The Remarkable 2013 Season At Khirbet el-Maqatir -- By: Bryant G. Wood
BSpade 26:4 (Fall 2013) p. 91
The Remarkable 2013 Season At Khirbet el-Maqatir
In our 11th season of excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir, May 20-31 2013, God gave us safety (with only one noteworthy accident, a broken rib), wonderful volunteers, and many significant discoveries. I reported a year ago that our 2012 season was the best yet, apart from the finding of the gate in our first season. But the 2013 season eclipsed the 2012 season in terms of the importance of the finds.
Important discoveries are usually made on the last day of a dig season. We broke that custom by making a major find on the very first day—a third lower gate socket stone from the Late Bronze I fortress of the time of Joshua. The pivot post of a gate (or door) turned on a stone sunk into the floor, which had a hole hollowed out for the pivot post to turn in. At the top of the pivot post was a counter socket stone. Gary Byers found the first lower socket stone during our initial 1995 season. The top of the socket stone, with its well-worn post hole, was visible on the surface. Just a few feet away we could see the tops of the surviving stones of the west chamber of the gate, measuring approximately 23 x 30 feet. During the second season in 1996 we unearthed a second lower socket stone, as well as an upper counter socket stone, a very rare object. Although not in their original positions, the locations of the three socket stones just south of the southern pier of the west gate chamber suggest that they were part of the inside (southern) door of the gate. Now, 17 years later, we have uncovered a third lower socket stone. It was exposed only a few inches below the surface, about 33 feet east of the outer (northern) door of the gate. The other lower socket stone from the outer door is still out there somewhere!
In order to preempt looters, we have been using metal detectors to locate coins. In 2012 we recovered a record 71 coins, a number I thought would never be surpassed. I was wrong! This season, in each of the four squares excavated east of the gate we uncovered an underground pit or storage chamber carved into bedrock. From the pottery, it appears that they all date to the first century AD. In my square, S19, the pit contained many coins and other artifacts. After three days of digging the pit, we had an amazing 128 coins! Added to that were another 17 from my square and 60 from other squares, for a grand total of 205 coins. Our Israeli numismatist said he had never heard of any other dig in Israel that produced so many coins in such a short period of time!
City of Ai gate socketstone in secondary use, discovered on the first day of the 2013 dig season.
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