And in the summer of 2017, Betty Ray of Carrollton joined the New Orleans Baptist Seminary’s Tel Gezer Water System Excavation Project sponsored by the Center for Archaeological Research.
According to the Center, the Gezer water system excavation is a joint project of the Moskau Institute for Archaeology at NOBTS and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) along with Liberty University School of Divinity, a dig consortium member. The excavation is directed by Dennis Cole, Jim Parker and Dan Warner of New Orleans Seminary, INPA chief archaeologist Tsvika Tsuk and Eli Yannai.
She said there were three major areas of concentration: a massive water system, a very large gate area and an area of store rooms next to the city wall.
In 2010, the Center for Archaeological Research took on the challenge to reopen the ancient water system at Gezer, which first was exposed beginning in 1905 by the British archaeologist Robert A. S. Macalister. According to the Center, Macalister’s excavations left several unanswered questions, such as, what is the source for the water, what is the date of the tunnel, and what is its overall function, reopening the system was necessary to clarify these issues. Since the tunnel first was exposed, over 10 meters of fill had accumulated in the tunnel, which leads to a cave or cavern that is the source for the water. This diagonal stepped tunnel leading to the cavern is over 40 meters long heading in an eastern direction.
Ray said the water system consists of a key hole entry, a tunnel that is 12’ wide, 24’ high and 130’ into the ground with a basin and cavern at the bottom. They have found “lots of pottery shards, some foundation deposits, jugs and juglets.”
According to the Center, the Summer 2017 expedition, was quite exciting. An article in Newsweek said “archaeologists in Israel have uncovered treasure and 3,200 year-old bodies at what is said to be the site of the of the Biblical city of Gezer, believed to have been destroyed in a devastating raid by the ancient Egyptians. Excavations of the city appeared to show how three inhabitants, two adults and a child met a violent end after a series, Egyptian pharaohs attempting to bring Gezer to heel, finally reducing it to rubble in the 13th Century B.C.
For more information about the dig or to volunteer to attend next summer’s excavation, go to http://www.telgezer.com/.