I suppose I’ll start this post off with an apology for yet again not keeping up. And now that its all down to the end, I’ll wrap up the trip with yet another bundle that includes quite a bit of information. So, I apologize in advance, but this one may get a bit lengthy.
I’ll start yet again with the progress at the dig site. Our group has found more tabuns and walls in several squares, as well as lots of pottery and bone fragments. In square 54 (one of my group’s squares), we succeeded in reaching what we believe to be sterile soil. It apparently coincided wit depth of another square’s sterile soil, and we took that as a good level to get some other parts of the square down to. However, being that plans rarely survive contact with the enemy, the plan changed fairly quickly. After beginning to excavate the a nearby part of the square, it was quickly discovered that we were coming down on quite a few stones. So many, in fact, that it may have been a floor or structure of some kind. Digging therefore stopped at that level, and other things were attended to, such as the continued demolition of a balk between our square 54 and a neighboring square. Excavation concluded today, so now all that’s left is lab work.
I’ll take this opportunity to explain that I have been fairly ill over the past two weeks, and while I have been able to work in the field for the majority of it, I have been in the lab for the past few days, helping anyone who needs it. I’ve mostly been washing bones or arranging pottery, but I have also be helping Jeff and others go through the process of flotation, which can help us to find material such as burned seeds and other such things that we would normally miss in our excavations. I figure that tomorrow will mostly be works such as I have just described, though there ma be some last minute cleanup things that we don’t know about yet. I guess we’ll see tomorrow.
And now for the trips. We left for the Northern trip on Friday the Sixth, and made a line for Caesarea Maritima, an amazing Roman and Crusader site. It was located right along the Mediterranean Sea and served as a massive port during its periods of occupation. I had never seen the Mediterranean before, and to see it from amidst the ruins of Roman arches was simply amazing. We also saw the aqueduct that supplied the site with water a few minutes away. A few of us walked along it while everyone else went swimming. It was a marvel of architecture, at least to me.
Next that day was Meggido, a site with a special place in my heart as well as those who also took Prof. Blakely’s class last year. We will always remember this site for its gate that turns left instead of right, and all the implications that has for defenders. We lovingly call it the “Fail Gate”. But it was still remarkable to see, as was the whole site. Couldn’t have picked a better spot for Armageddon if you ask me. After that we stopped at a little reconstruction of the village of Nazareth, and then we were off to Tiberias. I never felt well in Tiberias. Lots of other people went off to enjoy the local nightlife, but I mostly tried to catch up on sleep and relax. But the city itself was very interesting. We were right down by the water and sometimes we’d go down and take walks. That was definitely good enough for me.
The next day we stopped off at Tel Hazor and Tel Dan, as well as Caesarea Phillipi. But what I was really excited for on that day was Nimrod’s Fortress. It wasn’t Belvoir, the site I had wanted to see since before the trip, but it was the only Crusader era site on the agenda, and sick or not I was going to see it. And see I did. It was simply amazing for me, almost beyond words. To see an actual fortress from the era of the Crusades was astounding. I ran myself ragged to see as much as I could, but I could have spent the day there and would have still not had the time I wanted. I explored the walls and the gates, the lower fortress and the upper fortress, even the still-flooded cistern got a visit. It was beautiful. After that we saw an amazingly preserved boat found in the Galilee and then it was back to the hostel.
The last day of the Nothern trip may have been my favorite day of all my time spent in Israel. We started off by looking around for the remains of a mosque somewhere in Tiberias. For one reason or another, we never found it. And so, instead it wsa decided that we would go to Belvoir. Belvoir. The castle I had wanted to see for so long was on the agenda. We stopped off to see the Jordan river for a bit, and then we were there. It was on level with Nimrod for me. It was simply spectacular. The view was just as good as at Nimrod, and it was a fortress. Yeah, Nimrod is gorgeous and cool in its own way, but this castle had stood on its own for a long time, even after the fall of Jerusalem itself. I took more pictures there than any other site. I was first one in and last one out. I felt like crap afterwards, but it was completely and utterly worth it.
Bet She’an was next, and that was a crazy cool site. I liked it even better than Caesarea Maritima, but that’s just me. The final place we went to was Gan Ha’Shlosha, which was primarily used by our group as a swim stop. A small group of us went to the small museum located there instead. It was apparently all donated by a collector, and there was lots of variation in age and culture. We even found a pot that may have been a scene of Hector from the Iliad. After that it was back home.
Last weekend I opted to go back to Jerusalem with some others. Not the greatest idea for me as I would find out later, but it seemed a good idea at the time. The bus-ride wasn’t bad, but we then walked a long way from the central bus station to our hotel. Not so good for me, and I basically got dinner and collapsed soon after our arrival. The next day a small group of us toured the Israeli National Museum, and saw as much as we could of the archaeological section. It was amazing all the stuff they had. We even got to see the Dead Sea Scrolls, which I’d never seen anywhere else. It made for a good day for me, and I rested most of the rest of the weekend.
And now we’re here. On the eve of the of the trip. Well, for some of us. This will not be my last post. I feel too bad about my pathetic attempts to write here to leave it as such. One or two more, I think. But for now, I will cut off my ramblings, and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.