Today we went on a field trip to two other archeological sites that were being excavated as well as Tiberius, a town on the Sea of Galilee. It was quite an adventure. The first site was Tel Hazor, and it was early, the tour was long, and it was hot out and it was really difficult to pay attention, but there were great views from the top of the tel. We got lost on the way to the second site, and called the director for directions. Instead of telling us to make the second right, he told us to make the first and we ended up driving our huge tour bus up a windy pass next to a ravine where there was only one lane an no guard rails. We turned onto a dirt road, passed a herd of cows, and couldn’t drive the bus any further. We got out and walked down a rocky, treacherous pass to try to find this site, but the road just ended and we all stood around looking for the site. We were completely lost and just hoping that the bulls wouldn’t stampede and gore us. We walked BACK to the bus and went up an even steeper, windier, more treacherous street and finally found a giant man with man capris on the side of the road who turned out to be the dig director. We finally found the site through a barbed wire fence, large field of mud, and a brush fire. Then we had to go DOWN the winding, treacherous road at a 45degree angle. It was the most terrifying bus ride ever. I did however get some awesome pictures.
In my square, we have been digging through the floor of an early bronze age temple, and at the end of the week we found a floor and a wall, from what the directors think is an even earlier temple. It is the oldest structure on the entire site, and is about 5000 years old. We don’t find very much pottery or bone like the other squares do, but that’s alright because we throw a lot of it out after we clean it and look through it. I have enough pottery pieces coming home with me for anyone who wants one.
The BBC came to film my area the other day for a special they are doing. It was pretty cool because they had all their cameras set up and their crew was around and they were SO British. Even though they had no interest in my square, my area will be on tv (in like a year).
So here are some of the weird things that I have noticed in Israel.
- cabbage is served with every meal, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Why cabbage I don’t know, since I don’t think they even grow it in Israel, but there you go.
- There is a secret air force base next to our dig site, which no one is supposed to know the location of. However, when we are at the tel all day we can see the jets rise from the corn fields and hear the booms from when they break the sound barrier. There’s also an IDF firing range near by and during lectures at night we can hear them.
- Clouds. I think we are at a decently high elevation, and so it looks like the clouds are lower than normal and look like they surround us on all sides, especially on the tel.
- Cows. There are cows EVERYWHERE. At the back of the Kibbutz, there are cows that roam around, and they even have alarms that go off if they stray. At the tel, someone’s cows graze all around the site and just eat around the archeology.
- Israelis have a fondness for cement it seems. Bus stops, houses, playground equipment, whatever else you can think of, is probably made of cement.
- It has gone up to 108 degrees so far here, and there are still Kibbutzniks that walk around in pants. Chilly here is like 85 and we all grab our jeans, but 108 is far too hot for anything but shorts and tank tops.
- The wildlife here is pretty awesome/gross. There are huge millipedes, probably a little less than a foot in length and they squirm around everywhere. In the morning you can see their tracks in the dirt, and we have millipede throwing contests where we see who can throw them the furthest off our trowels. There are also really cool lizards that climb up the trees and run around in the bushes. The best/scariest of all are the scorpions. None of the ones I’ve seen have been very big, but i have had a few close encounters. I brushed over one with my gloved hand that was hiding in my dirt, and had one crawl right up my arm. Another fun thing i’ve found are these large crickets with red wings. They are exactly the same color as the dirt, but when they jump you can see their bright red wings.