Expanding the Excavations
Excavations resumed at Tell Khaiber on January 12. The team is much larger team this year: eleven archaeologists and other specialists from the UK are working with four Iraqi colleagues from the State Board for Antiquities and Heritage. Later on we will be joined by a conservator and an archaeobotanical specialist. We will also be in the field for twice as long as last year – almost three months!
At Tell Khaiber. we have started to expand our investigation of the major public building and to probe a second building a short distance away. Starting in January rather than March has a distinct advantage: the mud-brick walls are showing up very clearly due to increased moisture in the soil. Consequently we are spending the first three weeks clearing the mound surface to reveal as much of the plan as possible before the weather gets hotter and everything dries out. After this we will excavate specific rooms in more detail. One priority this year is systematic sampling of the rooms to retrieve a full range of environmental samples.
Our capacity to make a visual record of the excavations has been enhanced by the use of a quadracopter. This is capable of taking one photograph every two seconds as it hovers above the excavations at a height of up to 30m, making it ideal for photographing the large areas we are now working in.
So that everyone can keep up to date with our progress, we now also post frequent updates on Facebook. Local visitors and media have already dropped in, including a great nephew of Sir Leonard Woolley. We too have been making visits – to Larsa and Eridu so far, with invitations to the marshes and the Holy Shrines at Kerbala and Najaf to look forward to.