An unofficial blog on the archaeological excavation at Horbat Omrit, northern Israel. 22 May to 22 June 2010.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I'm at Ben Gurion Airport ready to leave in 2 hours. This has to be the best airport in the world since it has free wifi.

A highlight of the trip today, we went to Herodion. This is a large hill just west of Bethlehem where Herod (yes, that Herod) leveled the top off and built a palace.Here are few pictures from the top.
Herodion had a very deep cistern.

Then on to Bethlehem. But through the "security fence." What a monstrosity.

I might as well show you a picture of the crusader Church of the Nativity.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

What a crazy hotel. No clock, no news channel on the TV and no free Internets. A good tub to soak the dirt off though.

Did I mention that we were going to a reception at the American Colony Hotel last night? Since the president and trustees of Macalester College are still in the country (yes, still), an alumni event was planned for any in the region who could make it. Some did but it was mainly the Omrit students who scarfed down the free beer and wine. Which helped make it a successful evening.This morning I took the hotel shuttle down to the Old City of Jerusalem and walked back, about 2 miles, getting back before it got too hot. I'm spending the afternoon in the air conditioning! Here's a few pictures from my walk:I only enclose this picture of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre because of its famous ladder.
I'll blog from Ben Gurion Airport tomorrow night and then this adventure will be over!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday, we begin the trip home, 3 days in Jerusalem and then a 13 hour flight to Atlanta. John, Mickey and I have our own wheels and so start out with a latte at Katusha Corner. Katushas are the rockets that fell there in abundance during the last war with Lebanon. Then to Megiddo, the location of Armegeddon as outlined in Revelation. It dominates a valley that was a major road from Egyptian times on. Lots of battles there so it became a metaphor. The ultimate metaphor. There was a lot of archaeological activity there and we mouched a tour of one of the sites. We are, after all, comrades.

In Jerusalem, we're at a fancy hotel from which we can almost see the old city.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sorry about the delay, I had trouble at the kibbutz getting on the Internets, but now I'm at a 5-star hotel in J-Town. But more about that tomorrow. Or today, as it is.

Saturday started out early – one trip out to the square at 4:30am to draw pictures. We have to make a grid drawing of all the stones left in the square. And also all the stones in the sides of the square. But it was cool with a soft light and actually pleasant. (Thanks, Caroline for going out to help.)

In the afternoon, a little cleaning up around the kibbutz, storing equipment away, finishing up the paperwork. Done! At night our last BBQ around the kibbutz's olympic size pool. A little self-congrats, passing out of t-shirts to local friends of the dig, a lot of beer, and then a good sleep. And I did. Here's some pics from our closing ceremonies:

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday, June 18

OK, last day in the field. Well sort of, a little cleaning up to do. Here is a shot of the 2nd square I worked on. Lots of good stuff, tumble from the temple when it fell, however it fell.Here is a shot of a plain, round column drum that has been fluted with plaster. It's easier than carving the fluting. Kinda neat.Friday night we went to a Druze village for supper. We got a tour of the town (yes, we did look silly and got a lot of attention.) There are two Maronite Christian churches in town (one in ruins). But after all the wars and commotion in the Golan Heights there are only two Christian families in the village. We were assured that every one got along. The Druze are a heretical offshoot of Islam, started about 1000CE in Egypt. They didn't fit in too well there and soon moved to this more remote area. We got a lot of information about the Druze belief in reincarnation. (It seems God is giving us a lot of chances to prove ourselves.)

The restaurant was outdoor and had a grape arbor for an overhead cover.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday, June 17

A hectic morning, finishing up our square to be photographed. I'll try for pictures tomorrow. We had a grand showing of a frescoed wall that surrounded the earliest temple here at Omrit. It dates to around 40BCE. We don't find many spectacular things here (aside from the temple itself, of course), but this 20 ft x 10 ft section of wall is certainly one of them:The afternoon was spent getting my paperwork ducks in a row, still a bit left on that. In the late afternoon we took a student to Akko (ancient Acre of the Crusaders) to catch a train to the airport as she's leaving early. Here's Katherine and John at the Akko train station (Hi, Katherine), followed by the sun starting to set over the Mediterranean.
When we arrived in Akko and opened the car door, the air was warm and humid and down at the shore there was the smell of the sea. I could only think of one thing: Florida!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday, June 16

Here is a not very good photo I took yesterday on the bike trip. Under the "a" is where we dig. Under the "b", up the hill, there was a battle between Syria and Israel during the 67 war. Above and to the right of the "a", up on the slope of Mt Hermon, is a Crusader castle.Just as we were finishing up our dig for the month (cleaning for photos tomorrow) we found this piece broken off from a Corinthian Capital from the top of a column:Since we are finishing up our square, we went into town to eat a little shwarma or a vegetarian falafel. Here we are at Shlomo's Baguettes: