Tuesday, June 28, 2005
A great colleague of mine, James (Jimmy) Harden, came to visit the tel today with Joe Seger and a medium sized entourage. Jimmy teaches at the Cobb Institute of Archaeology at Mississippi State. He is such a good story teller, and I think he would be great to work with. Well, it turns out he is looking for an excavation to send students next summer, and he was impressed with the director's (Ron Tappy) meticulous and erudite publications. I think Zeitah would be a great place for him and others to send students. It is a relatively small excavation, usually with about 20-40 students. This means that students get the opportunity to do just about everything: excavate, draw to scale top plans and sections, record data, hear some great lectures by expert archaeologists in the region, and go on two excellent field trips, one to the Galilee, one to the Negev. They leave here after 3-5 weeks with a much better understanding about the discipline of archaeology, the background to the Bible and ANE history, as well as modern Middle East history/religion. I need to remember in the Fall to contact others I would love to work with, including Jim Anderson, Jennie Ebeling, and I would even love to try to convince my good friends Jeff Geoghegan, Mark Gstohl, Sr Stachow, and Bart Everson to join me.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Week Two Over at Zeitah
The dig is 40% over, and things are getting much busier. I managed through diplomacy and politiking to get an ethernet cable in my room, so I've been more successful at ichat-ing with my wife and son. We had many visitors to the tel last week, including a group from ASOR and the Antiquities Authority. We spent the first part of the work continuing prep work, fixing the sand bags on the baulks, etc. But now we're in full swing digging. My 10x10 square (O-19) has been fairly straight forward. We are continuing a probe we conducted last year to the south, and we basically have two destruction layers, both Iron II. One dates to around 830-815 BCE (based on C-14 and pottery) and the other is about a century earlier. I very much enjoy the biblical archaeology aspect to this all. I worked at sites in South Jordan sort of out of the scope of the biblical authors, but this place Zeitah is right on the border with Judah and Philistia. We only have about 16 ceramics that are definitely Philistine, so it seems clear this is a Judean site. My student Roy is doing great. He is off to the Galilee this weekend. Kalypso my daughter is doing great, though she took the death of a bird pretty rough. Her earlobe also has an infection, but we've been taking better care of that lately. She has been to all of the lectures, and she has told me that college is boring. She of course if right.
Hazael Aram Usurper
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Week One Over at Zeitah
The dig is going OK thus far, and we just finished week one of five. Basically the week was spent doing prep work. We had to cut down the weeds which had overgrown on the tell. Friday we spent replacing sandbags all around the several 10x10 m squares previously excavated. Also last year’s benchmark for elevations appears to have been off a couple of centimeters, as this year’s readings on the same monuments are slightly higher. Next week I believe we will really start excavating. We are basically working in two Iron II destruction phases. One from ca. 830, the other slightly earlier. Kalypso my daughter is doing well. She reads and takes photos for much of the work day, but she is helpful when I need someone to fetch tools, and most important, I really enjoy spending time with her. My student Roy is doing very good thus far. Filling sandbags on Friday was very labor intensive. I’m still pretty sore, so I’m glad we have the weekend off. I learned last night that Roy is quite a dancer, and other volunteers taught my daughter some pretty smooth moves. Most of the volunteers are going to Jerusalem for the weekend. We’re staying put to sleep, read, eat, and do a bit of research.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Zeitah Day Two.5
I'm pretty exhausted. Today was our first day of getting up at 4 AM. We had cleared weeds yesterday, and today we had to do a bit more clearing, but mostly we swept and cleaned the three old 10mX10m squares on top of the tel. THey looked pretty good, save for a few baulk collapses. Tomorrow we should begin excavating until the new sand bags arrive. I keep sneezing as the allergies from weed clearing and breathing dust is not so easy. We have a fairly small crew, and it seems as if about six or seven will be working in my square up on top of the tel dealing with the Iron II material. Kalypso seems to be enjoying her time on the kibbutz, and she has been pretty good in the field so far. You can read more about her experiences here. Roy, my student from Xavier, has been doing a great job. These first two days are always the hardest. I'm off to pottery washing.
And Some dig photos
And Some dig photos
Friday, June 10, 2005
Godless America? An Amazing Radio Show
iSight/iChat Internet Father
As usual, I'm spending a month and a half of the summer in the Middle East excavating. This time in Israel at Tel Zeitah, where I was last summer for the first time. What is unusual is that this time my daughter Kalypso, age 9, is with me (as is my student Roy DuBose III), so that means I only have to miss two people in my immediate nuclear family: Therese and Gilgamesh. But this year we have two iSight cameras and using iChat we are able to video chat with amazing clarity. The time zones create some havoc, as we typically video chat right when Therese and Gilgamesh are waking up, so my son is a bit out of it. But I think the separation is somehow easier for both of us to see each other in real time. I used to excavate in south Jordan where even placing a phone call was impossible. I would say goodbye for a month and a half with no contact. Video chat is excellent, the sound quality is at least as good as the phone, but we get to see each other in fairly clear video. The delay is very minimal. Also, using Flickr, this blog, and my daughter's blog, all the friends and relatives can keep up to date and share our experiences. My point is that in this specific case I believe that the internet and technology have improved my life. But that was not the case on the way over here, when the computers at Continental almost didn't allow my daughter to board the plain, because they decided she didn't have a ticket. The human at the Continental desk intervened and the computer backed down.