Let me give you a peak into the fantastic and sometimes fanciful world of object registration…
During the morning each field digs (naturally) during which they find objects (museum quality) and artifacts (everything else that is something else). Most fields find many such items (except Field C – which has for some reason been digging in an area that just doesn’t have much – Field D has had a lot of items each year for the past few years and Fields G and the Islamic Village have turned up a good number this year as well).
When they return to the hotel there is a red crate on the roof (where we do pottery washing, etc) into which these items are placed. Each evening, after supper, at about 6:30 pm, Dr. Paul Ray and I get together in his room to examine these items and place them into categories (discard – if they are nothing, unregistered – if they are not museum quality, ceramic tech – if they are a piece of pottery that was mended or something, and object – museum quality items receive the next object number – example: J0654 – Jalul, object number 654). Thus far, in the 1 1/2 weeks of digging we have registered 55 objects (a record for Tall Jalul digs).
The most common items are loom weights (used as weights on the loom), spindle whorls (pottery sherds that have been rounded with a hole through the middle), various rock grinders, figurines (usually of women or horses – two things still loved in the Arab world today), and this year, seals (we have had three thus far). There are beads and other small items made of rock, bone, or pottery that round out our objects.
However, every once in a while there is an item that is turned it that is unfamiliar to the one who turned it in. Sometimes the simple, “UD” (“Un-determined”) is used as a description. Other times a wrong guess is written down in the Remarks section of the tag. But sometimes certain creative individuals give a description that makes us laugh. Two of the best are in the title for this blog.
Basalt, of course, is a volcanic rock that is not indigenous to the area and was imported for a variety of uses (of which one was NOT as a shower accessory).
The “ancients” did not actually call their dogs with dog whistles (at least none have been found thus far). The item in question was actually a bone that had been rounded with a hole through it to be worn as a pendant.
Two honorable mentions have been: “napkin holder” (on a tag from an odd rock shaped item) and “dog biscuit” (on a flat round rock).
One other note, Florie gave up her turn so that her Mom could return to the Tall and try to find something. The illusive ostracon was not found today. We will keep looking.
Mr. Cool (Field D, Square 1)