Dear Friends and Supporters of TFAHR:
We ended our penultimate week of excavating only to prove the old archaeological adage, that the most interesting finds come towards the end of the season. On the Second Terrace of Bylazora, down from the acropolis, we opened up a five by eighteen meter trench in what we presumed was the habitation quarter of the city. We did, indeed, find many walls of what appears to be a large house. But most of the walls were built directly upon virgin soil, and were in a bad state of preservation. Pottery finds were scarce, but we did retrieve a well preserved iron spear from the ruins.

We also continued with our excavations in Sector 3 on the acropolis. In an early Classical room, which was later destroyed when the acropolis fortifications were built, we unearthed the remains of two small terracotta ovens. In one, a loom weight was found on the floor of the oven. Further south on the acropolis, we continued excavating a large room that, at present count, contains 9 terracotta pithoi (large underground storage vessels). These pithoi date from a pre-Classical era of Bylazoran history. Later walls of the 3rd and 2nd century BC were built right over these pithoi. We cleaned out each of the pithoi; most contained very little in the way of finds. But one pithos yielded a sizable part of a late Iron Age “cut-away spout” vessel. In another pithos, a skyphos (wine drinking cup) was found. In the roof tile fall which covered this building, we found a badly damaged figurine of a seated woman.

The most intriguing find came just before quitting time on Friday. In 2010, in Sector 6 of the acropolis, we unearthed a stretch of a massive city wall and the western gate of Bylazora. Next to the city wall we found a mass of limestone blocks from a Doric order building, which we have tentatively dated on stylistic grounds to the late 4th century BC. These stones were all chopped up and were about to be burned down into lime, probably by Romans, who were quarrying away the ruined buildings of Bylazora. We think that the stones were part of a stoa. Where the stoa was located was something of a mystery to us. About 10 meters away from the pile of stones, we opened a small trench this week and discovered the corner of the foundation of a very substantial building, which appears to extend at least another 12 meters to the west. This building might be our elusive stoa, or perhaps even our more elusive temple. Next week will tell . . .

Next week will be our last week of excavations this season. Besides last minute excavating, we will be busy with preparing documentation, drawings and final photographs for our upcoming publication.

We thank you for your continuing support. Please feel free to forward this update to any interested parties.

Best regards,

Eulah Matthews and Bill Neidinger

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