what happens after piles of grass or hay or wheat has been sitting in a pile for 3,000 years, and has decomposed, underneath 2,999 years of soil fill? you end up with phytoliths!

according to our good friends at wikipedia, phytoliths
...are very robust in nature, and are useful in archaeology, since they can be used to reconstruct the plants present at a site or an area within a site even though the rest of the plant parts have been burned up or dissolved. Because they are made of the inorganic substances silica or calcium oxalate, phytoliths don't decay when the rest of the plant decays over time and can survive in conditions that would destroy organic residues. Phytoliths can provide evidence of both economically important plants and those that are indicative of the environment at a particular time period.
if you take a look within our square

on one side of the newly-found mud brick wall (you can see it between the two pieces of white string)

you will find this white layer of material, that remided me of peat moss.

luckily, in the field, there was team of folks from the weizmann institute who could analyze it, and told us that it came from specific types of grasses. therefore our square is probably two rooms, one of which was probably an early iron i period granary. pretty cool, huh?

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