Second Visit to Safut

21 03 2011

I spent a few hours at Safut the other day. I gave Angela (and the kids) a tour of the site, taking pictures of the different areas and walking all over the tell. I was wanting to compare the squares and architecture now with when they were excavated, in preparation for a GPS survey of architectural features. While walking over the whole site I was able to get a better sense of the relationship between the walls and architectural features in the different areas.

This visit also gave me a better idea about the size of the site. The site is cut by the highway to its southwest and by an apartment complex in the modern town of Safut to its north, likely taking off 1/4 of the total size. This trip was the first time I had closely examined the cut to the north and I didn’t see any architectural features. Talking to one of the locals he admitted to me that some people have found “vases” as he called them, but they would most likely be unwillingly to talk to me. This was the first time that groups of people have appeared on and around the site. There were a bunch of shabab on the site and a few adults approached as well while we were walking around the perimeter. We shared coffee and dates, and had a nice conversation with one man, while Jack played with his children.

I hope to go back another time or two in the following days and drive all around the site to get a better idea of its relationship with the surrounding terrain. I also hope to go through the modern village of Safut and find the Roman/Byzantine remains mentioned by deVaux and others.

All that's left of three late Iron Age rooms

Road/alley between late Iron Age buildings on the acropolis

The northern parallel to area A

These two squares were excavated and never drawn

Large perimeter wall and rooms from the late Iron Age

A Cut in the Northern Site of the Tell


Safut and other Sites

15 03 2011

This past weekend we stopped by Safut. The kids both fell asleep in the car so I just got out to say hello to my site. It was quite green and, other than a few more fallen stones, in a similar condition to last summer. Tomorrow or the day after I’m taking my camera and doing a more complete visit. I plan on taking some pictures of squares to see how much damage has been done since they were last excavated and I plan on walking and driving all around the site (seeing and experiencing it from every angle).

Over the weekend I took Angela and the kids to Tall al-Umayri and Tall Jalul with a stop in Madaba for lunch. There were sheep/goats at both Umayri and Jalul so Jack was very happy. He would say “sheep” and then “sheep dog” and then “pig”, unfortunately there were no pigs, especially not in Jordan. If you were wondering his favorite movie before leaving was Babe. In Madaba we saw the owner of the hotel we stay at for the dig, Charl Twal. We had a nice talk and some cappuccino. Jack and his son Amir (who is 3) tried to play a little and they each had chocolate milk. Jalul was also a bit green and was none the worse for wear (other than on the acropolis in the ottoman period graveyard where looters had dug a hole looking for gold). We saw some shabob from the dig and they invited us over for tea. It was a beautiful day, the sun was out and the temperature was mid-60’s.  It was nice to share some of my Jordan experiences and friends with my family.

Day 6 at ACOR

9 03 2011

We have finally started settling in to our life here at ACOR.  Jack has slept through the night twice in a row, Angela is finishing cleaning the apartment and putting everything away, and I am on my second day of writing.  We now have a cell phone and our rental car is due in today.  We are renting a car for two months, one month now and another month in July when I do my survey work at Safut.  We are renting a car for this month because I will (hopefully) be running around to the various locations where Safut material is held.  There is material in the DAJ warehouse, the Amman Citadel Museum, and the Salt Archaeological Museum.  I meet with the DAJ person in charge of the museums and warehouses on Sunday.  So hopefully I will have access to the material soon after.  Barbara Porter, director of ACOR, suggested we get permission to bring the Safut material to ACOR for my time in Jordan.  Hopefully this will happen, as it would save me a lot of time.

Here are a few pics from around ACOR:

on the roof at ACOR

Day One at ACOR

4 03 2011

After a long night with the children we awoke at 130PM.  Jack woke up in the middle of the night and after screaming for Grandma’s house and throwing up on Angela’s face I finally got him back to sleep around 3AM. Angela has had the flu, both the kids are sick, and I’m getting over a cold.  So, suffice to say, we didn’t get much done today.  Jack and I explored the building and its environs (including a Roman farmstead, Khirbet Salameh, that was excavated when the building was constructed), I inquired about rental cars and attempted to get the GPS working on my iphone (partially successful, google maps now recognizes I am in Amman and not Chicago, but still no satellites).

Tomorrow we hope to get some groceries and unpack, and I will finish a letter to the Department of Antiquities formally requesting permission to survey at Safut and access the DAJ warehouse (I have already been assured access, the letter is required).  Below are a few pics around ACOR (American Center of Oriental Research).

The Chesnuts Have Landed

3 03 2011

We landed safely in Amman this afternoon around 3 and got into ACOR around 5. We are all in one piece, sick, and exhausted. Unfortunately we all came down with colds a couple of days before leaving. It seems as if everyone is doing better except for Angela who was running a fever on the flight from JFK to Amman.

So, after a 5 hour drive to the airport in Detroit, a 1.5 hour flight to JFK, an 11 hour flight to Amman, what felt like hours waiting in immigration lines with crying children, and a 45 minute drive to ACOR (it was rush hour), we are finally in our apartment.

In the coming days I’ll update with some pictures of the center and our place, as we recuperate and get settled in.

Jordan Update

1 03 2011

We leave tomorrow for Amman and the beginning of my fellowship. The end of packing is near and I can’t wait to get there. If only so the experience of traveling with two young children and way too many bags will be over.

Apologies for not posting more regularly this last month. We moved, I had my appendix taken out, I made a trip down to Andrews to finish up digitizing my research material, I got sick, and we visited friends and family before taking off (including my parents, who made the 12 hour trip out to see their granddaughter for the first time). As soon as we are settled at ACOR I will be posting much more regularly as interesting things will be happening with the dissertation.