Monday, July 27, 2009

My Own Worst Critic

My family has a tradition of watching Jeopardy during dinner. There is a long standing joke between my dad and I concerning my mom's tendency to say "I was going to say that" after the correct answer had been revealed. Suffice it to say that I had an "I was going to say that" moment today.

We started work clearing the stairs and floor that we initially uncovered yesterday.

We Have Stairs. (by Candid Cameron)
The top step that you see in this picture is actually a stylobate, or a straight row of stones on which columns would generally be placed. So, as you can see, we have two real steps and then the floor - which is at a slight slant (more on why it's slanted later...)

Old Stairs, New Stairs (by Candid Cameron)
In this picture you can see the stairs and our "bucket-lifting platform" - the stack of six rocks on the left-hand side of the frame - resting on the stylobate.

After we cleared much of what needed to be cleared from this area we moved to the west in our square. There was a clear delineation between the eastern part of this area and the western part made by a row of limestone rocks. As we cleared the dirt we again found floor, but of a different kind. It seemed to almost be one piece of stone, and for a time we thought we had something really interesting. As we dug further and further, however, we realized that there are a few seams in the stone. Most of these seams have been filled with plaster, and in fact we found A LOT of plaster today. Moving more and more toward the western wall of the square there was an edge on the stone. I dug down further and found more plaster. As I was digging in a small crevasse that was perhaps 20 centimeters, just less than one foot, wide I realized that it was beginning to look like a drain and gutter. This is where I made my big mistake...I didn't say anything! However, I knew Dr. Schuler would be around in just a few moments to take end of the day photos.

We moved on to different work removing all of the stones from our "bucket filling station." Dr. Schuler came by to take photos, and as we were preparing the next rock I pointed out that I had found plaster on the floor in this area. His immediate response was, "Yeah, it's a drain." And I thought to myself..."Why didn't you say something!? You were right!" Now, I will leave it to you, dear reader, to decide whether or not to believe me, but I thought it and I was right...there may be a future for me in this business yet.

That pretty much wraps up the day for me. In other news, work on the dig went for nearly 30 hours between yesterday and this morning. Two surveyors came in to take an electronic scan of the site which will be used to construct a digital record of what has been uncovered at the North-East Church. Not only did they work through the heat of the day (yesterday afternoon), they pulled an all-nighter last night in order to get the scanning finished before they leave tomorrow (there are rumors floating around about Dr. Schuler sleeping in a wheel-barrow, and I am hoping for pictures soon). I will be very interested to see the results of their work.

Because of this work, the mosaic floors in the church have been uncovered. They are heavily damaged, but still impressive. Especially this one from the skeuophylakion (yes, I looked that up), the room where the clergy would prepare - if I remember correctly.

Mosaic Floor (by Candid Cameron)


bsandtana said...

Even damaged that moasic floor looks beautiful!

Beth said...

It is amazing to me that this is still in as good a shape as it is after being buried for so many years. Must be unbelievable to uncover something like this or so many of hte other treasures you have all found.