Saturday, July 12, 2014

Back To The Salt Mines

Jo's "artistic rendition" of WL10/12 in SQ. N10SW
Well, it's over. Our four weeks of excavation ended Thursday evening. The Megiddo team will continue for another three weeks, but bwo and I will only be in Israel till Tuesday and then it's  back to the UK (rocket's willing). It was sad to say goodbye to the team. We have all grown quite close over many breathless trudges up the Tel, bucket lines, filthy clothing, strong coffee with waflim and egg based meals. And then there is the archaeology, which was fantastic. This was my third season digging at Megiddo, and I am starting to get a clue. At the start of the season I got to work in Square O9, the best square in the best area (Area K). There were a number of questions surrounding Tomb 100 (in O9) which I got to ponder with Mario (Area Supervisor and all around best person). Once we were done with this, I got to move around and work on various other issues. On the last few days I got to excavate and document an interesting grinding stone/pebble assemblage.

Bwo drew sections (the picture above is the result of one of her more artistic moments). This required her to accurately draw walls and baulks which meant a lot of measurements. She also took on her natural role as the mother of the area. She doled out cookies, medicines, massages and advice. They will miss her more than me in K. And yes, she admitted on the way home that she had a great time and will come back in two years time. No one seems more surprised by this than bwo herself.

The last week or so has been a little surreal. We had a rocket alarm one night at around 10pm as we were all dropping off to sleep, and the usual black humor surfaced as we all huddled in the stairwell in our dorms. Some of the young volunteers were a little freaked out, but unfortunately these things are a reality here at the moment. We had another siren in Raanana yesterday. Who knows where all this is going. I just hope we are able to fly out on Tuesday. At least bdo has not been mobilized (yet).

So tonight I'm sure to will get a huge dose of "Sunday Evening Feeling" (except it happens on a Saturday eve here) as I go back to the salt mines tomorrow. I'm looking at a very busy six day week (Sunday to Friday inclusive) to get back up to speed. There is no doubt that the last four weeks have been like a dream come true. I can only thank everyone who had any part in making it so special. I am eternally grateful.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The end of week three

It's Friday at the end of the third week of digging. I am sitting in my comfy chair with my feet on the bed here in Raanana. I have had a wonderful time at the dig. My body is tired and sore but all in all it has been more that I could ever have wished. Having bwo with me has made a huge difference. She quickly became the "the mother of Area K" and a complete and useful member of the team. We have spent all day together. We get up at 3:45 am and drive to the Tel together. Work together in Area K ( sometimes even in the same square). Drive back together, eat lunch together, nap in our room together and then have dinner and sleep together. It has been great. Way better than I could ever have imagined.

One more week of digging and then it is back to the real world.  It is hard to keep the real world at bay here in Israel. What with the occasional work email, the World Cup and kidnappings and then a wedding on Wednesday night (it was great to see the other Ostrins in full force) I cannot say I have completely disconnected. I prefer it this way rather than getting back to a bunch of issues and emergencies.

Blackdaughtero came out for a few days to help dig last week. So now nearly all of us have seen what it's like, although I am not expecting blacksono to rush to the heat of the Tel any time soon. He is still working at the vet and seems quite happy with life. Now that bdo has finished the army she is working at waitressing at a coffee shop here in Raanana. So all is good. I have napped much of the day away and now it's time to prepare Friday night dinner for the local family. I think it's curry tonight. Back to the Tel tomorrow afternoon for the last week.