On the last day of the excavation, we finally got a complete look at what we are calling the Chamber of the Pools. One pool is still hidden (except for its southern face) in the north baulk. But the fountain pool could now be seen in its full beauty.
In front of the pool is a mosaic floor that attests to the beauty of the chamber and beckons us to excavate further to the north in a future season.
The small pool fed by a fountain and a “question-mark” channel have created quite a discussion on the dig at Hippos. Fountains are rarely discovered and this one seems to serve a decorative pool. In our last days, we hope to reveal part of the decorative floor on which the pool sits,
We have previously written about what looked like a fountain in the northern part of our excavation area. With today’s work, we can now say that the fountain is part of the water features of a small pool (1.67×1.67m). It is one of now two plastered pools in this part of the dig and may suggest that we have come upon a private bathing facility. We have not reached the bottom of the pool, yet. But some of the team have their water toys at the ready.
Sometimes on a dig we find items of unexpected beauty. Other times, we find unexpected items. Here, Darryl unearths a buried commercial food container (thanks, IDF).
As the team prepares for the final week of the excavation, we have been cleaning and documenting some of our small finds. These are the finds that excite us:
Byzantine M Coin
Cross and Palm decorative tile
And what will we discover this week?
During the excavation season, we frequently have visitors to our site from around the world. This Friday, when several of us hiked up for a photography and drawing session, we looking up to see some unusual visitors — three powered paragliders. Had my camera been more accessible, I would have gotten an even better shot as they suddenly appeared over the edge of the cliff.
Earlier this season, we published a photo of a plastered basin in the north colonnaded building. In the northeast corner of this room is another water feature, plastered and half-round fed by a water pipe. Its function is a mystery, in part because we have not yet reached the bottom of the feature.
Christine discovered the feature and below she is seen inspecting and clearing the water pipe. Ideas anyone?
I am exceptionally proud of and thankful for the volunteers that are part of the Northeast Church Project at Hippos of the Decapolis. Without them, the project could not have accomplished what it has over the last nine years. Some are truly amazing . . . or has the director been in the sun too long?
As the team today swept the final dirt from the eastern peristyle court, two years of work are coming to fruition. Romans homes typically had a peristyle courtyard and in the late Roman period, particularly in north Africa, such courtyards had only three porticos, as is the case with the one you see here. Various rooms of the home give access to the courtyard from the east and from the south. We are just starting to reveal them.
And in the doorway of the central room to the east of the courtyard, Ted recovered an intact oil lap. The lamp may help us date the destruction of this area by earthquake. Congrats, Ted!
The Concordia Team had to dig down some 3.5m to reach the opus sectile floor of the colonnaded building. The room is a fine discovery. But the height of the baulk and the use of the area to the north as a road could endanger team members. So today, we used a backhoe to lower the level of the road by about a meter and to create a lower “shelf” next to the square. Some tumble resulted, but the site will be safer as a result.
In the small finds department, Jim retrieved a large bowl trapped when two stones fell together. We think we have most of the parts to assemble the find.
At the conclusion of the first two weeks of the season, we say “farewell” to half of our team returning to Canada and the USA. We have accomplished quite a bit in our short time together. Here is the whole team at the end of today’s work:
We also had several small finds. Stefanie wields the dagger she found near the paved plaza:
And, simply because eight are not enough, Dr. Cambers uncovers Cistern I as the day drew to a close (4.5 m deep).