WOOOO! We just finished our last day on the Tel!!!! We finished with enough time for Lesley, Marcella, and I to pull a prank on Cameron and Adam (we took pottery from our dump pile and filled Adam's bag). haha. There was even enough time for him to prank us back and put it all in my bag. booo. Sweeping was tough, though I got to sweep some in the "sondage" area. Man, those ramparts/glacis are pretty sweet. You can see everything around the tel from that view. I should have gotten a photo... I still have tomorrow, I'm one of the "gazelles". haha. We leave at 5am.

"Gazelles" are what we call the small, agile people who are taken up to the tel for final photos. They're chosen for size because they give a good scale for what is found (and don't make pillars look like little rocks), and also for agility because they have to hop around the fields on stones/rocks/etc without leaving footprints. I've always enjoyed being a gazelle. You get to see an essential part of the publishing for the excavations.

I'm patiently waiting for my milk shake... Dan took a group to Elvis Burger and didn't invite Lesley, Marcella, or me, so we talked him into getting us milk shakes if we gave him the money. I can't wait! mm...coffee milk shake...

Anywho, I'm just so excited that it's all done and all that's left is paperwork! I had to give a brief update. You most likely will not hear from me until...next Monday, unless I seriously seriously need a break from paperwork. I just want to blow through it all as fast - yet tediously! - as I can.

Mom, dad, grammom, anyone else: If you would like to contact me, email me! It's the easiest way at this point. :) Love you all and I'll be home in5 days!!!! wooooo!!!!


Nearing the End...

*phew* This has been one tiring week. We're still not technically finished in my area - I was supposed to be finished on Wednesday, but it's difficult to put a time frame on archaeology. It's just been a bit of a confusing mess in places, though I guess not as confusing as some other areas. It's still been really stressful. Thursday the scientists from Tel Aviv came back to our camp to take more samples from the vessels we've been removing. It was super cool, but really nerve-wracking at the time. Steve had asked me to stay back at camp that morning to give them the samples since I knew what all was going on. He also told me to keep Savanna, one of my volunteers, also. Sometimes the volunteers know better about exactly what things look like since their doing most of the grunt work.

I had to draw out the area and plot all the locations of where things were found and color-code them, so we could figure out exactly what's going on and see a large picture of things - real interpretive archaeology!!! I was really afraid of having all this responsibility, but now that I look back on it, I think, "Cool I did that!" Steve also said that he'd like to have a picture of it to put up on the slide show for the final dig party! He likes it! Yay!

Now this weekend is intense paperwork time so I'm all settled for getting my paperwork done as fast as I can. I leave 23 hours earlier than everyone else, which means I need to be finished 23 hours sooner than everyone. Before I go to bed and whenever I wake up at night, all I think about it interpreting my area for my final dig report. I even had a dream about it last night. Oh, which I want to tell my roommates about because they'd appreciate it. haha.

Anyways, here's also the last of my pictures from my weekend in Galilee. Funny, it took me 3 weeks to do it. These are of Tel Dor. It's absolutely amazing. It is directly on the Mediterranean Sea. Marcella, Lesley, and I decided we were going to switch digs and work here instead because we could just jump right into the sea at the end of the day. That'd be awesome. But it was more joking than being serious...but it would still be awesome.

Here you can see the beach and the flat-topped mound that we archaeologists call a Tel. That is Tel Dor.

Ah, the sea at sunset...

It was super cool, there were a bunch of rocky islands you could swim to if you really wanted to and hang out there for the day. There were people having BBQ's on them. I wanted to join them soooo baaaad!

This is some of the ruins that have been uncovered at Dor.

Some more of the beach and the islands.
More ruins. This is some real archaeology! All walls and various phases of living! Just a big mish-mash of architecture and not knowing what the hell these people were thinking!

Oh, here's the sign for Dor. I can't remember why I wanted this to be in the blog. I think it was the part that says, "Watch for holes" or something...


More walls...

This is at the edge of the tel before it drops into the harbor they made. The walls are massive, which would indicate some kind of important administrative center, which also matches with it's location in relation to the harbor. Namely, a trading center.

This is where the harbor was. It's teeny, but would have served the purpose anyways. The beach rock probably would have been much higher - the ocean eroded a lot away.

I have no clue what this is. It just looked cool.

A column base! It's from the Roman times.

See? This is a Corinthian column capital. Um, it's sitting upside down, it would have been at the top. It's also badly eroded. Those sea breezes to a number on rocks.
This is also a part of the columns. Most of the times, the columns weren't whole. They found that they could hold more weight (and were easier to transport) if they were in pieces and held in place together with a metal pipe through the middle. Wait, the Greeks figured that out first. It was the Romans who figured out (well, I don't know that for sure, but they at least utilized it) that reinforced concrete was stronger.

Haha, excavations still go on at Dor. This is their container for their supplies. We have a green one at Gezer. :)

A mosaic floor! Well, it at least made from tesserae (small, square tiles to make flooring).

This is where the ancient Dorians quarried their stone!

This is difficult to see in a photo, but it's a ramp. They'd pull the ships up from the sea onto ramps to keep them in place.

Driftwood in an eroded part of the harbor.

And a doorway!

Well, that's all there is to my Galilee pictures. I'll show everyone my excavation photos at home - I don't want to put them up online. You probably won't here from me until I'm home at this point. This is going to be a super busy week coming up. Sunday's even going to be really busy - the staff is visiting another site at 2:30 and then we're going to a reception at the Rockerfeller Museum in Jerusalem for all the excavations that are still going on. I'm hoping we're back here by 9 so we can get to bed on time. Oy weh.


Crusader Castles and American Colony Reception

Last night the staff went to a reception at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, held by the financiers of the American digs in Israel. Essentially, we ate munchies at a now fancy hotel (was originally a mission that provided shelter for American travelers in Israel) with millionaires. It was awkward. haha. The food was delicious. There were about 4 or 5 different excavations represented, but Gezer by far had the largest representation of staff. Everyone else only had maybe 3 or 4 tops. Well, Israelis were invited too, but as it was Shabbot, they didn't show. I thought that was a poor choice for the hosts, but oh wells.

We chatted with a few people, but it was quite uncomfortable for most of us, so we sat in the chairs around the walls and munched on the tasty food. At one point, one of the couples came up to Lesley, Marcella, and I and asked if we were some of the volunteers. When we said that we were two years ago and were back for our 3rd season and were now full staff, they were pleasantly surprised. They said that that was the best compliment to give, to actually have people returning year after year. Then they had a prayer circle with us. They were nice. [EDIT: Steve just informed us that these two donors were "quite impressed with the three ladies in the corner". hmmm....]

Later, when many of us were itching to leave, Gary came up, stating how he'd also like to leave. Two of our staff, Cameron and Adam (quite an inseparable duo) were outside on the porch. Gary gave them a stern look and a gesture to come inside. He was kidding of course, but Cameron and Adam looked at each other and hurriedly made their way in. We laughed and as they approached made to tell them that Gary was only joking, when Adam walked softly up behind Gary and gave him the sweetest kiss...on his bald spot.

We all completely lost it. This is just one of the many many many examples of the humor of the people on this dig. I have never known as humorous a bunch.

Anyway, here are some more pictures of Galilee. After the Crusader Castles, I have one more set from Tel Dor.

Dennis took us up to a park where lots of people were having BBQs. *drools* But the view was absolutely spectacular. He took us here to show us one of the crusader castles, most probably of the Knights Hospitaller. This area was a boundary between all the fighting knights.

See the bit of stone waaaay off in the distance where those two mountains kind of meet? Yea, that's a castle.

Oh, some more of the view.

So green and mountainous...

What the...oh. Well. OH, I remember. I found out that my camera has a "smile" setting. The caption with it says that it takes the picture automatically when your subject smiles. Um...it didn't really work, did it?

Pretty yet dangerous (!!!!) thistle flowers! It's pointy!

There it is! The castle! Super cool.

Alright, the last of the photos are from the next caslte we went to at Yihiam.

Sky view of the castle...

Oh excuse me, it's a fortress...

Built right into the bedrock.

There was a little restaurant and it made for pretty pictures...

Ah...a bathhouse....

Erm...this place made for lots of super pretty pictures...

I'm thinking this isn't what the castle used to look like. It's most likely been silted up to that level. It doesn't make any sense for those arches to start right at the floor level. But, I'm not a medieval archaeologist nor a medieval historian, so I really couldn't tell you. haha.

A narrow pathway we decided to follow. ooo, we're adventurers!!!!

This led up to a high tower with a gorgeous view of the Galilee.
See? These spots were chosen specifically for their views for obvious reasons.

It was reused, much like Gezer was, in the 1948 war. There were quite a few bunkers. But all the signs for information on them were only in Hebrew, whereas all the warning signs about falling rock, etc were in Hebrew, English, and Arabic. We were wondering why that was, but as we don't know Hebrew, we can't really say.

A well inside one of the towers!

Aaaaand there's the Triumvirate! Plus Transvestite Belle (Lesley's roaming gnome)! Actually, we have a new nickname now. Marcella Barbosa is now Field Captain Smoky Barbosa and we are her pirate crew: Peg Leg Haines and Crackpot Davis. Cameron and Adam gave us these names.

Marcella's last name is Barbosa, so she gets lots of comments about having the name of the pirate captain from Pirates of the Carrabean. Then she became the mini-field supervisor for Adam and Cameron as they learned how to manage a square. They affectionately referred to her as Field Captain Barbosa. But then she nearly set fire to her pizza bites in the microwave in the dig house, so now it's Smoky Barbosa. Lesley and I for the life of us cannot remember why she's Peg Leg, but that's what it ended up as. Crackpot is only a temoporary name for me until they can come up with a better one, but Crackpot is from all the smashed pots we removed from my square on Thursday.