Hello Friends of Omrit,
The first week of the 2008 excavation at Omrit has progressed very nicely. We opened two squares near the entrance to the colonnaded way leading to the temple complex. Square supervisors Amy Fisher and Willis Jensen are working with a great group of volunteers and Omrit super-veteran Greg Stoehr is supervising the field. Our hope is to clarify the nature of the entryway, and the road leading to the temple. In addition, we want to determine if there was only one colonnade, or two. Once we have finished in these squares, we hope to move across the valley to the north in order to search for the roadway and any associated structures.
While we are not digging in the area of the temple this season, we did do some preservation work in the area west of the early shrine before the volunteers arrived. In March of this year, a visitor to the site found a fragmentary Aramaic inscription in this area. The inscription is now being analyzed and appears to date from the 4th century B.C.E. This would make it by far the earliest artifact we have cataloged. It’s relationship to other activity on the site requires further analysis. We will keep you posted as information becomes available on this interesting piece.
Our week ended with a bang, when another visitor to the site reported finding a Greek inscription in the valley north of where we are digging. On Saturday morning (5/24), our whole crew helped to remove this large stone and move it up the hillside, and secure it in the truck for transport to the storage shed. This is definitely the heaviest stone we have moved by hand at Omrit, and as you can see in the attached picture, we used ancient lifting technology to do so. We are grateful to Gavri from Kibbutz Kfar Szold who loaned us the 4 meter beam to make this move possible.