Sunday in Jerusalem! After breakfast I got all my stuff ready for the return trip to Revidim...checked out of the Austrian and sat outside enjoying the warm breezes and the sounds of the Old City as it's waking up. Church bells are ringing and shop owners are opening up their shop
I needed this day! Ok I admit it, I'm not 25 anymore...my body hurts from muscles I've not used since, well last year! At 7 a.m. Eric and I, and soon joined by other member of the Area F Safi team were sitting and enjoying breakfast and talking about the week...an hour and a half flew by! The coffee was on par with some good strong Caribou Coffee...yes I had multiple cups!!!
After breakfast I worked on my sermon for July 19 when I get back...took a short nap and have been getting caught up on my blog...I've been typing for some 6 1/2 hours...whew!
Tomorrow morning we catch our bus at 11 a.m. and head back to Kibbutz Revidim for my last 4 days at Tel Es-Safi. Have a blessed day until tomorrow's adventures...Shalom!
Today Area F section 26 kept shelling out the surprises! David was working at digging down to a new level..just inches at a time, when he found a 4 inch flint blade...again rare and exciting. I continued to dig where I uncovered the "donut" and the lamp and bowl...the "donut" had been removed so I continued to slowly and methodically use my trowel and brush to uncover and clean the area. Cleaning everything is such an important procedure as everything is documented by photography and the area must be clean. As I continued to widen the area, finding more pieces of the pot and lamp and the paving stone I was using the brush and exposed my own 4 inch flint blade about 3 feet from where David found him...unheard of! Rare to find one but two in Area F...exciting! After much more clean up and sifting every bucket of dirt it was ready for pictures. It was a fun day to be in Israel, to be at Tel Es-Safi and to be part of the team that really enjoys working and being together...I am so blessed to have this educational experience.
At 2:30 p.m. we took the bus to Jerusalem. When we arrived Eric and some others decided to walk to the Austrian Hostel. At the market street we split and Eric and I kept walking...it was a great day to walk. We stopped for Falafels which are usually served in Pita bread and on the inside has these smashed up chick pea balls, add hummas, and all sorts of veggies...I chose onions and a variety of salad type veggies...I chose not to have the hot and spicy variety and topped it off with an ice tea. We sat outside and enjoyed our meal. We entered the Old City through the Jaffa Gate. As we approached Zak's, Eric mentioned that he may be on vacation and his shop would not be opened...however he was still there...very nice to see him and a few shops down Shabaan's shop was open. Zak said that he had to close at 7 so he and his family could go on vacation...we hurried to the Austrian took a much needed shower and at 6 we were back at Zaks antiquities shop. Didn't take long to get my Christmas shopping done...don't worry Lynda I got a good deal on everything! At Shabaan's I got stuffed lamb's for Bennett and Dex and a sling for me...just add rocks...should be fun!
About 7:43 p.m. the canon sounded ending the Ramadan fast for the day, then at 8ish p.m. Shabbat began at the Western Wall. About 10 of us walked there to observe and partake in Shabbat observances. As we arrived at the Western Wall area we had to go through security and when we arrived at the actually area, men went on one side, women on the other. The men are required to wear a head covering and there are Kippah available...I could have kept my Bt
Playing some catch up here while in Jerusalem...been a very exciting time here at the dig...could be some huge historic developments that sweat and time will determine. Last post I mentioned this discovery in Area D...the lower city. Here is the news from the official blog:
Breaking news: The Gigantic Gate of Gath?
The absolutely unbelievable, fantastic, astounding, and in general, quite special news coming from the dig today is that just to the east of the new fortification wall which I noted yesterday (in Area D), it appears that we may have located a monumental city gate of the lower city of Gath! We still have to do a lot of cleaning, defining, digging and measuring to do (to really make sure about this), but it appears that there are really good chances we have truly landed on quite an astounding find!
Why is so important you might be thinking...proof that what scripture says is true. In 1 Samuel 21 we read this:
"That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. But the servants of Achish said to him, "Isn't this David, the king of the land? Isn't he the one they sing about in their dances: "'Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands'?" David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard." (1 Samuel 21:10-13, NIV)
Those in charge are looking at this as being the single biggest find in decades and may become the focal point for the Tel Es-Safi dig for years to come. I've seen the sight twice now and you can see the tops of the wall structure sticking out of the ground...this next week there will be some initial digging during the afternoon...I hope to be a part of that group at least for one afternoon.
As for Area F things are also very exciting as Dr Maeir wrote: In Area F, the pre-fortification phases are being exposed in two areas – and things are looking very interesting. Two LB rooms are being excavated – and both have some really nice finds!
One of those areas is section 26...my area...as we continued to dig toward the Late Bronze 1550-1200--BCE we found some really nice pottery pieces...all on the same level. On that level we found several areas....in the section of our square that I'm working on I uncovered a stone "donut" about 5 inches in diameter near some pots and lamp parts (which hopefully will be restored). Only a few of these "donuts" have been found in the area, they are not sure exactly how they were used, perhaps as a weight for weaving? These items, the "donut" and pottery are on top of a paving stone, which is very interesting. Next, my section partner David and Jonathan also uncovered exciting stuff. David uncovered a bronze tipped arrow head...and very rare. Jonathan uncovered the jaw bone of a goat and either a rounded stone about the size of a baseball that was either a pounder (used to smash as a hammer) or a sling stone...again very exciting to find all this on one level on the section. For me this is a continuation of last year...Dr. Mark Jenkins and I cut down some 6-8 feet to this level...we may not have found anything remarkable last year, but treasures are being uncovered.
I am so glad to be here and to be apart of all the excitement that is going on..last year it was rockets...this year some really exiting archaeology is taking place.
Shalom! Day two started like every other day...up at 4:30 (actually I got up at 3ish...will be glad when the Jet Lag wears off) and the bus leaves at 5. Today in my section we dug down a bit deeper and found some really cool pieces of pottery...I found part of a lamp and some bottom of small jars....next to me was found a small rock that was blue in color, presumably because of being in a fire..there is lots of ash and the assumption is that we may be in cooking area. All the soil that we are digging needs to be sifted to make sure we don't miss smaller items....another area below us found a blue bead and an earring as the result of sifting the soil.
For the second day I rode back with Dr Jeff Chadwick and Dr. Eric Welsh and we stopped in area D to examine their finds over the last couple of days...can't say anymore about this until it is officially released...amazing stuff! Area D sits below Tel Es-Safi right along the Valley of Elah, of David and Goliath fame. From the dried up river bed I was able to find 5 smooth stones...will make a nice display in my office, maybe I'll pick up a sling in the Old City of Jerusalem this weekend.
When we got back we had lunch then showered and washed clothes and send the afternoon watching as our Area F supervisors examined pottery shards...they determine what is worthy of keeping and which are tossed away.
I did get in a much needed nap before supper...salad and tuna again....lol!
Sitting here in the cool of the evening I'm reminded how blessed I am to be here again this year. I have so enjoyed my times in Israel and it does cause me to reflect on my faith and the need to grow closer to Christ day in and day out...Shalom...until tomorrow.
Shalom...Greetings from sunny, hot and relatively safe and quite Israel! Had two uneventful flight from Kansas City to Newark, NJ and a enjoyable 10 hour flight to Tel Aviv..from there going through security was painless, got my luggage, hopped a Taxi (240 NIS or about $63). Made it to Kibbutz Revidim, where I will call home the next 10 days...got settled in, met my other 4 roommates and made it in time for supper. Guess what I had spaghetti, salad and TUNA. I will have the opportunity eat Tuna, morning, noon and night...yep...Tuna.
After supper...jet lag really set in...unpacked, showered and was asleep by 9...and just as I'll have Tuna...I was awake around 2:30 a.m. (for you in CDT we are 8 hours ahead of you). Sleep evaded me until the alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. then it's up and get ready to get on the bus which leaves at 5:15 a.m. Mornings at Tel Es-Safi/Gath are wonderful...the sun is coming up and its cool and it hit me...I'm back! The long walk up to the first level was easier this year...lets see, I'm 30 pounds lighter than last year and the past several weeks of bike riding really helped...thanks Billie Neice for your encouragement! The walk to Area F near the top of the Tell was fun and exciting what God was going to teach me this year!
Since I a day late arriving I was thrust into new work in the area I worked in last year Section 26...This year we are just working on the lower area of F and are in search for more EB (Early Bronze 3330-3050 BCE) to MB (Middle Bronze 3330-1200 BCE) Should be interesting in 26 and to see what the other areas uncover.
Breakfast was at 9:00 a.m. with the mile walk down and back and we concluded the day around 12:45 p.m. Lunch was when we got back and as the usual pottery was the norm in the afternoon followed by shower, washing my dirty work clothes and a quick nap. Supper is soon...7 p.m. followed by a lecture, then sleep...get behind me Jet Lag! Hey...two guys on our F group are from Minnesota and are awesome MN sports fans...YES! That's all for now...we will see what tomorrow brings...Shalom!
I am back in the USA...regrets....hmmmm....sirens and missiles....no not in the least! Sunday was a nice relaxing day...after breakfast I walked down to the beach and watched as the waves rolled in...it was very windy and not many people were enjoying the sun and surf! At the Banana Beach cafe I enjoyed another mint lemonade, yes I really like that!
I was so excited about coming home that I woke up at 3:00 am and there was no more sleep! Had one last round of eggs Benedict and met my taxi at 8:00 a.m. to Ben Gurion airport...got through the first wave of Israeli security, then had to wait a half an hour before United Airlines opened up. All security points went smoothly! As the boarding process began, a security agent came running telling us, in Hebrew (of which I do not speak) to move away from the windows and further into the airport as the airport was under Hamas missiles, I heard 2 booms and someone else said that they heard three, Iron Dome won again! After a 15 minute halt we were back loading. Good thing I left yesterday as they are restricting flights out of Ben Gurion today until further notice. Good flight, delayed out of Newark and arrived in Kansas City at around 10 pm...it was so good to see Terilyn there to pick me up!
Had a good nights sleep...lunch at Five Guys and now enjoying coffee at the Lawrence Dunn Brothers, safe and sound!
Reflecting on the past two weeks...It will take some time to digest all the experiences and knowledge that will enrich me as a pastor. Going on an archeological dig has been a lifelong dream...mission accomplished! Thanks for taking the time to read this blog, hopefully I was able to capture some of what transpired over that past 2 plus weeks! And yes I would still "choose rockets."
This will be my next to last blog entry as my archaeological adventure is rapidly coming to a close. I had a great nights rest...much needed and didn't have to get up at 4:30 a.m. Had a great breakfast: Eggs Benedict, side salad and coffee!
After breakfast, I headed for Old Jaffa...it was a wonderful mile and a half walk along the beach. It was very windy, the whitecaps were great for those with surfboard. The beach was busy, as the young and old were enjoying the beautiful day.
As one enters Jaffa you see the Clock Tower, (The Jaffa Clock Tower is one of the seven clock towers built in Israel during the Ottoman period and stands three-stories high, topped with a multi-gabled roof.) Strolling through Jaffa I realized that not many shops were open, either because it was too early or because it was the sabbath. As I continued to walk around the city I came upon St. Peter's church, (St. Peter’s, which holds daily Mass in several languages for a lively local congregation, was built in 1654 over a medieval fortress. In the late eighteenth century it was twice destroyed, and the present structure was completed in 1894. World history is never far away anywhere in Israel, and Jaffa’s St. Peter’s is no exception: a room at the church reportedly hosted Napoleon Bonaparte when he came to the city in 1799.)
Stopped at an ice cream shop and enjoyed a great bowl of dark chocolate ice cream! Enjoyed the walk back and enjoyed resting and relaxing at the hotel. On Sunday I plan to Skype with the folks from Village Baptist, hopefully there will not be any sirens like last week! I think my final entry will be when I am in Lawrence, Kansas, USA!
Happy 38th anniversary to the love of my life and my best friend, Lynda. This is one day, I truly wish I was home!
Unbelievable to think that two weeks have evaporated and there is only one more long walk to Area F! I do have to admit that the walk up is getting easier...guess I'm getting in better shape and I still do "choose rockets" even as we had one siren go off and we again used the Bronze Age and Iron Age for cover...we heard the boom a few miles away.
Today we didn't dig anything new, instead of trowels we used brushes and cleaned up our areas so that they could be photographed and protected for next year. The volunteers received a very nice memento from the staff...it will hold a very special place on my desk.
We ended our time with Dr. Jeff taking down the flag, while humming the theme song from Pirates of the Caribbean, the pirate flag was retired, so was my archaeological experience at Tell Es-Safi. This has been a blessed time of work, learning, and a little stress!
The taxi came at 2:00 and I was at the Eden Hotel in Tel Aviv a little over an hour later...my room is small, but very comfortable! Since I didn't have a time to shower before we left the kibbutz, that was first on the list...the fine dust from Safi is really nasty. Since I'm only a couple of blocks from the beaches I wandered there and had a great burger at a beach cafe called the Banana Beach...they also have this lemonade with mint leaves is awesome! In Jerusalem I had this, and it was kinda like a slushy with mint leaves...this was squeezed lemonade...I'll be buying some mint leaves when I get home....wonder how Caribou Coffee with mint leaves will taste?
In the evening I tried to Skype with Lynda in Montane...bad connections...sorry. Used FaceTime with Joyanne which was fun! Watched some Fox News on the tv and I think I fell asleep about 9 p.m. And didn't wake until after 6 a.m. Much needed rest! After breakfast tomorrow I'll desire what I'll do on Saturday.
it just does not seem possible that after 24 years I'm not at Sonshine in Willmar, Minnesota. Sweating in the Minnesota sunshine rocking with FF5 or sweating at Safi? Glad I'm here!
Same routine...as every day...but the experience of walking up the Tell is new every day...trying to imagine what was built here thousands of years ago and how those people lived their lives. Looking over the Valley of Élah. In I Samuel 17 it says..."Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them. A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp."
So I overlook that valley where this event happened. Dr. Jeff Chadwick gave us a demonstration of sling throwing and can see that it was a very dangerous weapon even today. Palestinians use it against Israeli police in riots...we were told that they cut the tongue out of old Nike shoes and use the laces for a primo weapon. Imagine getting hit in the forehead with a rock the size of a racquet ball thrown by Nolan Ryan, that would ruin your day..it did Goliath's. Dr. Chadwick mentioned that David was not the underdog, in fact it was Goliath that brought a knife to a gunfight....David knew how to use the sling, as a shepherd he had practiced, had killed a lion and bear according to scripture. What David really had going him was skill and as scripture says, "David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands..." Ah...how the between the lines of scripture comes to life!
Today in our area 26D of Area F we opened up a new locus site and used pick axes and dug down about 6 inches and found the tops of the city wall...it was one of the answers to the questions the team leaders were looking for. So wether these were Late Bronze Age or Iron Age 1 the pottery will tell the story. It is interesting how from lower F to middle F (where I'm working) you can follow the city wall of Gath. cool! so very Cool! I'm glad we "chose rockets" rather than giving up on the dig!
Got back, lunch and pottery washing and got my luggage together for the last day and trip to Tel Aviv. We had our farewell party to tonight with make it yourself Falafel, if you don't know what they are Google!
After supper had our usual Iron Dome viewing party on the lawn in front on our home sweet home and Hamas sent up their usual volley, which was spiked by Iron Done.