Shalom from the Holy Land!
My name is Caroline May and I'm a senior sociology major from Cedar Bluff, Alabama. Israel is my first trip abroad, but I've already decided that it won't be my last.
I'm hoping that students who are interested in studying archaeology in Israel or just in coming and experiencing this amazing place will find our posts useful and perhaps a little entertaining. Come. That's my advice if you're thinking about next summer or ever. It's unlike any other experience you will ever have in your life. Hello, you're on a REAL archaeological dig for a whole month with people who've been doing it forever so they know their stuff. Oh, and did I mention this all takes place in Israel? Because it does. I have to remind myself of that every so often when I wake up to the most amazing view.
Okay, we've seen and done tons of stuff so I'm going to hit the highlights.
1.) Attef, the sweetest man alive and one of the brothers that owns the Galilee Hotel.
2.) My square (an archaeology site is divided up into 5 x 5 meter squares), SQUARE 91, found not one, but two ancient coins. Yeah, I know that's cool.
3.) Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pita. That's all I'm going to say. Delightful.
4.) My favorite site that we visited has probably been Bet She'arim. It was the unofficial Jewish capital for years because of Rabbi Yehuda "Hanassi" who was pretty much responsible for the running of the city. He moved to Zippori (THIS IS OUR SITE!) and lived there until his death, but he was laid to rest at Bet She'arim. Because back then Jews weren't allowed into Jerusalem everyone who was a devout Jew, and had enough money to be transported there, was buried in the catacombs of Bet She'arim. We got to explore inside one of the major catacombs uncovered in the 1930s. It was creepy and cool all at the same time.
5.) We also went to Tel Megiddo National Park. A "tel" is basically a marker for archaeologists and they're all over Israel. It's an amazing place of engineering. We think we have architecture down, but how would we do it if we didn't have technology? Probably not as good as these guys did. We got to check out the water system tunnel that was created because the only water supply was outside the city walls, so during a war they would have to risk people to get water or the water supply itself could be contaminated. The water system was a feat of engineering, but the view from the top of the city had the most talented Creator.
6.) Ooooh! For our free weekend we took a taxi to Akko, which is a site for the Crusades and where Napoleon fought the Turkish army. Akko is full of churches and buildings, but my favorite part was the harbor looking out on Akko Bay. Descriptions are beyond me, you'll just have to see it for yourself. :) We took a boat ride around the bay which was the highlight of my day. We explored the market that winded around the alleys of all the buildings in the center of the city. They had everything from fresh (smelly, but fresh) fish, fruits and vegetables to clothing and souvenirs. Oh, and I think someone got their picture made in front of a butcher...there was a cows head in the window. A real cows head. Yum. On a tastier note I got a half kilo of the best cherries I've ever tasted.
7.) I saved my very favorite part for the last. We swam in the Sea of Galilee. THE SEA OF GALILEE. You know, the SEA of GALILEE. That should be enough the get across the enormity of the situation and if not, you don't deserve to swim there.
Again I say, COME. That's what you have to do. I can tell you about it all day long and will fail to get across the majesty of this place and the graciousness of the people. Plus, you get to play in the dirt where Jesus himself could have possibly played in the dirt. Just a thought.
Have an adventure,