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Showing posts from 2010

Final 2010 entry from Jerusalem

We finished in the field Wednesday morning by shooting final photographs of an area that ended up under Aaron Carr’s supervision (now we know his dirty little secret: he can supervise the excavation of a square!). We shoot final photos either in the evening or in the early morning when the sky is bright but we can still shade the features with a “Joshua cloth” so that the sun casts no shadows (see photos below). Most of the dig crew, including me, will fly out late Saturday night after a few days in Jerusalem, but my father, mother, and sister will drive back up to the site for about one more week to finish drawing final top plans and to excavate one small area to help solve an archaeological riddle.In past years we spent a weekend in Jerusalem somewhere in the middle of the season, but the past two years we have placed that trip at the end of the dig. I prefer that schedule, for it allows us to wrap up the season with some relaxing days and evenings. We visit our favorite shops run b…

A Season in the Field (is worth a year in seminary)

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Hey gang, it's Aaron. I originally posted this on my personal blog but Dr. Strange thought it would be a worthy idea to post it here as well. Hope you all enjoy it.
Anyway, the above title has been uttered to me on now two occasions, and the more I think about it, the more I realize that the man who shared that bit of wisdom is incredibly right, a fact which I should have seen coming. I mean, the man looks like this:I mean, seriously, it's like Indiana Jones and Santa Claus came together to produce a super-genius His name is Dr. James F. Strange (yes, that’s his real name), and he is the co-director (with his son James R. Strange) of the University of South Florida excavations at the ancient Roman city of Sepphoris, a dig which I have now volunteered at for two summers. Let me explain to you just why Dr. Strange says this.1. Encountering the material culture of ancient PalestineThis one’s by far the most important and the most interesting. We’ve been excavating a city called Sep…

Photos from the 2010 Season

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Tour of the site of Kirbet Cana, from left: James R. Strange, Abuna, Randy O’Neill, Liz Reichwald.  The Director of that excavation, Dr. Tom McColloug of Centre College, gave the tour. Sarah Tyler, Jim (“Abuna”) Strange, and Joanna Strange laughing about somethingKeri Chrzan excavating with a “patish” (the word really means hammer, but we use it for the hand pick)Randy O’Neill taking excavation notes (the paved decumanus is in the background)Alan Hix taking excavation notesSarah Tyler (taking the picture?) testing James R. Strange’s ability to read pottery with his eyes closed (how will she know if he’s wrong?)Annette Seymour digging alongside a column drum (she’s kneeling on it)Virginia Skeeter excavating delicatelyMary Beth Moran excavatingSarah Tyler digging and Aaron Carr taking notes; hard to tell who’s happier.The Whole Crew (including Atef Hamed) in front of the “wall of stamps” in the hotel dining roomPottery reading on the roof of the hotel Blaine Patton sweeping with a paint…

Weeks 3 & 4

I’m rolling weeks three and four together because of our odd schedule.We have worked Sunday through Saturday morning, making for a long work week. Hence, we are rewarding ourselves with dinner out. Tonight (Saturday) we will drive to the nearby town of Shefar‘am (Shafa ‘Amr in Arabic), which is known from Josephus for its role in the Jewish Revolt and the Talmud for being the seat of the Sanhedrin for awhile, but we know it as the town that houses a favorite restaurant that specializes in traditional Arab fare. We were first alerted to the place by Richard Knott, a member of a local kibbutz. It turns out that local Jews regularly make the drive to this mostly Arab (Muslim and Christian) town for the food. We will pick up Richard and two other kibbutzniks on our way. I skipped lunch to prepare for the feast.We are ending things right on time, having closed out two squares and being near the finishing point in two others. As usual, we have been partially successful in answering our arch…

Week 2, 2010

This week’s posting is late because we worked through the weekend to make up for lost time. We worked only a half day today (Tuesday, June 8) to get a brief break, and we will return to full schedule tomorrow. We will also work next Sunday.The work is going well, and most crews have made significant headway bringing down balks. Just two days ago, one balk gave up a ceramic vessel that has stumped all of us. The vessel looks like ½ of a ceramic pipe (semicircular in cross section), around 10 inches long, with one end closed and the other open, and around 20 holes of about a pencil’s width punched all around when the clay was wet. What in the world is it? Some sort of sieve? We’ll send it to the Israel Antiquities Authority for restoration, and perhaps identification. The soil in and around this object has yielded about 10 small bronze coins so far, which certainly has galvanized the crew that found it.The team has come together well. Getting along, it turns out, is important for doing …
The Samford team, consisting of me (James R. Strange) and Aaron Carr, arrived in Tel Aviv without incident at around 6:30 pm local time on Tuesday May 25, having spent right at 12 hours in the air, most of which we slept. We were joined on the flight by three other Sepphoreans and around 150 crying infants. Earplugs managed that problem. The drive up to Nazareth was uneventful, and there we met others who had arrived earlier in the day, including four students from USF and UF. Aaron is the only male on the dig younger than 20, so one area supervisor has designated him as the person in charge of moving large stones. Soon a 16-year-old may join him in that honored position.
This year the team is small, numbering only 17 at our strongest, but some are arriving late and the four Florida students leave after only two weeks. Hence, our archaeological goals, which were already quite focused, are now limited by our numbers: we will only take down three balks, and so we will wrap up the Univers…

Israel 2010

Yom Kippur has long since passed here in Israel (and everywhere else, I suppose), but I think this blog post is some kind of way of atoning for the fact that I never wrote one last year (at least that seems to be how Dr. Strange sees it). He also mentioned failing me (before remembering that I’m not here taking a class). But that’s neither here nor there.

The flight was uneventful, but those are the best kinds of flights. I slept on and off, in between the watching of movies and the eating of meals, and though we were delayed an hour in our departure by a late connecting flight from Nebraska, we made it to Tel Aviv by 6:30 or so the next day (Tuesday, May 25, for those of you keeping track). Dr. James F Strange (affectionately known as “Abuna”) picked us up in Tel Aviv and drove us up to Nazareth, where we enjoyed a hot dinner of roast beef and the companionship of friends both old and new. It was off to bed after dinner, though I stayed up a bit longer, checking email and reading a bi…