Week two of the 2008 excavations at Omrit saw the completion of work in two areas, and the move across the valley to the north to open up two new squares. We believe that these will turn up evidence of structures that lined the road north of the temple that ran between the Hula Valley and Damascus.
The completion of Amy Fisher’s square, yielded a massive foundation for the colonnade leading from the valley to the temple area. We also tore down balks from excavations in the area in 1999 and 2000, and opened up the end of the colonnaded way. It gives the appearance of a stoa with shops or offices leading up to the temple. The colonnade architecture was ionic in order. The team set up one of the capitals and found it to be beautifully preserved on one side. In fact, we used the image of an ionic column as the design for this year’s t-shirt.
In Willis Jensen’s square, the team uncovered a clear view of the bedding for the road that ran along the colonnaded way. Below the road bed, the team isolated the remains of several terra cotta pipe lines that served as either drainage or water supply for the temple complex (see attached).
Some pipelines are visible in the valley north of the colonnaded way, and we are now moving Amy’s group to a square just off of the valley where we might pick up the continuation of the road bed and the pipelines. This square might also provide insight on the bridge construction that must have joined the colonnaded way with the road to the north.
Meanwhile, Nannette Goldman has started a square across the valley, and is starting to pick up some traces of architecture that might have lined the road. Further to the east, Willis Jensen’s group is starting work on what appears to be an industrial complex of some sort, featuring a fairly complex system of holding tanks or vats.
All of the volunteers have been working very hard, and this has allowed us to investigate these additional areas. Their pictures attached show the satisfaction of completing work in a square.
We are also anticipating interesting results from a pedestrian survey that Field Supervisor Greg Stoehr is planning to run with some of the volunteers during the afternoons this coming week. This process involves a careful examination of a 30 meter swath of the site running east from the altar in front of the temple. The volunteers make note of any features or architectural remains observed while they are walking, and these are recorded for later analysis. This survey will be useful in determining the extent of the site, and planning future areas of excavation.