And in the End… (July 20)

The dig is complete. The field work is officially done, and it is closed out now. All that remains is final lab work and backfilling. Due to when my flight is scheduled for, and the ending of funding for staying at the Khibbutz, I will not be part of that. I leave shortly for home, and while I am sad to see the end of this season, I have had an amazing and educational time.

Before I talk about the overall experience, I will say what I did today. Since so little was needed to be done in the field, I volunteered to help out in the lab for several hours. I helped take measurements, colors, and weights of some of the remaining material culture. This was my first time helping in the lab, and I did find it fun, despite how much of an assembly line way of working it was. I am not sure I can say what exactly was found, but material culture includes things like beads, loom weights, grinding stones, and other small items found at the site that aren’t potter. Some pottery may be included, but only if it is used for something else like a bottle stopper, or burnishing tool.

Anyway, since the first post was about my expectations, this last post will be about the experience as I pack for the journey home. In the first post I made, I said that I believed the work here would be hot, hard, but fun. Well, I was right, but I feel I downplayed how much fun it would be, because I had a complete blast. The first day I held pottery from the Iron Age, I realized that I was holding something that was made so long ago by a person, living and breathing like I am now, but in a time so long ago. It really was incredible. While studying archaeology, you really can’t appreciate the magnitude of even the smallest find until you actually dig it up and hold it in your hand. This is why I am so glad I went through field experience before graduate school, because now I know the magnitude of what I do, and I can do it well now.

The other aspect of this trip was the tours of other sites. I feel this was a perfect compliment to the dig because we were able to see and feel context of the area. Before, during, or after the period our site is at, it didn’t matter. I loved each site, and it pieced together a history for me that I found facinating.

One last thing I must say before I sign out from Israel: my small worries about adapting to a new country were gone after the first day. In fact, just wandering the streets of Jerusalem, smelling the smells and hearing the shop keepers try and get me to buy things at their store, was one of my favorite parts about the trip.

This experience was not only enriching for my education and career, but also culturaly. I am so happy that I was able to come on this trip, and I thank all of the people and programs who supported me to get here and during this trip. I hope other students are able to experience the same things I was able to. Thank you. And now, I await the trip to Tel Aviv, and then home.