Thus the team decided to create an excavation grid for the entire tell.  Using a total station and grid coordinates based on data provided by TDS Foresight--a computer mapping program, the Berkeley team began to mark points on the tell located exactly 50m apart from one another on a horizontal plane. 

(left)  Ginger Emery using total station to locate grid points.  (right) Topographic map generated in TDS Foresight.

When a point had been accurately located, team members drove a steel rod into the ground.  This rod was then encased in cement in order to guarantee that it would remain fixed in place.  Atop the cement was painted the names of the four grid squares sharing a corner in that location.  Because of the difficult terrain, this process of locating and creating grid points took nearly three weeks.  But by the end of the 2003 season, the El Hibeh team had created a 50m grid oriented to true north and consisting of no less than 42 individual markers throughout the tell.

Securing grid point in place with cement.

Grid points atop tell before identification.

It is hoped that in future seasons the Berkeley team will be able to quickly and easily determine their approximate location anywhere on the tell.  In addition, this grid system will greatly simplify the process of record keeping--both for archaeologists' reports and for the objects they uncover.  Furthermore, the process of marking out new areas for excavation will be greatly simplified, allowing for a more efficient use of the teams time in the field.

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