Monday, June 29, 2009

Breaking The Hardpack

Today we've added a few new members to the digging crew and soon there will be more.

It was much cooler on the site today, with a nice breeze from the NE. A coin was found as well as a large storage vessel which was of course crushed but all of the pieces seem to be there. Hopefully, this will allow us to reconstruct the entire pot.

The water in the lake was amazing today... "not too hot and not too cold... here we go again boyz II men...... b-b-b-b-b-boys" A little choppy but nice and refreshing... the bIIm remix, not the water.

Found out today that the tour to Jerusalem will be free! Free is always better! That's this coming weekend.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Wine All Tastes Like BLOOD!

Wow, what an amazing and exhausting weekend. I've seen so much that my eyes are pleading with me for naps and energy bars. Today we went far far north toword the Lebonese border to a site called Tel Dan. Tel Dan was a Roman city, 1st century, like most of the major archaeological sites in Israel. This one was forested and cool, surrounded by a number of fresh water springs and beautiful mountains. I had no idea Israel could look like this.

After Tel Dan was a site called Tel Hadsur and was very impressive. The city itself was at once huge and situated on top of a mountainous hill (tel), like most Israeli cities in this area including the modern ones. Dan had a large man built water storage cave that descends 140 ft down and was all carved with 1st century tools.

Saturday was also exhausting but was much more exciting. We started the trip at Zipporri (Sepphoris). The site contained many well preserved 1st c mosaics, most of which I have pictures of... scenes of centaurs and Amazon women with one breast and an enormous illustrated story about the Nile and Alexandria.

We next drove through Nazareth in search of a church which we finally found but couldn't find parking so we headed on. The city itself was an amazing experience though. The homes are built on the hillside right on top of each other and when you get to the top of the hill the view is amazing.

Next was Megiddo, and there was all kinds of nashing of teeth and the sky turned to blood, but it was all good cause JC and I punched our fists in and blew it out and the winds calmed... The ancient site was the largest we had seen yet and was most imppressive. The site is most well known in modern times to be the birth place of the word armegeddon. The city had amazing stables that ran the length of the streets and a large underground sistern which we climbed down into. All hand carved with the same tools as Hadsur's.

The city of Beth She'an was by far the most impressive city we've seen so far and the last one of our Sat. tour. Within the walls of the city and four major city gates, there was an ampitheatre, 2 bath houses (1 Roman, 1 Byzantine), and many other monumental architecture. The streets were paved with polished marble and many many mosaics and columns. During the 1st century this city would have been magnificent.

Gotta gonow, they're kicking me out.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Week 1 Done

I'm going to jump on and say RIP MJ. That's really unfortunate... I will forever be rocking with you.

Today was an interesting day on site. As effecient as we are, we cleared enough dirt and pottery and other artifacts to warrant boulder moving. Dr. Arav hired some arab workers from a nearby town to clear large rocks and some modern Syrian bunkers that dissect the Roman portion of the city (layers 1-2). The workers were not too happy about taking orders from our site supervisor who happens to be a women. They were mocking her in Arabic and carying on. Other than that the day was pretty uneventful... no major finds. I spent much of the day washing pottery, which was a nice break from digging.

This weekend will also be a nice break for we will be doing some touring around the Galilee region. The plan is to go to the mountains in the north near Lebanon... I've heard it's beautiful. On the other side of the mountain pass we will come to the Mediteranean where we plan to swim and picnic. After which we will make our way back to the Kibbutz and stop at a few sites along the way. Sunday is Nazareth and a few more ancient sites in the south... can't wait... need swim and shower.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Surveying Today

Today I serveyed the area we are digging. Bethsaida is a very large city and we are diging in a fairly small area, but that doesn't mean the surveying is easier. Presice measurements and drawings have to be made and taken with ancient tools... well tools from the 1930's. Not to mention the temp. today it got up to 110 and it felt every bit of that in the shade.

After digging I went with a dorm mate for the most amazing swim of my life in the Sea of Galilee. The water was like a mirror and the mountains and ridge cities were clearly seen in the reflection. It was cool and nice.

I must got to pottery reading and lecture.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I must remember to continuously drink water. It is so hot here in the mid afternoons that I've been sweating most of the moisture from my body in minutes. I felt miserable most of the day due to dehydration but tomorrow should be better. I've drank nearly 5.5 liters today so far. Can't wait for the sun to go down

Off to pottery reading, we found some larger body pieces today that will hopefully match an earlier discovery with a really incredible pattern.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I am in Israel on an archeological excavation at the biblical site Bethsaida. The site itself is located just east of the Jordan river. We are staying on a kibbutz called Ginnosar (much like a commune) on the Sea of Galilee a few miles south from the site. During the morning we dig and at noonish we return for lunch and showers. Digging is hard work in the heat but definitely rewarding. I've been finding a great deal of Roman pottery shards, mostly wall shards the size of a finger, some as big as my hand. Handles are not as commonly found, but I happened to find several today. Most exciting part of the day was the base of a Hellanistic style bowl almost fully intact, found by one of the women in the group. She made the find just as the History Channel filming crew showed up to shoot an episode of the Naked Archeologist. I had never heard of the program, but it was fun to watch none the less. No one however was naked. The crew interviewd the woman who found it and of course they spent a number of hours filming Dr. Arav the archeologist who found the site in 1986. They did actually film us digging for quite a while, but who knows if they'll use the footage.

I will continue to update throughout my stay here. Unfortunately I'm unable to upload photos from this community computer... they may have to wait til I return.