Today I visited the tell with Jed Kaplan and Oren Ackermann. It was a great visit (and a beautiful day!) and we had a chance to show Jed some of the finds on site, and discuss various aspects of our research.
On the tell we saw that the “Thorns of Doom” (otherwise know as “Frankenthistles”…), the horribly big thorns that covered the tell last year, are back again! This means that before and during the coming season we will be knocking down a lot of thorns. Some of these thorns are close to 3 meters high!
Here’s a picture of Jed and Oren on the upper tell, next to the ruins of the Modern period Mosque between Areas F and P, with the giant thorns next to them.
Later, while we were on top of the tell, I noticed a very interesting worked stone, seemingly of Crusader period masonry (but perhaps not?), with a very interesting rounded protrusion on it.
Any suggestions to what this is?
Addendum: Sue Frumin, from the Safi archaeobotany team, has asked me to remind you of the official name of these thorns – thanks Sue!
Scientific name: Silybim marianum
Hebrew name: גְּדִילָן מָצוּי
Various other names: cardus marianus, milk thistle, blessed milkthistle, Marian thistle, Mary thistle, Saint Mary’s thistle, Mediterranean milk thistle, variegated thistle, and Scotch thistle