Sorry I missed blogging yesterday. Usually, day at the Tell, there was talk of a cease fire, but that didn't last long as the siren near the Tell went off mid-morning. When we got back at 1:30 p.m. I noticed that my ankle was a little swelling and a bruise developed on my right foot. I had noticed earlier that my sock was a little tight and was cutting off circulation, fixed it and continued working. I then skipped lunch to put my foot up. One of the staff stopped by and saw the bruise and got all excited, she talked to one of the people in charge who said that I needed to go see the doctor. Before long I was being driven to a nearby hospital...long story short the doctor said that because of the heat, the walking and climbing, and the tight sock, it caused a small blot vessel to break...rest it, elevate it and ice it, bit no doffing tomorrow. Wonderful!
So I did just that today...got up at 6:00 a.m. in time to watch the last few innings of the All Star Game! Iced my foot and ankle...then went to the office where I and a few others wrote on pottery for the next 6 hours. I did stop for a bit and re-iced mid morning...the swelling and discoloration is better, I could have worked on the Tell, but them...can't fight City Hall or so they say.
After lunch I washed bones that are collected, not human. The bones are studied to give an indication of what was eaten by the people of that era. After that we washed more pottery, re-iced and now it is time for supper and a lecture afterward. I certainly will be walking up Tell es-Safi tomorrow and the last day on Friday. Then it's on for Tel Aviv for the weekend and fly back home on Monday? Thanks for all your continued prayers!
Let's back up to Sunday...we left the Austrian Hospice in Jerusalem at 9 am, walked out the Damascus Gate and caught the light rail for Central Station, walked to our waiting bus...arrived at Revadim where the kibbutz is located in an hour. We washed pottery for an hour...had lunch and washed more pottery and yes we are now caught up. At 6 I Skyped with the folks at Village, sorry about the siren, those darn rockets! Called back...was really fun to see and hear familiar faces and voices!
Got a pretty good nights sleep...up at 4:45 am and on the bus at 5:15 and up to Area F by 6! The walk up is getting a little easier every day...by my last day on Friday it will be easy, well not really! If you look at the picture on top Area F is at the very top.
Today the area I work in, we found a section of the city wall. To those who are studying Tel Es-Safi they were pretty excited, because they can see how that Philistine Wall is continued from the middle section of Area F to the lower section. And it is pretty cool to uncover something that has been buried for some 3000 plus years. I am becoming quite adept of using a small hand pick, trowel, picking out pottery fragments, bone, flint, etc. the day goes so fast!
We had only one siren go off at the tel, we hunkered down in the 9-10 century b.c. remains and watch as the Iron Dome does its thing! After lunch at the Kibbutz I wanted to take a name, but didn't happen, got in a shower and rinsed out some clothes and Jesse the office coordinator stopped by and told me that I was changing rooms...so I packed up all my stuff and moved from a room with 5 guys to one with few people and more room...score!
At 4 we went to tour Tel Burna, when is the Biblical city of Libnah, Numbers 33:20; Joshua 22:9 and many other references. It's exciting when archaeology confirms the Biblical record! Got back for the same old Salad Bar supper...every meal is the same. When I get back to Newark airport I'm going to have another smash burger classic!
After supper we hung out on the lawn watching for rocket...as of yet not a one! I Skyped with Lynda, that was fun and the I did FaceTime with Joyanne while she was at work...sorry Joyanne, but how many times do you get a call for Israel?
Four days on the dig site left...I'm sure it will go fast and in a week I'll be back in the good old US of A! Five Guys on Tuesday in Lawrence! Thanks for all the prayers..keep them coming!
Howdy everyone! Saturday in Jerusalem was very relaxing! Breakfast served at 7, then several of us walked around the old city, had a falafel or lunch and then went shopping. Returned to the Austrian Hospice, rested and hung outside in a very nice garden setting. There is certainly tension in other parts of Jerusalem but near us its relatively quiet. Sunday we leave here at 9 a.m. and take the light rail to where we will meet our bus back to the kibbutz and lunch and pottery washing. It really does not seem possible that one week is already gone and will be on the downhill slide come Monday.
Besides the rocket attacks and that whole excitement, I've come down with a cold and not much voice today...not great sleep, lots of fine dust at the dig site has a lot to do with it. Hopefully when I Skype with the folks are Village tomorrow I'll have some voice back.
We ended the day yesterday with a pizza party, got my bag ready to take to Jerusalem, watched more rockets...we find ourselves sitting on the lawn at night, watching...like it's the Fourth of July.
Today started early again, had to drop off our luggage to the office that we were not taking to jerusalem then on the bus at 5:15 a.m. and began the long climb to area F. Today, Dr. Mark and I cut down to another level, dropped down some 3 feet, sifted through the dirt, finding lots of pottery fragments and a very nice very sharp flint knife head, from around the 9 to 10 century bc. Also found a piece of flint about the size of a tennis ball..very unusual. We stopped early, 11:30 a.m. And took a tour of the other areas, then back to the kibbutz where we had 30 min to unload our stuff and get ready to take the bus to Jerusalem.
In Jerusalem the bus let us off and we took the light rail to the Damascus Gate and walked to the Austrian Hospice. Took a much needed shower and a nap. Walked up to the rooftop to a fantastic view of the Old City Of Jerusalem. Tomorrow I'll look around with others from our group. Next week I'm going to Tel Aviv for a long three day weekend, before flying out on the 21st. Appreciate your prayers!
Had a meet and greet in the shelter at midnight! Then Hamas took the night off, or rather the Israel's Air Force bombed them back to Iron Age I. Up at 4:30 a.m. Actually I was up at 3, ya...3 and off to Tel es-Safi at 5:15. To get ready we have to load many jugs of water for drinking and and washing of hands. Then the area F crew hike up to the top, it was spectacular this morning as the sun was coming up, we could almost see the coastline to the west and the hills and high hills to the east...great way to see the geography of the Bible. Then we raise our tent like shelter that covers the did site, the Jolly Roger is raised and we go to work. I have been working with Dr. Mark Jenkins from Evangel University in Springfield, MO. Great to work with and learn from a gifted Christian scholar.
Today we cut down into an area that comes from the 9th or 10th century b.c. Exciting to realize that we are handling pottery, bone (not human), flint, rock and charcoal from the tine David was in Gath and ruled Israel. We dug for some three hours then hiked back down, about a mile for breakfast...salads, yes lettuce, cucumber, peppers, etc...a few different kinds of breads, cottage cheese, yogurt, honey, peanut butter, hard boiled eggs, cereals, hot water for tea or instant coffee, and of course tune fish, there is tuna in the morning and tuna for supper...good thing I like tuna. We then clean-up and hike back up the rocky trail to Area F.
At the end of the day Eric Welch and his crew uncovered a floor, since it was at the end of the day they will examine it closer tomorrow morning...also Mark and I uncovered a softball sized hunk of charcoal, the largest he had ever seen and a rather interesting rock...again we will spend time checking it out tomorrow.
Everything that is collected is marked with several identification points, so if it is bone, pottery, stone...it is given a number...so today I learned to mark each group of items...very meticulous work, this archaeology thing.
We then clean up at 12:30 lower the flag and our tent and carry everything we collected back down to the bus. There are 4 other areas that are also working at different points on the tel. One area uncovered two sets of complete pottery, some 6-7 pots total...I believe they are looking at the Philistine era.
The day was clear and quiet until we reached the bus and off in the distance we heard 3 booms and saw three puffs of white smoke...all that remained of a rockets after the Iron Dome took iout. Oh ya, we did have have some 30-40 Israeli soldiers come by on patrol...we were safe!
This afternoon after lunch I began packing up my backpack for the return trip to the Old City of Jerusalem...then back to the kibbutz Sunday afternoon. Tomorrow we lose almost half the group, they are leaving because of the tensions in the area and their governments would like them to leave, not forcing but strongly encouraging. I however feel very safe, secure in God's protection, no matter where I am.
As of 1:00 p.m. It looks like we can dig tomorrow! Seems that mistakes were made in the governments interpretation of being within 60 seconds of a shelter...we don't have to be! After all we have the remains of Blanche Garde, crusader fort...on the top of tel es-Safi, those walls are massive! All kidding aside, it will be safe, we won't take any unnecessary chances. Majority of the Australian group, about 25 are leaving early...had they only waited a few more hours.
Around here the real archaeologists refer to the letters EB for early Bronze Age and will subdivide that, and so on, Iron for Iron Age, so I've made the distinction that today is LDD II for Lost Day of Digging 2. As you may know Israel is in a bit of a skirmish with Hamas. It has affected the dig as in we have been grounded for the second straight day...we have to be within 60 seconds of an air raid shelter...if fact we had to head for one 10 minutes ago, for the 5 to 6 time. The siren sounds, like a tornado warning, and we head for the nearest shelter, go in, hear boom, boom (today there were 4 booms) as the missiles from the Iron Dome hit their target. Last night I saw many iron dome missiles go up. I want you to understand that we are very safe. The iron dome technology is amazing...and they laughed at Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative(SDI) or "Star Wars"... it works.
Anyway...we will see later on today or tomorrow if the dig gets shut down, one large group from Australia is leaving early, tomorrow or Friday. There is a chance that some of us, including me, will move to another sight, about 15 miles away...where it is safer, so far and dig with I believe a team from a southern baptist seminary from Texas..hopefully.
In the meantime there is the meet and greet in the shelter, going to some really interesting seminars, (the educational opportunities are awesome, many PHDs in the group), learning to read pottery, count the helicopters buzzing by, we are fairly close to an air force base.
Like my Grandma Johnston used to say, "eat your lutefisk" well beside that she would always say, "God is on His Throne" meaning that all is in His hands, He is in control, and I can add no matter where you are. Like the Jewish people say "in Israel it's only a local call to God." Believe me He's on my speed dial! Shalom! Pray for the peace of Israel!
Howdy everyone! Jeff Hicks I brought out the lutefisk idea and was threatened with deportation. Up this morning to the Muslim call to prayer at 3:30 a.m. They do love their chanting, or singing, not sure which, this lasted on and off until well after 4 a
Great flight from KC to Newark and on to Tel Aviv. Overshot the Damascus gate in the Old City of Jerusalem and had to retrace my steps, baggage in tow from Herod's gate and entered the Damascus gate which began the wandering and wondering where the Via Delorosa was located and the Austrian Hospice. Must admit I was getting a bit nervious, when I saw the sign for the Hospice. Met Eric Welch who did his best to keep my awake by walking through the Old City and introducing me to a couple of shop owners in the Christian quarter. The talk in the shops was about the unrest as a result of the 3 Jewish teens that were killed by Palestinians. There are many Israeli troops stationed right outside the Hospice and I'm sure more are around the area...prepared for trouble, rock throwing, etc hoping the tention will pass. It's 9 p.m. and time to call it a long day with very little sleep since yesterday at 3 a.m. Tomorrow we head for the Kibbutz and the dig site at 1 p.m. More later