Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Archeology Of A Border Community

As you all no doubt know, I am a great fan of Time Team. I have always wanted to be an archeologist when I grow up. At one point in my career, I even went for an interview in the faculty of Archeology at the University of Jerusalem. They told me I had not shown enough reverence to my bible studies in my youth and should try another career. So archeology's loss is computer engineering's gain. A while back I noticed on the Raananalist (home of all necessary information covering Raanana and its environs) a lecture course run by the IWC (no idea what that stands for) covering various topics in archeology. It's in the morning, which can be a problem, but I have been getting up so early recently that 9:00am is already half way through my day.

Yesterday I bunked out of work at 8:30am and drove over to the University of Tel Aviv to attend this semester's first lecture entitled "Tel Beth-Shemesh - Archeology of a Border Community in Judea". What an experience. The lecture itself was very interesting and I took copious notes. I could even fool myself into believing I was back in school. But, that was not the half of it. The people. I'm no spring chicken, but I must have brought the average age down by 10 years minimum. They apparently arrived in buses from the various retirement homes in the area. Everyone was very nice and kind. Many people stopped to chat and wanted to know how I enjoyed the lecture and urged me to return next week. The most entertaining bit was their inability to hear the speaker clearly, even though he had a microphone. The audience never let up about this. He constantly had to change the position of his mike until eventually he broke down and held it through the second half of the talk. The hall was filled with silver haired old ladies from New York going "Darlink, I can't hear Darlink, maybe you can turn up the sound a bissle, Darlink". But, I was most impressed with the silver haired ladies' questions. No lightweights here, they clearly has been attending these lectures for all the 30 years since their inception. Their questions were aimed precisely at the controversy that apparently exists between archeologists of various persuasions and they never let up. Riveting stuff.

What can I say, I cannot wait for next week's lecture: "The Last Days of Masada - Archeology Versus Josephus Flavius". I should add that the young ladies sunning themselves on the grass outside the humanities building didn't harm the atmosphere at all.

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