THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
THE INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF
Antiquity and Christian Origins
L. Michael White, Director | 1 University Station C3450 | Austin, Texas 78712 | 512.232.1438 | 512.232.1439 fax












WORK AND SUMMARY




 




OSMAP Home > Preliminary Results > 2005-2006

Report of the 2005-2006 Field Season


The OSMAP team opened several strategic trenches (= ‘T’) in 2005.  Two of these involved the clean-up of debris from 1960s trenches (Tα and Tβ).  Others involved the removal of backfill to study the masonry techniques of ancient walls (T1-5, T7).  One trench (T6) was opened to explore the results of a recent survey which purportedly identified remains of an unexcavated structure directly to the north of IV.17.2.  Four results of this 2005 campaign are summarized below.  All ceramic and numismatic finds were analyzed in 2006.




    



2005 Trench Plan
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TRENCH ΒETA
First, Tβ (IV.17.1.9) revealed two earlier features of the building never reported at the time of its excavation.  The first of these is the remains of a threshold and doorway, both of which predate the fourth-century mosaic floor in room 10.  Adjacent to this earlier threshold was also discovered the foundation of a supporting pier, or wall spur, which originally projected c. 0.15 m into the room (room 9).  Although the current evidence for the separation of rooms 9 and 10 does replicate this same division of space, the removal of the pier, or wall spur, in the later phase suggests a slight remodeling of the earlier space.
Trench Beta
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TRENCH 2
Second, T2 (IV.17.1.6) revealed an area with ancient stratigraphy.  Underneath of layer of collapsed roof tiles, the remains of a cocciopesto surface were discovered.  Preliminary ceramic analysis suggests that the surface dates to fifth or sixth century C.E.  A previously unknown reticulate wall, not bonded to any visible structure, was also discovered here running east-west from the southeastern corner of room 10.  Its presence demonstrates conclusively that room 6 was, indeed, a part of the larger building complex at one point in its history. 

Trench 2
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TRENCH 4 & 7
Third, two trenches, T4 (IV.17.1.16) and T7 (IV.17.1.14), were excavated down to the foundations of the walls.  The results have provided new information about the construction of buildings on this site.  The poured concrete foundation of the wall in T4, extend to a depth of 0.023 m above sea level (ASL). The concrete foundation of the wall in T7, on the other hand, extend to a depth of 0.46 m ASL. These results suggest that the walls of room 10 and the walls of room 14 may have been constructed at two different times; and that the earliest structure on site may not have had the same shape as the one currently visible.  Such a conclusion calls into question the nature of this building or buildings in its earliest phase and raises the possibility that its function as synagogue was only a later social, architectural development.


Wall construction T4 & T7
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TRENCH 6
Finally, T6, located to the west of IV.17.1 and directly north of IV.17.2, revealed that these two buildings were not united by any shared wall or structure, as was purportedly shown in the survey plan created by the DAI in 2003-04.  The lowest levels of T6 did, however, show evidence of a compact surface, approximately 0.65 m ASL, which may be the remains of a much earlier road predating the Severan coastal highway (2.655 m ASL). The material on top of this surface, datable by the discovery of a coin, may suggest a significant ground raising project in this quarter during the middle of the second century C.E.
2nd century C.E. coin
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PARTICIPANTS

L. Michael White, Susan Gelb, Douglas Boin, responsabile di saggio (UT-Austin); Brent Nongbri, responsabile di saggio (Yale); Letizia Ceccherelli, ceramiche (Cambridge, UK); Daniela Williams, nummi (Roma Tre, Italia); Marzia Di Mento, ceramiche.  Field staff: Joshua Burns (Yale), Kali Grable, Amanda Krauss, Keith Kitchen, Jess Miner, Grant Nelsesteun, Sarah Scullen (UT-Austin).




AUTHORS

L. Michael White, Susan Gelb, and Douglas Boin (2005-2006).





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UPDATED 4.21.2010 | DRB