The T23/T26 area has yielded a vast abundance of bronze and ivory artifacts, particularly ivory, since first excavated by M. Caras in 1978 and by M. Tobey (See MC I, MC II, MC III and MT I, MT II, MC III, MC IV). Although it is an area rich in artifacts, their source continues to be a matter of speculation since no architecture has yet been found outside the eastern wall of the upper building.
One hypothesis is that the area is a dump, possibly to a workshop. Several factors lend credence to this proposal:
1- The artifacts are found intermized with tile, stone, bone, and pottery in "pockets." The arrangement of artifacts within the pockets is however random and not indicative of a discarded piece of furniture. The pockets could have been formed by the dumping of pots of waste materials.
2- Almost all the ivory pieces found are fragmented although a few have been found apparantly whole. Nearly all the bronze nails found are bent.
3- The stratigraphy of T26 - 1981 suggested that a pit had been dug there in antiquity, possibly as a dump area.
4- The T23/T26 area lies very close to the slope of the plateau upon which the upper building is located. It is likely that the slope of the hill would make an ideal dumping area.
With the discovery in 1981 of an architectural complex along the southern flank of the upper building, very rich in pottery, there exists the possibility that this area was a production center for pottery and ivory and bronze artifacts. The T23/T26 area would be a convenient dumping ground for this "production center."
Of course, this "dump theory" is only one explanation of the T23/T26 area. The artifacts there could have been placed there during the destruction of the upper building and subsequent scraping of the debris off to the sides. Ancient looters, taking what was wanted and discarding the rest, could also have produced an area with characteristics similar to those of the T23/T26 area.
In a like manner other explanations can be proposed. The dumping ground for a workshop remains the most intriguing explanation at the moment, although one might expect a production center associated with a building as large as the upper building to amass a discarded collection larger than has been found to date.
Although past efforts of predicting a trend in the placement of bronze and ivory artifacts have not been very successful, it is thought that a pocket of artifacts will be found proceding into meters E, F-11, 12, 13 north of T23-1981. Efforts this season however, will be directed more towards characterising the T23/T26 area than towards the retrieval of artifacts. Indeed the confirmation of a production center and adjacent dump would have important implications on the interpretation the upper building function. To this end, the area south of T26-1981 will be explored. This area was chosen for two reasons.
1- The area is nearly directly in line with the architectural complex being uncovered along the southern flank of the upper building.
2- The area is nearly on the edge of the plateau which begins to slope down towards the south. This sloping area could incorporate some revealing stratigraphy.
The grid system employed will be the same T26 grid system described in MT II, pg. 77 and illustrated in M.T. Book V pg. 9. The trench will be located to include meters P-T, 77, 78, 79 and shall be designated T26-1982 extension for the moment.
Note: Cassetle of tile, boxes of pottery, boxes of bone shall be counted as follows: 1=I, 2=2, 3=3, 4=4, 5=5
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