The 5th season of the Ein Gedi Oasis Excavations
The 5th season of excavations in the Second Temple Period village of Ein Gedi lasted for four weeks in
January, 2007. Volunteers from abroad and Israel took part in the excavation, as well as a few members of
Young Judea. Donations from private individuals, various funds and the Dead Sea Research and Study
Institute financed the excavations.
It was an exciting dig this year, and important goals were achieved. The overall plan of the village has
become much clearer.
Before the season began, a JCB tractor was called in to remove the extra layer of soil which had covered
the village during the recent runoff flooding.
This season, we finished uncovering most of the Key Building, started revealing a new building to the south
of it, and found the lane in between the row of buildings and the Zukim house.
We uncovered the entrance to the Key Building, and two courtyards. In the front yard - the eastern one – we
found a small room, and next to it a large stone basin that may have been used as an animal trough.
Remains of an oven and a stove made of clay were found close to the courtyard walls. In the back yard -
the western one - remains of an oven and a basalt working table were found, as well as ash and
charcoaled wood remains which probably belonged to a shed or roofing.
In the Jars Room, we finished clearing and gathering the shattered jars that had remained from the
previous season. While removing the dirt from the runoff topsoil layer, part of a small pool was found
almost on top of that layer.
In the new Southern Building, only two rooms were found, ruined by fire; their floors were covered with ash,
charcoaled wood remains and some iron nails. Various vessels were found on the floor of the eastern
room, including two soft limestone basins, a small leaden anchor and a large jar partly sunken in the floor.
A small cylinder-shaped vessel and shattered clay jars were also found there.
The floor of the Zukim House is still in the process of being slowly peeled layer by layer. Shattered clay
jars were found there, and also a small juglet and an almost complete stone measuring cup.
This season we continued excavating two squares which had been untouched since the 1st season,
between the western side of the Zukim House and the Pebbled Building. Now it is clear that the northern
wall of the Zukim House continues westward until it meets another wall that was built from north to south,
creating a lane of about 2 m. wide. The north-south lane connects the two parts of the village, which until
now had seemed disconnected from one another. This is one of the important finds of the season. In this
area of the site, an imported jar made of eastern Terra Sigilata was found for the first time in the
excavation. Not far away, a complete grey clay oil-lamp made from a mould was found. Flowers and vine
bunches decorate the lamp’s shoulders and an elongated leaf design appears on its nozzle.
Some progress was achieved in the North-Western Building where a very long room, approximately 10 m.
in length, was excavated. South of it, three rooms of the South-Western Building were revealed under the
runoff flood layer.
This season some conservation took place, such as strengthening the western wall of the Northern
Building that was damaged by runoff water in April, 2006. Also, the cooking installations uncovered in the
previous seasons were now filled with dirt, to prevent them from deteriorating.
We found complete clay and stone vessels and one imported jar, as well as about 100 coins.
We expect to continue uncovering the whole Southern Building, and revealing the entire layout of the
village next year.