|Conservation measures during the excavation|
|Orderer||The Beer Sheva Economic Corporation|
Conservation Guidance - Yoram Saad, Head of the Implementation Branch
During July-August 2005 a study excavation (second season) was conducted in Compound D in Beer Sheva, which is located west of the municipal marketplace, in the heart of the city and adjacent to it. The excavation was conducted by archaeology students from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in partnership with the Antiquities Authority, under the direction of Peter Fabian and Yitzhak Gilad. The excavation was supervised by the Conservation Department of the Antiquities Authority in order to protect the finds at the site during the excavation and stabilize them if necessary. The conservation team consisted of eight laborers and was directed by the conservator Tsagai Asamain.
During the excavation several architectural complexes were uncovered, among them:
· A building from the Late Roman period, to the south of which are the remains of a bathhouse.
· A massive stone building that includes a system of cellars and steps from the Iron Age (eighth century BCE).
· Other buildings from the Iron Age, some of which are built of stone and others of mudbrick; indigenous soil was used to fill the walls.
The surface level prior to the excavation was paved with asphalt because the area was utilized as an open air marketplace that was crowded with hundreds of people on a daily basis. This activity affected the state of preservation of the ancient remains situated below the surface level – the walls of the buildings that were exposed were mostly in a state of deterioration and the building material was in a state of disintegration.
The conservation measures included: reinforcing the foundations of walls; completing stonework for the purpose of localized structural stability – indigenous fieldstones were used; filling lacunae with bonding material; pointing up joints with lime based bonding material and finishing them with indigenous earth; sealing the tops of walls with debesh construction. Walls were built to retain earthen sections and were coated with mortar and indigenous soil; installations and delicate elements were covered with geotextile fabric on which layers of sifted soil were deposited for protection until measures are taken to preserve and develop the site.
Upon completion of the conservation activity the Beer Sheva municipality was provided with a preliminary program for the conservation of the site and its development as an archaeological park.
To view the figures, click on the figure caption