A Long Awaited Update....

Hallo meine Familie und Freunden. So sorry for the long wait for an update. I don’t remember when I last updated, it may have been a few days ago, but I really can’t remember. The days spread out and sometimes seem like two or three days when it’s really only one. It goes like this: Day 1 – up on the Tel digging 5am to 12:30pm, return for lunch, shower, and nap; Day 2 – wake up for pottery washing/reading at 4pm, lecture at 5:30pm, dinner at 6:30pm; and then sometimes Day 3 is anything that happens after dinner because it’s another refresher time. Whenever there’s a break, nap, refresher of some kind, that’s the end or start of a new “day” here. So that’s why I can’t remember how long ago I updated. haha.

So, last week was our first full week of digging. It was a very long week. And I was a little irked by how things progressed in my square: namely, very slow. But I can’t push my volunteers any more than they’re already pushing themselves because of age and health, so I have to deal with it. Actually, today Jason gave me two of his volunteers halfway through the day because he didn’t need them and then Sam told me to really get moving. So we did. We progressed as fast in half a day as we would have in two. And we’re still really behind other people. Oh wells.

The other week I was moved to another square that had been opened last year because we weren’t finding anything in my original square. The square I was put it is right on top of the Assyrian destruction layer found throughout much of Area B we’re hoping to get to the bottom of. Yay! I have a large pit in the middle of my square, too! Possibly a silo/grain storage bin intruding into the destruction layer, meaning it’s a later addition. How much later, we can’t really tell, probably around Iron Age II. Woop! I also have at least one pillar sticking up out of the square that lines up perfectly with a pillar in another square and they are only about 1 meter apart. I say “at least” because there may be another one a lined up almost perfectly about 1.3 meters away from the other one. But it’s cracked, and as we found out today, was sitting on top of mudbrick and more stones, so we removed it. At the very very end of the day today, Elliot pointed out that it may be a pillar comprised of multiple stones on top of each other because it lines up almost perfectly in another direction with another possible pillar in another square. GAH! In archaeology, you always have a plan…that changes 10 minutes later…and then goes back to the original plan after 30 minutes…only to be changed again in 15 minutes. Archaeologists need to be flexible. haha. We also have found two loom weights! Though the square south of me has 14 in situ in their surface right within the destruction layer…and the square east of me has found at least 25 in the course of 3 days. Well, we’ll see how things go for the rest of the week. Oh, I don’t remember if I mentioned this, but I also had two dog burials in my old square! …but they were completely out of context, so they don’t really mean much. One of them we had almost completely picked out and the other was all jumbled anyways. Boo.

This past weekend we had a tour through the Jerusalem and the City of David with world renowned Near Eastern archaeologist and world leading expert on anything to do with the geography, history, religions, cultures, life, everything of Jerusalem: Dr. Gavriel Barkei!!!! He is a fascinating man! We’d walk down a market and he’d stop us all and point to two stones and tell us their entire history, then we’d turn a corner and he’d point up to a wall and say, “There’s a late Roman inscription on that stone up there.” And then he’d stop us outside another wall and he’d say, “This is Ottoman, still in use, in fact you can see the bullet holes in the wall from the siege on Jerusalem in 1948 (can’t exactly remember the date). And if you look at the bottom course of stone – do you see it? Does everybody see it? Ok, that bottom course of stone you can see if different from the rest of the wall, that it because it is medieval and was reused by the Ottomans. In any case…” And he explained to us every hill and every valley and every tomb/cemetery that consists of modern day Jerusalem and its entire history and the history of every large building on each of the hills. In the City of David, we walked through Hezekiah’s tunnel again. And because he is GAVI BARKEI we got to see the archaeology currently in progress throughout David’s City. We walked down and saw a man who went, “GAVI!! What do I owe the pleasure?!” And he said, “Can we take a look at your excavations here?” And he said, “Of course!” Marcella and I looked at each other in awe because we didn’t get to see any of these excavations last year and they’re extremely important/controversial/fascinating right now! As famous and well-loved as this man is, he also can make people a little angry. He literally stopped and talked at every spot for at least 15 minutes, and there were tour groups behind us that included what he termed “the wild beasts”, 12-14 year old boys who liked to make a lot of noise. He yelled at them at least 3 times. haha.

We also went back to the Church of the Holy Sepulcre, which I was happy about because I was sick as a dog when we saw it last year. I could appreciate it better. He also gave a purely archaeological view point of everything he showed us and gave a lot of evidence for one thing or against another, which I appreciated a lot more than the almost purely theological one we got all the time last year. He would say, “I am not religious and not Christian, so I could care less. But if the tomb of ‘Christ’ really could be said to exist, it would most likely be this one here in the Sepulcre and not the so-called ‘Garden Tomb’ the Protestants claim because that is an Iron Age tomb…this one fits the time period for Jesus perfectly. In fact, we know that it can’t be later than 44CE (and he went into some explanation for why it’s stopped at that date) and Jesus is said to have died in 33CE. This tomb is almost exactly pin pointed to be the ideal tomb for Christ. But I could care less and we’re not going to see it because it’s not impressive and the line would take at least one hour. Let’s go.”

We did not get to go to the party for Israeli supervisors all throughout Israel because (and by “we”, I mean Marcella, Lesley, and I) we did not get to finish our paperwork. And Gavi likes to talk…a lot…lots and lots, I mean LOTS AND LOTS. So we were at all our places A LOT longer than we originally thought. So we didn’t make it to the cool party. L

But that’s the update for the week. I’m off to watch some German soap operas to wind down. Alles was zählt!!!!


Laura said...

it sounds like you're having so much fun over there! and using all those technical archaeology words that i have no idea what they mean! hahaha, just saying that i miss you and maybe the whole gang can get together in those 2 days that you're home???

Denise said...

So as I read your posts I am always like wow....I have no idea what she is talking about...man I have no idea who she is talking about...man she is a nerd...seriously what is she talking about and then I think I can't wait to get back to school so I can see all the squirrelly hand movements that go along with these explanations of everything...um so you should check my blog out and see pictures of my new nephew and then go AWE!!!