Of Ovens and Women

Several days ago, I came across a strange pattern in the earth layer I was excavating. It was oddly rectangular, seemingly degraded mudbrick surrounding on locus and being bordered by another. It looked like an oven to me, so I called to my field supervisor, “Hey Dave! Look, an oven!”

“That’s not an oven Jill, it’s just some strange looking soil.”

But it still looked like an oven to me. The next day, I was only in the field for a half-day, but came back to the dig on Friday to see this mudbrick structure coming out of the ground.

“What’s that, Dave?” I asked.

“It’s a taboon.”

“What’s a taboon?”

“It’s arabic for, ‘oven.'”

HA! I did not take four years of archaeology in university to not recognize an oven when I see one! I will never forget when Larry, one of the dig directors, uttered “leave it to a woman to see an oven,” not realizing his wife was standing just behind him. I have no doubt she will not let him live that one down.

Since oven-gate, I’ve been given more credit about my abilities to distinguish soil loci, so that has been great. I consider it repayment for the injustice served!

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