Week One: Complete!

Man, what a tough first week. We moved A LOT of dirt! I’ve been put back in the same square I was in last season to finish the excavations in there. But I’ve been having a lot of fun.

Monday was crazy dirt-moving day. Literally, we moved buckets full of dirt from 6:30am to 12:30pm. Picking and shoveling. We had to clear a 30 year old dump site to smooth out an area to put wheel barrows so we could actually start excavating. That took up until breakfast. Then we removed 5 balks (the enormous walls of dirt we leave between excavated squares). Each balk was 1m wide and most were at least 2m high. That's a lot of dirt! Tuesday we removed the last 3 balks, but they had to almost be excavated, rather than just ripped out because there was a lot of “important stratigraphy”, meaning there’s lots of important stuff in them. Which was totally true! We were working on one balk and had only taken three swipes with a pick and a whole pillar appeared!! Then we moved down and there was ANOTHER ONE! Super crazy.

We worked on clean up and stringing squares on Wednesday and finally started excavating yesterday. My square is moving real slow but my one volunteer (I only have one) is learning quickly. Today Lyn and I were told that Lyn can’t move any further in her square until I finish this one section of mine – that stupid silo from last year. We have no idea where the end of it is, but because it post-dates the destruction, it has to be excavated first. So I got Lyn’s two volunteers and we switched them out every so often so they learned how to meticulously articulate. Haha. One of them found a zoomorphic figurine (a ceramic pot in the shape of a horsie!!!). Totally cool.

Monday I hope we start moving faster. We really need to get to the bottom of this bin because Steve, Sam, and Gary are hoping to finish digging through the destruction layer and reach the floor the end of next week, not later than maybe Tuesday or Wednesday of the third week. I have another square I have to excavate after it, so I need to book it.

Tomorrow the volunteers head to the Negev (the real desert of Israel). They’ll be going to the Dead Sea. I don’t envy them. Except Arad. I loved Arad. They’re going to Arad. But Lesley, Marcella, and I are planning to take it easy this weekend rather than plan an excursion. We worked real hard this week, we want a nice little break. Though I do need to get to an ATM for cash so I don’t keep using my card all the time. I’ve only used it three times for small payments (between $15-35), but I’d like to have some more cash. I need to pay for the tshirt I got for the dig.

We may go with the survey team to see some of the tons and tons and tons of tombs, caves, cisterns, and wine and olive presses they’ve already found so far. We’d also like to go to the crusader castle on the next hill and then to LaTrune monastery for a honey comb and a bottle of wine! Maybe I’ll see if someone’s going to Jerusalem on Sunday just to get to an ATM.

Well, that’s all the excitement so this week! Good luck and mozel tov to Maddy and Bob and I’m awful jealous of Eric, Aunt Kay, Uncle Joe, and Bridgie! I hope Eric can figure out how to Skype conference it to me! I’ll get up at 5am to see it, because that’s what time it’ll be here in Israel when they marry. Till later!

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