Sunday, August 31, 2014

A "rusty" discovery in the ancient ruins

Before they added more buildings to the huge and ugly Holyland Towers in Jerusalem the Israel Antiquities Authority had to do the legally required dig before construction could begin.

Here's me in hardhat, back in 2008,   about to go down  to one of the dozens of Canaanite shaft tombs we discovered.
The site turned out to be a Canaanite cemetery from 4,000 years ago.

Here in the back you see a worker pulling up buckets of earth which would then be poured into the sifter.
Look! Our excavation surveyor lady is handing a find to our Arab foreman!  What is it?!

It is metal, turned greenish and encrusted with the "rust and ruins" of the ages!
From the Middle Bronze Age, actually.
Our bone expert was kind enough to make a nice red display "table" by putting his arm under his T shirt.
Enlarge the photo a few times; can you guess what it is?

The ancients did not have buttons so they used garment pins to keep their cloak fastened, as illustrated in this drawing of a lady from Mari.
This reconstructed toggle pin at Jerusalem's Bible Lands Museum has cameos (i.e. good luck charms) hanging from it, with a Mesopotamian cylinder seal at the bottom.
It was a way to wear your important objects.
See more of our work at the Holyland dig here.
Visit City Daily Photo to see how bloggers are interpreting our Rust and Ruins theme day in their own countries.


Nathalie Beaumes said...

Oh dear, what a find. I can imagine how thrilled you all were. Four thousand years old... it's hard to imagine.

William Kendall said...

Pins like that? A detail I would not have known about. A terrific interpretation of the theme, Dina.

Cloudia said...

Hawaii has similar archaeological rules. There YOU are doing it!
A non-Jewish foreman? That's some apartheid ya got there, LOL!

Fascinating info about fasteners!

L'Chaim, Cuz

ALOHA from Honolulu
=^..^= . <3

paul said...

A most interesting and informative post for the theme. Rust and ruins lasting forever (well maybe 4000 years).

Jen Masssey said...

wow!! what an interesting job you have

Kay said...

Oh wow! This is so cool! Art would have loved to do this excavating with you.

Petrea Burchard said...

This is brilliant, especially because you got to be there!

Sara said...

4,000 years - amazing. I like the idea of little carved objets d'art dangling gracefully from a garment pin, but I'm trying to figure out what keeps the pin in place. Seems like it would slip right out of that garment. Guess I'll have to do a search to find out more.

Dina said...

Friends, thanks, I'm enjoying your reactions. :)

Cloudia, workers are supplied by a contractor. Usually when I do paid (not volunteer) archaeology fieldwork I am the only female among the 40 or so Arab men.

VP said...

There are many ways to be 'rusty', and I guess this is a quite noble and ancient one!

Adullamite said...

Fascinating work Dina, you must have enjoyed that.

Birdman said...

You take the prize today!
The most unique 'rust and in the RUINS' of all.

Karl Demetz said...

Interesting and informative, great post for this theme, Dina!

Nonnie USA said...

It's hard for me to imagine something that old. How wonderful to do this kind of work.

Spiderdama said...

So exciting! Wish I could do something like that one day.
Nice pic of you:-)

cieldequimper said...

Oh you must have been so happy Dina!

Nadege said...

How wonderful to find a 4,000 year old treasure!

yael said...

It must be so exiting to find it.When I WAS A CHILD WE USED TO go to Beit-SHEARIM near my home and look for old coins after the rain.I never found anything.

crystal said...

What a great job archaeology must be! I always imagine it as part Indiana Jones, part art history :)

José Mendonça said...

You have such a fascinating job, Dina!

Oakland Daily Photo said...

It must be thrilling to find such ancient artifacts on a dig.