Tomorrow we begin the first day of excavation at Khirbet el-Maqatir, 10 miles north of Jerusalem in Israel's West Bank. Directed by Dr. Bryant Wood, this is the dig's 9th season, all sponsored by the Associates for Biblical Research.
Today, our dig staff went to the site and laid out a dozen squares in preparation for tomorrow. This year, our team will be working in three different areas:
- The 15th century BC fortress of Ai from Joshua's time
- The 2nd-1st century BC Hasmonean fortress
- The 4th-6th century AD Byzantine monastery.
We are all ready to go tomorrow, except… Dig Director Bryant Wood is still at home recuperating from a recent stem cell transplant procedure and chemotherapy. His health continues to improve and his spirits are good, but after starting and leading the dig for nine years, he is sitting this season out. So the rest of us have two major thoughts in mind - first, don't screw anything up for Dr. Wood and, second, let's find all the good stuff while he is gone! But I assure you he is still directing things from home and will be processing and publishing all the results from this season. I will just ask you to continue to pray for him and his speedy recovery.
Many of you have been praying both for Dr. Wood and our whole team for months. Well, D-Day (Dig Day) is now here and we will be reporting for duty tomorrow at 4:30 AM! Thanks for the support and we will keep you posted.
Pile of tesserae uncovered by the excavation team led by Scott Stripling in January 2011.
Floor and Walls of the Byzantine Monastery structure.
Surveryors and diggers work hard at preparing the site for excavation work. Top: L to R:Suzanne Lattimer, Titus Kennedy, Joel Kramer, Brian Peterson, Jim Luther.
L to R: Suzanne, Joel, Jim, and Brian.