“Joanna! Look Here!”


“What, what??” half excited, half anxious, I wasn’t sure which to be. Had I made a mistake, or uncovered an amazing find?

“Look at this,” Rachel said (imagine a rich, Israeli accent coming from a small, energetic grandma), “It’s a complete vessel!” A complete vessel? That was an astounding discovery, having everything from the base, through the body, to the lip. Not all the pieces were there, but the vessel itself could now be fully defined, dated, and correlated to its age and culture. The rest could be inked in.

[Note the base of the vessel to the right, the lip to the left, and soft pink chalk lines marking the connection]

My asthma had gotten the better of me yesterday–combination of lots of dust, hot sun, and exertion. So, today I stayed in the lab, and learned how to inscribe the pottery artifacts.

The pottery from the dig comes back to the Nautical School midday and placed in buckets of water to soak.

Next, Rachel, an archaeologist of fifty years, and our resident pottery expert, sorts and arranges the pottery.

Sometimes, as you can see in this picture, the pieces match. They count as only one piece, then.

When the pottery comes down from the dig, it is in a basket taken from a discrete locus within the larger grid of the excavation. The basket has a tag identifying the locus number and the basket number.

“AK” for Akko, “2018” for the year it was unearthed, (we’re clearing out last year’s inventory so we can make room for the pottery coming in), “L. 3245,” for the locus, or 5×5 meter square where it was dug up, and “B. 25812” for the basket number it was put in,

“How good is your handwriting?” Rachel asked me.

“Passable,” I said.

Yes. I know. Everyone who has seen my writing, just now snorted through their noses and laughed out loud. But, I did not want to miss out on this golden opportunity to be a real live archaeologist, so I told myself if I really put in an effort, I could do this thing.

And that’s how I became a pottery scribe.

Published by Joanne Guarnieri Hagemeyer

Bible Teacher and partner with Ancient Voices, Sacred Stories

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