Monday, July 13, 2015

We had a wonderful week, probably one of the best dig weeks we've had in a while, especially compared to last year when we were so unkindly interrupted... We have the biggest group we've had so we've been able to move lots of dirt and work on all the projects we've been hoping to. In one square they took a hole down about 2 meters and found more huge rocks in front of our fortification wall from the EB period (appr2500 BC), we're still trying to figure them out, but they are cool. Another area I got to go over and have a little pickaxing time, that was fun :) Lately I've had some much running around and paperwork I haven't even got to do quite so much actual digging; which I guess is the unfortunate downside of being a supervisor and not just a volunteer. But the main square I've been working in came down to a layer with a cobble stone floor, which is exciting because that tells us for sure that it was a real level where people lived from the Late Bronze period (appr 1400-1200 BC)Just on Friday we found a cute little jug base shoved into a whole in the wall, it almost looked like it would come out whole, but the top was already broken off unfortunately. But there was also a little decorated pendant made from bone, which was interesting. We also found another wall in what we thought had just been a tumble of rocks!
In another square we've got lots of cool material from the LB as well- some flint and bronze blades, a bronze spear tip, lamp bowl pieces, and other little things, so that's been exciting.

The most exciting thing from this week was the discovery of a wall down at the base of the Tell which actually turned out to be a gateway. and is a big deal. It basically proves that this city was large and fortified during the 8th century, although some have argued that it isn't. So it's a very big find and has changed the whole dynamic of the project and the research questions being asked. This week we are once again doing double days to expose as much of it as we can to be able to show and prove that it is what we think (and hopefully get some sponsors). The area supervisor down there, Amit, is especially anxious to have Eric and I down there to help and see what's happening. He wants us down there next year in another section digging the wall. So it's getting rather crazy here!

This last weekend was nice. We hung out a little at our friend Zach's shop, he's a really cool guy. Saturday after church Jeff and Kim invite a few other people over and we had dinner at the BYU center. They have a wonderful view from their balcony, so it was great to just sit there and relax with everyone there and then get a fun tour of it from Jeff, who's been here from the beginning basically. We stayed there until the end of Ramadan that night, which is signaled by the muezzin call and then a canon that goes off in E. Jerusalem. We had a perfect view of the canon shot, followed about 4 seconds by the boom as it caught up to us. And it was a beautiful sight to watch the Ramadan lights go on throughout the city and then see the city completely silent as the Jews were inside for their Sabbath and the Muslims were home devouring their first meal after 18 hours of fasting. There are lots of pics from that on facebook that I'm tagged in. We then went over to Ben Yehuda street, which is basically an all night party at the end of Shabbat and always has a random Christian Korean group singing. It's fun :)

Sunday Morning Darra and I got up early-ish and did some adventuring. We went over to the city of David to go in Hezekiah's Tunnel, and after accidentally getting a little lost and climbing a huge hill once more than needed, we made it and managed to get ahead of the groups to be in there one our own. It was fun, especially to switch off the lights and be silent and hear nothing but the dripping water and slight current.

Unfortunately the Temple Mount has been closed for the last 10 days of Ramadan, so we weren't able to go up there, but we made our way to the main market of the New City, Mekhane Yehuda. It's a fun place that I explored last year on my own and found a delicious pasta food place, which I introduced to Darra. And we had fun walking through the market. It's a fun experience and different part of Jerusalem that not many see if they only stick inside the walls of the Old City.

That night we went to the Israel Antiquities Authority meeting for the shmooze and event that happens every July. There weren't too many people we needed to schmooze with, so we mostly just at the delicious (non-kibbutz) food. At one point during the night, though, my new professor from ECU (she's here for the summer) comes over and whispers to me, asking if I want to see something cool. SO I get up and follow her. Turns out they opened the tower for a few people to go up in. This meeting is held at the Rockefeller museum right on the East of the old City, which has a huge tower in front. This tower is rarely opened, especially as it requires a stair climb spiraling the round room up and then a ladder that hangs from a small opening to climb through to get up and outside. And the view is amazing!!! It was really cool and a rare treat, my professor has been coming to Israel since '78, and this was only the 2nd time she'd got up there. Unfortunately neither of us had cameras, but it was cool, and I decided I made a good decision in choosing my new mentor :)

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