Sunday, June 3, 2012

Day 3: Preparing to Dig

I know 4 a.m. comes at the same time everyday, but until today it had remained somewhat of a stranger to me.  Even in my days of competitive swimming, the absolute earliest hour I saw was 5 a.m.  Getting ready to go by 4 a.m. however, did not prove difficult for most of us.  We were excited to get back to the cite.

Upon arriving at our site, only the first hint of sun began to pierce the sky above the Sea of Galilee.  In relative darkness (and quietness thanks to our level of wakefulness), we descended a small hill to the base of the areas natural spring before ascending to the hilltop where I site sits.  Instead of carrying dig equipment along this path, many of us were both surprised and overjoyed to find Miki's truck (the dig administrator) sitting at the top of the site.  

When we arrived, we broke into teams.  Everyone had a task.  Some more glorious than others.  I did not envy the latrine crew, who dig a modest hole in the ground away from the site.  Our group cleared rocks and brush from Area 2000, where I worked last year, in preparation to begin digging tomorrow.  Tomorrow morning, we will section off two new squares in our area and begin to excavate them.  The plan is to further explore the domestic structures in our area.  Last year, we came down on some walls but we are unsure of how deep they go or from where the originate.  One of the larger walls collapsed at some point in the past, and our excavations this season will hopefully tell us if time or something more sinister is the culprit.

Today was hot.  It was hotter than any of the days of digging last year.  Shua, the assistant director of the site, told me that the neighboring city of Tiberias had a high of 38 C, which would put our site right around 35 C.  I only know looked up the conversion (I had thought maybe it would be in the upper 80's F) to find that it was between 95-100 F.  It was not until the end of the morning that shade cloths began to rise around the site.  Hopefully the shade will make tomorrows task of breaking new ground a bit cooler if not easier.

Upon our return, a bar of ice cream and a 2.5 nap greeted me with what proved to be the perfect remedy to an incredibly hot and muggy day.  We are now about to attend our first lecture of the trip on proper digging technique.  I will post a few pictures from the day below.  Thanks for reading.

Taking off the geotextile cloth that we laid last year to preserve the site.
A view of our square from las year (Square 7-7)
An achrabut (pronounced 'ach-ra-boot'), Hebrew for "Scorpion eater."  It is named for its propensity to devour scorpions, I do not care to get too close to it.  I used the zoom lens for this one.