities Authority.”

The Archeological Process is then complete until the next one of course.

Picture by BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY SOCIETY

PART 2: MAIN ISSUES FROM THE CHALCOLITHIC PERIOD IN ISRAEL

We learned about numerous periods in Israel while studying Archeology such as the Chalcolithic Period, Early Bronze, Intermediate Bronze Ages, Middle Bronze, and Late Bronze. All these periods have great detailed information of what was discovered in the location of their sites but also shares some issues they ran into as well. The Chalcolithic Period is the one that sticks out the most as it talks about the beauty of the art objects found.

The Ghassulian culture was the main culture in the Chalcolithic Period and the main site that was studied was called Teleilat Ghassul. Unlike the Early Bronze Age where many public buildings were found, the architecture found in this period were mainly houses called “broad houses” as well as some burrows in the Beersheba region. Beautiful pottery and jars used for storage was mainly found in these locations and is grouped together as the “Ghassulain material culture.”

Now the Chalcolithic Period, like the other periods in Israel did have the potential of having objects and settlement destroyed by natural disasters or migration of people throughout the years. If this happened, then the layers of the settlement may not have the newer items on top and the older ones on the bottom. This could cause the evidence of what they have found to be a little inaccurate. On example of this is when the settlement in the Early Bronze Age seemed to match more of the Chalcolithic Period.

As each period varies in what they find and shows even more evidence of how civilization once use to live, it is interesting to think that they can get an idea of what it looked like just from pieces dug up from the ground. Though mentioned before that there can be disasters or events that mess up the settlement and may not give an accurate reading of what an archeologist may find, it’s still a start and the best evidence we have in knowing history.

Picture by PEDIAA

PART 3: SOURCES AVAILABLE TO RECONSTRUCTING HISTORY

Archeological finds and the Hebrew Bible are two great sources in helping reconstruct history. Pottery, stone tools, and other artifacts that have been found in Israel also help us understand and reconstruct history. Pottery was the item most found in Israel and depending on the context of the item, it can help determine what period it might have come from using “functional typology.” Flint tools and mortars can help give an indication of what technology or architecture found in that period. If any art objects are found, this can give us an understanding of what they believed or felt then when it was being created. When bronze or iron is found it correlates to weapons or even coins which helps date the item. All these objects can help date an item but C14 is the most common way used when they find things that was once living. It is like science, history, and even technology work together in a way to find the date of an object.

 

REFERENCES

Picture #1

https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/daily-life-and-practice/journey-to-the-copper-age-a-video-lecture-by-thomas-evan-levy/

Picture #2

https://www.crowcanyon.org/index.php/stratigraphicdating

Picture #3

https://pediaa.com/difference-between-absolute-and-relative-dating/

Also used power points, videos, and documents that we learned from in this class.