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.