Organic Finds
Dipinti Cave Building - Room 1

Animal dung

Twigs

Wood

Animal mandible (sheep)

Textile (leather?)

Cordage

The project would like to thank Dr. Nimrod Marin, Laboratory of Zooarchaeology, University of Haifa for the identification of this bone as part of his larger report on the animal bone remains.

An article was published by Orit Shamir and Alisa Baginski on the textile and cordage found during the 1993 excavations at Avdat in the Cave of the Saints - click here for citation

The organic remains from the July 2016 season were among the best preserved ever found at a site in the Negev highlands and will provide extremely valuable information about the late antique environment, agricultural regime, and economy.  Because some of these materials were discovered just under the collapsed roof slabs of the building, radiocarbon analysis may allow us to establish a date for the earthquake, which apparently destroyed the building and much of the town. Beneath the collapse level was an extremely rich layer of manure and other organic remains, measuring nearly 1 meter in depth!

The important organic finds from our July 2016 season led to a partnership with a major bio-archaeological project under the direction of Prof. Guy Bar-Oz of Haifa University (click here for more information). In August 2016, a team of specialists led by Daniel Fuchs of Bar-Ilan University came to the site to excavate and sample soil from an intact part of the organic layer (below, left). The team was assisted by student volunteers from the Har Hanegev Field School in Mizpe Ramon (below, right).   

The work included careful sifting and picking of organic matter and resulted in the collection of seeds, notably olive pits, date pits, and grape pips. The state of preservation of these materials may allow for the retrieval of DNA, which in the case of the grape pips would be extremely significant in light of the importance of wine production in the late antique Negev.  

Grape Pips Found in Room 1

Photo Courtesy of Prof. Guy Bar-Oz and the CMBE Project