2015 TRENCH PC 49 (27, 28, and 34)
Field Supervisor: Christina McSherry
Field Supervisor Christina McSherry
This year on the north-western portion of the site we have decided to reopen several trenches excavated in previous seasons. In order to ease our record keeping while excavating we have renamed the combined trenches as PC 49, but this trench is comprised of PC 27 and PC 28, both excavated last year, along with PC 34, excavated in 2009.
View of Trench PC 40 during Week 2 of 2015
There are several main goals this season in these three trenches. Opening trenches here allows us an opportunity to see four phases of architecture in the same area. This is a rather unique opportunity since we usually excavate only one or two trenches at a time. The more open plan allows further analysis of how the phases are related and a clearer picture of which walls belong to each phase. In addition, we are anticipating being able to excavate deep enough in each of these trenches to clearly see the Phase I architecture. The current hypothesis about the site is that the Phase I structure was a monumental temple. However, with so many of the large building stones being reused in later walls, there is still some mystery about the size of the building. We believe this area may hold the key to understanding the architecture of this phase. In PC 27, we already clearly have the Phase I architecture but we are looking at how these walls connect with ones we have and may find this season in PC 34. The plan for excavation this season is first to bring PC 28 down to the same level as PC 27 and then to follow with 34. At this point in the season, we have almost finished bringing PC 28 down to the correct level and we may have a portion of a wall from Phase I. We are now concentrating our efforts on PC 34.
When PC 34 was excavated in 2009, the team found several large storage jars called pithoi. The rim of one of these vessels as well as the bottom half of another were left in situ (in place) at the end of the season. When we reopened the trench this year, one of our first priorities was to remove these vessels so we could excavate the area underneath. In addition to the two in PC 34 we found another in the neighboring PC 28, which was now connected to 34. At the end of last week and during the beginning of this week, we completed the monumental task of removing these vessels. It took two wheelbarrows full as well as 10 buckets to get all of the fragments excavated off the hill and to conservation. These vessels often held food and we could visibly see seeds in two of the pithoi which we collected and those are now awaiting analysis. In the same area as the pithoi, there was also quite a bit of roofing tile, including the most complete smoke hole found on the site so far.
Series of photos by Christina McSherry documenting removal of pithoi:
Field Assistant Domenic Zirilli removes sections of pithos
This year has been quite hot but the students are managing admirably. While they may get rather silly in the heat, they listen to music and dance their way through it and continue to work hard. They have gotten quite a bit done so far and removing all the pithoi in one day was a monumental task, but they took that task on with great enthusiasm. I look forward to seeing what else comes out of these trenches. Great job so far PC 49!
Smokehole tile fragments found in PC 49
This season was a very exciting one in PC 49. Despite the heat, the team worked very hard to excavate as much as possible in a very short period of time. In PC 28 we continued to expose the sandstone that was under the rubble which we removed at the beginning of the season. Much of this sandstone turned out to be bedrock, though there were a few worked blocks placed on top. These blocks are not completely square or worked, as the Phase I blocks are, but their stratigraphic position indicates they are associated with that phase. One current hypothesis is that these blocks were placed below the large Phase I blocks to make the bedrock even for the wall. The large blocks were then robbed out at a later time. Small blocks can be seen under the Phase I walls in some locations, including PC 27. In addition to exposing the bedrock we have spent more time defining the Phase I walls in PC 27 in order to understand their relationship. While, at first glance, it appears that we have 2 Phase I walls right next to each other, we are now able to tell that the southern wall was originally on top of the northern one and was later pushed off.
Trench PC 49, Week 5: PC 28 in left foreground, PC 27 behind it, PC 34 at right
This season, we also reopened PC 12. No excavation occurred in this trench, but we wanted to take another look at the architecture, specifically as it related to the architecture in PC 49 as well as that which was being found in PC 48. The most important question we were able to answer is whether the supposed column pad in PC 12 was in situ and was where it would have been during Phase I.
The majority of the effort this season was on excavating as much as possible in PC 34. After demo in the pithoi at the beginning of the season, we were able to move quickly. Based on metal finds, we think we have an area that was at one time the interior of the temple, though all architecture was robbed out in later phases. In addition to these spectacular finds we were able to determine a chronology for all of the architecture in the area. We have two Phase IV walls as well as large Phase II and Phase III walls. We were also able to identify the occupation level of the Phase II structure; it is very unusual on the site to be able to identify it so clearly. By the end of the season we had almost reached the level where PC 34 was fully in phase with PC 27 and PC 28. We have identified some areas of bedrock as well as areas that may lead to fissures in the bedrock.
PC 49 Trench Team: Cari Lamba, Federico Ruggiero, Andrea Lee,
Christina McSherry, Anders Voss, and Sara Hiepler
Overall it was a very successful season in PC 49 and thanks to Fed, Sarah, Dom, Anders, Andrea, and Cari for all if their hard work this season. Y'all did very well, even if you did go a little crazy with the heat! Also thanks to Erin and Daphne who worked hard in PC 49 for a few days!
Cherishing their small zone of shade in Trench PC 49
PC 49 view from the east during Week 6
Christina McSherry and Domenic Zirilli shoot in points for finds
Last work day in Trench PC 49
Sweeping Trench PC 49 for final photos
On the last day before backfill, Anders Voss
for Christina McSherry's scarp drawings