Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"I Don't Trust the Alarm Clock"

That's what Andrea said last night...she was sleep-talking, but even in her sleepy state she was not wrong about the alarm clock. In fact, nothing is quite as invigorating as waking up to your wife saying, "Cameron, it's 4:30..." and realizing that you are supposed to be up in the parking lot and ready to head up the mountain by 4:40...and it's the second to last day of the dig and it's laundry day so all of your laundry needs to be dropped off at the womens' quarters which is slightly out of the way...

That was our early morning wake up call, but we made it to the parking lot before the bus arrived, and were up on the hill "dark and early" just like the 17 days of digging prior to this one.

My day started in the Southwest corner of square ZZ99 looking for the opening of the drain that we had found in ZZ0, and which I worked on yesterday. I poked around for a while looking for drainage channel, found some rocks, plaster on the walls, more rocks and some dirt. Then, upon close inspection, realized that I was a few centimeters too close to the wall and began to poke around further. However, there was a rock sitting adjacent to the wall that was covered in plaster...and the plaster was attached to the wall. With permission I carefully removed the stone in order to look for the opening - no luck. Then I decided, since I was so close to the other side yesterday, that I would try and poke a piece of rebar through just one more time. I fiddled around with the rebar and began hitting the other side. I heard someone say from the other side of the wall "Look at the plaster - Cameron keep doing that." And then the rebar passed through the other side...

FINALLY! (by Candid Cameron)
You can see, below and to the right, where I was initially looking for the channel and drainage hole. The hole had been completely covered which further suggests that the room in ZZ99 had been used for something other than it's initial purpose somewhere during the history of the city. After Dr. Schuler documented the plastered over hole he asked me to expose the drain the rest of the way...I removed the plaster from the wall, loosened the stones that had been placed to block the hole and reinforce the plaster and...voila!

All the Way Through! (by Candid Cameron)

Yes. (by Candid Cameron)

Having finally completed my drain I moved on to helping the rest of the crew in ZZ99 to uncover the stairs that they had found, and try to (hopefully) find the floor.

Again, this was a mission accomplished - and what fantastic results!

Our first find of the day came while Anna was using the turreah to move some loose dirt. Suddenly she yelled "I found a hole." We all came over to look and sure enough there was a hole large enough for a turreah handle to fit in. Dr. Schuler came over and measured the hole with a tape measure and initially thought it was approximately 3.5 meters deep, and we thought we had found a cistern - which made sense considering the drain that I had just uncovered. As we continued to clear away stones, however, things got strange as we discovered that the hole had a square corner...

A Square Hole? (by Candid Cameron)

Then Arny mentioned that some of the stones seemed to have different "textures." He grabbed a brush and began to sweep, and we found...

Different Colored Tiles!
A tiled floor! The hole appears to be a cave of some kind (there is a definite draft that can be felt when you put your hand or face close to the opening) that may have collapsed during the earthquake or at some point in the last 1400 years.

Rachel and Anna have been working off and on in this square since the first day nearly four weeks ago, and finally they have a floor to show for it - and what a floor it is.

Anna's Floor...Finally!
Anna was so excited to find the floor that she kissed it...

Darryl, however, was a fan of the hole...
Darryl, or an Ostrich? (by Candid Cameron)


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