Last Week in Jerusalem and Our Return to Akko

We wrapped up our last week in Jerusalem working hard! We hit up the pottery and small finds labs for the Israeli Antiquities Authority, spent some more time with Aliza at King David’s Tomb and more work at the mosaics lab at the Rockefeller Museum, and did some restoration at the Kotel/Western Wall. We also visited the Dead Sea Scrolls labs at the Israeli Museum, where I completely nerded out and squeed the whole time. Riikka, Courtney, and I also attended a workshop on wood restoration at the Italian Jewish Museum, invited by the wonderful and fascinating Moshe Caine.

Here are some shots of Riikka and I restoring some pottery!

We had to work to put these pots together!

Riikka was very excited to get started!

I was very serious about my work.

I found a seam!

This is how much of this cooking pot needed to be glued together.

Grouting at King David’s Tomb with Aliza.

We used hummus cups to measure our mortar ingredients, ha!

James and Khail are ready for some grouting! Oh yea!

Because wall construction is empty or filled with rubble in the middle, to conserve the wall, one must make a grouting mix and inject it inside the wall! We did that here.

We were at King David's Tomb. To cater to the Orthodox Jews, there is a mehitzah (dividing wall) separating the men's and women's sides. We had to work on the men's side. Whoops!

Pouring the grout into the tube.

Checking for clogs once we were all done!

Rockefeller Museum tour!

These flowers smell REALLY good.

Wood panels from Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount. Probably the only things that have been given to the archaeological authorities from the Waqf (Islamic religious group who runs the Temple Mount).

The inscriptions are actually in Greek, from when the mosque was a church/basilica!

These are stone carvings from the Holy Sepulchre!

They were given over to the Rockefeller for some cleaning at one point, but then no one claimed them back...

This has to do with the "Status Quo" agreement.

For more info on the Status Quo of Christian holy sites, read this article: The Status Quo 

Then we went to the Dead Sea Scrolls labs!!!!


Deuteronomy scroll, Cave 4, Qumran


Picture of a picture of the first scholars working on the Dead Sea Scrolls

Picture of some scroll conservation!

Close up of conservation!

Cool camera used for digitizing the DSS!

Camera device

Moar camera device!


My last picture of Benjie with a beard...he shaved it the other day. Sad day.

And Khail being weird.

Here is the website for the digitized Dead Sea Scrolls!! DIGITAL DEAD SEA SCROLLS

Here is some of the Kotel tunnels restoration work. We didn’t work down there. We were restoring a part of a building adjacent to the Wall that will be used for bathrooms. Part of the importance of restoration and conservation is thinking about what will become of the building or object after conservation and restoration. Our work there was only for stabilization. The area will not be used as an example of architecture or some holy place, only as a functional space. But, since I didn’t think about taking pictures there and only focusing on my work, I have no pictures. I did, however, get to wear a hard hat and use a drill. Which was awesome.

These pictures were taken on our walk to our last day of work just after sunrise. It also happened to be the remembrance day of the Armenian Genocide, so luckily I chose to walk us through the Armenian Quarter.
Walking towards Jaffa Gate for our day working at the Kotel.

Walking through the Armenian Quarter, we stumbled upon THIS.

Walking down to the Temple Mount.

Ok, below the modern surface of the Western Wall, we explored the Ottoman and Roman streets.

Vaulted chamber. This pic didn't come out well, but there was a lot of dust in the air from all the work going on.


I....don't really remember taking this picture. OH, this is a house facade that used to be street level!

Ottoman doorway

Khail making a funny face again, this time he's mocking me.

James admiring the conservation of the hammam while Shacher thinks of more to tell us.

The wood conservation workshop took us through the Italian Jewish Museum, where there were gorgeous examples of Aron HaKodesh, the Torah ark, in synagogues. It’s like the tabernacle in Catholic churches, except instead of housing the Body of Christ, it houses the Torah scrolls. They usually are flanked by the Ten Commandments.

This Aron Hodesh is from Mantua

This synagogue was moved inside the museum and is still a functioning synagogue!

Then we saw the storage warehouse for EVERYTHING found in Israel after publications in Bet Shemesh. It was like the giant warehouse in Indian Jones and all the archaeologists in our group freaked out in awe. They’re organization is also brilliant, the most organization we’ve ever seen in Israel yet.

Pottery and stone are organized together according to time period, rather than site, and then by region within the time periods. This is because usually scholars who study pottery are focused on a particular time period rather than individual sites, and then have a geographical focus within their time period. This allows them to view entire assemblages of pottery in one area of the warehouse rather than having to search through the entire warehouse.

Then Debby took us to see the small finds classifications. I can’t actually show images of the finds themselves because of publication purposes, but I can describe the organization. Now, scholars who focus on small finds tend to progress through time rather than stick to one time period. The small finds include metal objects, glass, and ceramic figurines and are all stored in one area with climate control. The humidity is kept at 20% and the temp is at 20 Celcius. Rows and rows of drawers storing so many cool things!!!

Small finds storage: metal

Old school card catalogue. They've been switching everything over to digital, but it's all still in the cards!

Small finds: glass

Rhodian handles, meaning, the handles from a type of pottery used exclusively for storing wine. Traditionally the vessels (and wine) were from Rhodes, hence their name. But each vessel was stamped with the vineyard's unique seal and year the wine was made, exactly as one finds wine bottles today!
After Bet Shemesh we went home to Akko. We were all so glad to be back in Akko. As soon as I got off the bus, I smelled the sea salt air and felt the warm sun and it was just perfect. We were back just in time for sunset, too. So I took a couple great shots of James enjoying the view and Khail and James’ bromance. ;)

James enjoying sunset

Khail and James enjoying the sunset together. Awww.

Next week we’ll be at Caesarea and working on our final reports. Only two weeks remain of the teaching and theory part of our internship before those of us working on a practicum begin our work full force. That also means that the people only staying for three months are leaving in two weeks. I am so sad and can’t believe how quickly three months has gone by. In two weeks we’ll be back in Jerusalem to present our mini projects to some high up peoples, apparently. We’ve been told that our work has been talked about quite a bit and these VIPs are very excited to see our work! Not gonna lie, that makes me super nervous but also very excited to be doing some real practical work that makes a difference and be in a professional atmosphere.

Here we go!

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