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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Digging the House Floor

There have been lots of surprises as we excavate the floor of the house we un-covered yesterday – all pleasant.  Thus far there have been no nasty surprises. 

The house has a large formal hearth – very different from the hearths we found in the ‘smokehouse’.  It also has at least one REALLY elaborate cold trap tunnel to a sideroom.  We’ve only excavated one of the cold traps thus far.  It leads to a raised sideroom about a meter above the main room.  Yet to enter it one-stepped down into a box set into the back of the main room bench.  You actually stepped down about a foot and a half into the box.  You then stepped up onto a step that led to into the sideroom.  Effectively a step down and then 2 steps up to get into the room.  I found a trench about an inch thick all around the bottom of the ‘box’ where the inhabitants had set the upright planks.  There were also parallel postholes at the start and end of the box, and, again, up in the sideroom.  These obviously held up crosspieces for the tunnel roof.

We also found lots of pottery and even the intact bottom half of a pot.  It was set in a corner up against the backbench of the main room.  But the weirdest find has been an assortment of slate pendants.  These have all been found in the southeast corner of the main room and resemble a couple others that we found in the smokehouse.  They come in different shapes but all have a little stem for hanging.  I think they are mask bangles – adornments that acted sort of like feathers and hung from a hoop around a mask.  I have never seen slate mask bangles before and their occurrence in both the smokehouse and house hints that the same inhabitants used both structures.

Tomorrow we hope to finish with the house floor and get on to excavating another couple of structures at the site.  I’m hoping our luck continues and keeping my fingers crossed that my benches are benches and walls actually walls!  Sometimes on excavation our walls and benches turn out to be bogus.  Things we thought we saw when we first uncovered the floor, but then do not withstand inspection.  Such discoveries are what I call nasty surprises.  Patrick

Slate pendants found together - mask bangles?

Bottom of the pot

Excavated cold trap tunnel

small end blade with incised design

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