Reconstruction of our village houses begins with excavation and exposure of the bedrock. Soil is carefully removed and sifted to extract pottery and other artifacts for analysis. As approximately 80% of pottery shards recovered date from the Early Roman Period, any bedrock features that we expose may be closely associated with 1st Century Nazareth.
Site excavation at Nazareth Village is fairly straightforward – removal of topsoil, staged excavation of in situ earth layers, articulation and cleaning of the limestone bedrock. Edges of quarry cuts are carefully exposed, followed and revealed in their entirety.
As we remove soil and clean the bedrock, ancient features appear — more quarries or pits dug to hold jars for thirsty workers, perhaps. These are all carefully measured and photographed. Abandoned quarries such as these were especially favoured locales for ancient builders, who took advantage of the squared pits in the bedrock to build rooms, with the quarry walls integrated into the houses.
Lacking power tools, the ancients knew how to use natural dips and folds in the bedrock, converting them into caves, silos, cisterns and other installations. In some instances, the site itself supplied the building material, providing soil and chalk for mortar, and quarried bedrock for stone.
This exposed bedrock contains two deep quarry cuts on the left. These were preserved to be incorporated into bedrooms, a cellar and a cave. The pit forms a natural drainage for water runoff. It was dug out, lined with hydraulic lime plaster and made into a water cistern.
Mark Goodman briefing volunteers on the use of specialized equipment – pickaxes, hoes, rakes and buckets
Uncovering the remains of two quarries