STRATIGRAPHIC LAYERS IN OPERATION ABC

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The relative chronological order of layers of earth excavated is determined by the stratified order in which the layers were last deposited one on top of another. The artifacts or other finds embedded in a layer may not be younger than the time the undisturbed layer was deposited. However, if a layer is disturbed, say by a rodent burrow, a younger artifact may be inserted into an older layer.

Artifacts are older than the layer they are embedded in, sometimes a great deal older if they were made long before the layer was deposited or if an old layer was dug up in the past and deposited on top of a younger layer, say in leveling ground for a new building.

Excavating and recording each stratified layer, without mixing earlier layers with later layers, and understanding the nature of the processes by which each layer was created are universal problems of archaeology.

Operation ABC was located in an area where many Kaftari sherds were found on the surface. It is not surprising that the upper layers were a huge Kaftari (ca. 2200-1600 B.C.) trash dump 19 x 29 m in area and 1 to 3 m deep (labeled 1 in the photograph). There were hearths and isolated wall stubs (BL 1). Also pits (labeled A) and a number of wells or privies (to the left and below C) that penetrated the earlier Banesh (ca 3400- 2800 B.C.)layers (BL 2-5) below. The Kaftari deposit was rich in potsherds, animal bones, and other finds. Bibliography John Nickerson

The walls of BL 2 were capped by an erosion surface on which the Kaftari trash had accumulated. The wall labeled 2 and the shaded wall to the left belong to BL 2; the rest of BL 2 walls had been removed to reveal BL 3 when this picture was taken. A few finds on the BL 2 floors are considered to have been contemporary with the building. Banesh- ABC

The abandoned rooms of BL 2 were gradually filled with unfired brick fragments as the walls eroded and crumbled. Finds embedded in this bricky layer, derived from the local production of sun-dried mud bricks (see brickyard in Kaftari) were older than the building.

 

 

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BL 3 had been razed to make way for the construction of BL 2. The top of the BL 3 wall stubs (labeled 3), standing about 20-30 cm tall, were just below the surface on which the BL 2 walls were later built. The workmen in the center room are standing on the plaster floor of BL 3. Fragments of BL 3 wall paintings are seen in plaster of paris jackets awaiting removal. Banesh- ABC BL 3 was cleaned before it was razed and only a few objects were left on the floors.

The floor of one room (labeled B) was removed to begin excavations in BL 4 below BL 3. BL 4 was razed to make way for BL 3; BL 5 was razed to make way for BL 4. Thus only ABC Banesh BL 2 was was closed and abandoned to fall into ruins. This is just one of the indications that there may heve been a population reduction in late Banesh times.