Thursday, June 20, 2013

Another Season in the Books

Yesterday morning, the volunteers and staff of the Huqoq Excavation Project headed our separate ways as our 2013 dig season officially ended.  Some flew back to where they called home, while others set out to travel.  A group of us headed for Jerusalem, where I am now staying until Monday. A drive for the extended stay was to see the Herod the Great exhibit in the Israel Museum. 

The closing of a dig can be a stressful endeavor. It involves a lot of dirt, a lot of packing heavy tools, and a lot of time in the sun. This year, however, the amount of stress was easily levied by the group of volunteers who pitched in to help. The two days of work were almost completed in one, which allowed time for a few antics and a bit more rest.

      Jocelyn moving dirt to help backfill our square. This is a measure taken to help preserve the site.

A kibbutz dog who followed us to the site had an affinity for tuna juice. Bryan was happy to share.

After arriving in Jerusalem yesterday morning, we settled at our hostel for a bit and then headed to the Israel Museum. No matter how many visits I will make to the museum, I am sure there will always be more to see. It is incredible standing before artifacts that, "changed the game" in the worlds of social sciences and archaeology. The feeling was no different this year.

The plans for today are to head to the market just down from our hostel with Shua and head to her family's house later tonight to again enjoy a generous invitation to a Shabbat meal 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Late Start

With my computer on the verge of no longer functioning, I have found it difficult to blog during my time in Israel so far. I have resorted to using my iPad, which renders typing a bit more of a tedious task. Instead of trying to write about all of our adventures thus far, I am going to begin with only recent trips and insights.  That being said, I wish that I would have been writing this entire time.

On Tuesday of this week, Dr. Michael Chazan, a lithics expert from the University of Toronto, took us a few miles up the road to visit Mugharet el-Zuttiyeh, which translates to, "Cave of Robbers" in English. A specimen named the "Galilee Man" serves as the earliest evidence of hominids in the Western Hemisphere (Homo hidelbergensis to be exact).

                                                      Walking up to the cave.

                                                    View from within the cave.

Following our trip to the cave, we journeyed to Tiberias where we were able to get some food and relax for a couple of house before returning to the kibbutz.

The actual digging has been wonderful, as it is every year.  I will write more about what we have done this year and why we have done it once I return to the states.

In addition to our final week of digging, one day stands out amongst the rest: today. This afternoon, following lunch, we are heading to the Mediteranean Sea for a swim. Following our Mediterranean respite, Jodi has purchased tickets for us to see Idan Reichel in the ancient theater of Caesarea Maritima--the theater built by Herod the Great in honor of Augustus. (By the way, the "Great" in Herod's name derives from his massive and successful building projects.) Jodi surprised us with our itinerary earlier in the week to much applause. Not only is the music sure to be amazing, but it is hard to contain excitement at the prospect of going to a show in the same place the Roman populace and dignitaries went to over 2000 years ago.

The excavation portion of this season ends later this week, but some friends and I will be spending a bit of time in Jerusalem before returning home.  On the list of activities to which we are looking forward is spending time with Shua and her family for Shabbat (they have graciously extended an offer to us again), visiting the Herod the Great exhibit at the Israel Museum, and possibly touring the West Bank via a group tour at our hostel. I will try to post a bit more in the upcoming days.