Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Israel Journey, Summer 2014

The Huqoq Excavation Project is gearing up for the 2014 dig season.  Though the dig officially begins on June 1, David, Brian, Jocelyn, and I arrived in Israel yesterday.  There are a few minor projects that need to be completed before we can begin on June 1, so the four of us came early to help.

The trip this year went very smoothly.  We met up at Newark and flew out together late Tuesday night, arriving eleven hours later in Israel on Wednesday evening.  Usually, when we arrive, we meet up with the archaeological team and take a chartered bus directly to Huqoq.  This year, since we arrived early, we took public transportation to a nearby town and were picked up by two of the staff who work on the site:  Shua, who is the co-director; and Orna, who is the preservationist.  From the airport in Tel Aviv, we took a train to Haifa, only getting lost once.  This trip took us along the Mediterranean coast and proved to be a beautiful drive.  I wish I had a picture to share, but at the time, all I could think about was trying to stay awake so we didn't miss our stop.  Of course, though, we did miss our stop.

We had to switch trains once in Haifa, and out of a choice of two trains to board, we chose the wrong one.  The one we boarded was an express train, which made fewer stops.  After realizing our mistake, we waiting for the first stop, which came about 15 minutes after boarding.  We doubled back and found the right stop.

For the last leg, we walked to a nearby bus station and waiting for a bus to take us to Tiberias.  While waiting, we met some Americans who participating on a four-month program in Israel not too far away from we were.  It was nice to trade stories and here about other American's experiences in the country.

When the bus came, we boarded and arrived at our destination about an hour later.  Sleep came easy that night.

This morning, we awoke at 5:30 a.m. and headed to the site by 6 a.m.  It was nice to be back and be working in a place that has been our home for the past three summers.

The first group of volunteers arrive on Friday and the remainder on Saturday.  It is going to be a great season.

For those of you who do not know, following the dig, I am taking two, month-long Modern Hebrew language courses at the University of Haifa, thanks to a generous grant through UNC and the US government.  This blog post was a bit dry, and in the future, I will try to stick to more archaeological and exciting topics.  For the family members and friends who have texted and emailed to ask if I arrived safely, hopefully this post will put your minds at ease.