Hannah and Je together

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Twenty Fourth Day – Preparing the new tour

This is the last week of excavation.  I think it was pretty good that I experienced Lachish and Megiddo.  If Jerusalem is the Capital of Ancient Israel kingdom, Lachish and Megiddo are both centre of North and South, like the two wings of a bird.

Not that big centiped here, but it is huge

Not that big centipede here, but it is huge

In the morning when I was moving to other area on the Tel Megiddo, I saw this centipede (I did not count if it actually has hundred legs; centi = 100, pede = leg).  We see a lot of centipedes in the early in the morning, and they rush to go underground.  But some of them lose its way, and they all die of the sun.

Excavation Notice

Excavation Notice

I also took this picture of the notice about the excavation on the entrance of the park (Many archaeological sites are national park including Tel Megiddo and Tel Lachish).

This is how you find an antique

This is how you find an antique

And this is today’s founding, the complete bottom of a jar.  I also found a few olive pits and grains, which are very useful for carbon dating.

I changed my plan of Egypt tour.  I planned to leave this Kibbutz Wednesday and arrive at Cairo by Thursday evening, so that I can see Cairo for two days, and see the Mount Sinai on the way back to Israel.  I decided to leave here a day earlier so that I can also see Luxor.  If I go to Egypt and do not see Luxor, I think that is so stupid.  So tomorrow is my last day of excavation.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Twenty first day – Sweet Weekend

In the morning we get up as early as 4am.  From that time until the sunrise is the best time of the day.  It has cool breeze and no burning sun.  I think ancient Israelites as well as all the ancient near easterns must have gotten up very early for the same reason.  Because it is too hot during the day.

Before Sunrise

Before Sunrise

I think that is why in Biblical Hebrew they have separate word of “to get up early.”

Today was kind of shitty day because all the members of area T were sent to other areas such as V and W, and consequently we were not able to do our own job.  Even they did not give us break.  We talked each other that we feel like in exile.  But I found a sling stone of my fist size in area W.

For Hebrew University (Tel Lachish), the bus leaves Friday morning and comes back Sunday morning.  For Tel Aviv University (Tel Megiddo), the bus leaves Thursday afternoon and comes back Saturday afternoon.  So officially it is the weekend from today afternoon.

Hand Washing Laundry

Hand Washing Laundry

Not having the afternoon work and lectures, I did my laundry by hand-washing.  Unlike Kedma Youth Village, we were allowed to stay in this kibbutz for the weekend for free, but they do not provide any meal.  So I walked twenty minutes to the nearest grocery store, and spent 120 NIS (which is about $40) for six meals.  I bought a quarter gallon orange juice.  But when I poured it into the cup, it flowed so slow as if it is honey.  And the taste was so strong.  Then I looked at the label which I cannot read because it is all Hebrew.  There were only two English writings.  One is big letter saying, “Orange Juice.”  The other is very small letter under the nutrition information, “Enough for 60 cups.”  Then I realised that I bought the concentrated juice.

Last night, several people sat together and talked.  There were American Jew (man), Israeli Jew (secular, woman), another Israeli Jew (secular, man), and Belgian woman (Catholic).  Of course I was there too.  I asked them many questions and it was really great talk until late night.

One of the interesting things was that the Jews these days do not know what tribe they belong to.  And officially ten tribes are missing.  But they said that some Jews have “Cohen” (meaning Priest) and “Levi” (Name of the tribe which performed many jobs in the temple) as their last name.  And many of them regulate themselves including cannot enter any cemetery, cannot remarry.  And also they must marry Jewish woman, but not converted Jew.  They can marry only the pure or native Jew.  They do this to keep themselves ritually clean all the time, so that they can carry the job of priest and temple worker as soon as the Temple is rebuilt and Messiah comes.

They had many jokes about why Judaism never works.  The secular Jews also said that Orthodox, especially Ultra Orthodox Jews hate them.

For the temple matter, I asked of religious Jews, and they want to build the temple but they are afraid to express it.  And I also asked yesterday of the secular Jews, and they absolutely do NOT want to build it.  Because of all the murders and blood which will be done by the name of that house.  They also said that the rebuilding the temple would cause the third world war.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Seventeenth Day – First day in Tel Megiddo

Before I begin today’s story, I met an African-American named Reggie.  He is very nice guy and taught many things that I need to know here.  We had supper together, and we began to talk about American Society.

First, I said America need gun control.  There are many countries where guns are illegal and the society is safer.  And he said NO!  He said the gun is to protect – protect yourself and your properties.  We talked a little more, but I realised that it would be useless because we cannot overcome the gap between our thoughts.

The other thing we talked about was health insurance and hospital system.  I said Canada and some (northern) European countries have national health insurance, and that is the way for America to go but it looks not easy.  He said that the national health insurance is stupid idea.  He said he would rather pay and get better health care.  I said that there are many people who are poor and cannot afford the hospital fee.  He said very shocking thing to me that those people are poor because they are lazy, and they do not deserve health care.  I was so shocked, and said, “but they are same human and citizen of America. Don’t you think government must take care of her citizens?”  But his thought was so firm that they chose to be poor, so they do not deserve anything.  I mentioned the documentary Sicko, and he became angry, saying that Michael Moore is a f**king communist and the film is 100% lie.  He also has similar idea about college and university tuition fee that the students can get loans and they can pay it back after graduation.  And that the only reason they are stuck in the debt is that they are dumb, stupid, and lazy.

Then, I changed the topic because I felt he is quite angry and it would be dangerous to continue the conversation on those matter.  But I was very much shocked because I have never met or conversed with anyone who thinks like that way before.

Tel Megiddo

Tel Megiddo

This the Tel Megiddo from under.  We got up at 4 which is half an hour earlier than in Lachish.  And they were so many people that we used two big buses.  It is because that many excavation sites were closed because of the warring situation, and Tel Megiddo is one of a few sites which continues digging, and many students moved over to Tel Megiddo team like me.

Area T, Tel Megiddo

Area T, Tel Megiddo

The is area T where I worked today.  There are many differences between Tel Lachish and Tel Megiddo.  First noticeable one is that Megiddo’s climate is much cooler than that of Lachish, so I did not drink a lot of water.  The speed of dust drying is also quite different.  It just took less than an hour for the fresh mud to dry in Lachish, but here people say that they need to wait until next morning.  The work pace is slower than that of Lachish, probably because of the number of people digging.  Maybe it was because I worked with other Koreans, and most Koreans are workaholic.

Sling Stones

Sling Stones

I was told that my work place is Assyrian Era which I think is very cool because I worked upto Babylonian era at Tel Lachish.  Those are sling stones I found today, and because of three sling stones at the same spot, they concluded it was sling stone factory.

The schedule here at Megiddo is very similar to that of Lachish, but we have fewer breaks here and they do not provide water here, but everybody carries his/her own water bottle.  They provided the water with Van because we needed more water than an individual person can carry.

Schedule is get up at 4, dig until 1, take some rest after lunch, wash potteries and bones, and two lectures in the evening which ends att 10.  Today’s lecture was very interesting and one of them was about DNA and archaeology.  It is very tiring and exhausting schedule, and I have to do this two more weeks including this week.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Fifteenth Day – Back to Jerusalem

In the morning, we got on the mini-bus from the Kedma Village to Jerusalem.  I got off at the Jerusalem Central Bus Station.

Jerusalem Central Bus Station

Jerusalem Central Bus Station

People were talking about the cloud, which is very weird to have the sky covered with clouds in this dry season.  I had a brunch with Dr. Choi at Aroma.

Gloria Hotel's View

Gloria Hotel’s View

Finally I came back to Gloria Hotel in the Old City Jerusalem near Jaffa Gate.  This is the view from my new room 151.  I stayed at 178 last week.  Then I turned on the TV set to update myself with the news of Israel-Gaza conflict because I spent a week without TV and with very limited internet.  But the more terrible and shocking news welcomed me – the airplane crash in Ukraine.  They did not really say almost anything about Israel-Gaza war.

After taking some rest, I went to the Tour Information to ask about the transportation to Tel Aviv tomorrow which is Shabbat.  But the information booth was closed at 1:30 because Shabbat begins this evening.

Empty Western Wall

Empty Western Wall

I wanted to the church of ascension, and went by the Western Wall.  While I was approaching the Western Wall, there were series of gun shooting sounds, and almost every was backed up.  And there were so many police cars and vans there.  You can notice that almost no body was at the wall praying, in comparison how it is packed with people especially Friday.  I asked someone what was happening, and was told that the muslims in the mosque are praying with shooting the guns with blank bullets.  But I’ve been in Western Wall a few Fridays, and heard nothing so far.  The orthodox Jew told me that they do not usually but when there is high tension, they do.

While the war is going on, and there are gun shooting noises, I found an airship in the sky.  And the city was as usual.

Pater Noster

Pater Noster

Before I went to the church of ascension, I went to the Pater Noster where Jesus taught his disciples the Lord’s Prayer.  There are Lord’s Prayer in a few different languages.  This one looks like Hebrew, but it is Chaldean.  There was small admission fee of 8 NIS.

Church of Ascension

Church of Ascension

Then I went to the church of ascension, and was very disappointed.  Not like the title on the map, it was not a church but a mosque, very small mosque.  You have to pay 5 NIS, but almost nothing to see.  It is said that the foot print of Jesus when he ascended into heaven.

Tomb of the Prophets

Tomb of the Prophets

Then I went to the Tomb of the prophets, but was not able to enter because it was locked.  According to the Jewish tradition, it is the tomb of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

Church of Mary Magdalene from Dominus Flevit

Church of Mary Magdalene from Dominus Flevit

Then I went to the Dominus Flevit.  It is Latin means “The Lord wept.”  And they found Second Temple Period and Byzantine tombs.  The above picture is the church of Mary Magdalene viewed from the Dominus Flevit.

When I came out of the Dominus Flevit, I saw a Palestinian old man begging.  He said, “I am poor.  Give me some shekels.”  So I gave him 14 NIS which was all the money I had then.  Then he said, “Give me more, give me more!”  And I told him that I do not have more.  Then he angrily said, “20 dollar more! I am poor! 20 dollar!”  I lost my words, and just walked down the hill.

Focaccia Salad

Focaccia Salad

I got some more rest, and went to Kikkar Zion (Zion Plaza) on Jaffa Street and Ben Yehudah Street to meet some people dug together at Tel Lachish.  I was worried because the Shabbat already begun and I see the whole city is stopped without any visible restaurants open.  They brought me to Focaccia Bar in the back street, and wow! The whole city is like divided into two, either synagogue or here.  We met Professor Yossi there too!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Fourteenth Day – Writing IDs

We did not go to the digging site today.  Only a few staff members including Professor Yossi went to the site to take the aerial photos.  There is a special company taking the aerial photos using drones.  But the problem was that the Israel Air Force did not allow anything to fly in the air due to the current situation of war.  So they failed to take the nice aerial photos.  Instead, they took some photos using ladders.

Writing ID on pottery

Writing ID on pottery

Most of us stayed in the Kedma Village and worked on bones and potteries.  My job today was to write the identification number on the potteries.  Though the writing looks big on the photo, it is actually very fine and small so that a few people cannot even read.  The first line is the excavation permit number indicating the site and the number.  The first letter on second and third line (C) is area.  The second line shows the locus number while the last line tells the bucket number.

Pattern on Pottery

Pattern on Pottery

While I was writing the IDs on the potteries, I found this very nice piece of pottery with a pattern or painting on it.

Tel Lachish Digging Certificate

Tel Lachish Digging Certificate

At lunch time, I got this certificate that I actually attended the Tel Lachish excavation.

Professor Yossi

Professor Yossi

Professor Yossi and the photo team came back in the afternoon, and we all worked on the pottery reading.  Professor Yossi explained many things on the archaeological potteries.  Professor Yossi is sitting in the middle, and the guy one the right whose name is Igo is working on his Ph.D on archaeology at Hebrew University under Professor Yossi.

Stone Knife

Stone Knife

This is an ancient knife for domestic use (not for war), probably for cooking and other use.  It is probably from the bronze age.  Why do people use stone in the bronze age?  Bronze age does not mean people used only bronze, but they began to use bronze.  When the radio came out, many people predicted that the newspaper would disappear.  When TV came out, many people expected that the radio would disappear.  When internet and web became popular, many scholars thought that all other media would disappear.  But today, we have newspaper, radio, TV and internet all together.  According to Professor Yossi, people stopped using stone knife or flint only after iron tool became common and popular.

We had pizza party at Kedma.  And they will have official finish-up party on Wednesday which I cannot attend because I will be digging at Megiddo.  I was told that the next Wednesday is Professor Yossi’s birthday.  Happy birthday Yossi!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Eleventh Day – Second Digging

Second day of excavation at Tel Lachish.  We got up at 4:30 in the morning, and left to the site and began work right away while the moon was still in the sky.  It was so hot and thirsty, and exhausting.  I drank a crazy amount of water continually, but I peed only once during the whole day probably because I sweated a lot.

Ancient River

Ancient River

This is the fourth expedition of Tel Lachish led by Professor Yossi Garfinkel at Hebrew University, and found a small gate in the east side.  This is the view from the Tel Lachish to the eastward.  Ancient Lachish had the major road in its ease side, same as today.  And they also had a major water source which is river along the road.  Even though we do not have running water now, we can still see the where the river ran in the Biblical days.

Babylonian Destruction Layer

Babylonian Destruction Layer

I was digging on the north side of the Tel, and it was Persian era, then we found the black floor, which they call Ash Layer.  This black layer means there was huge destructive fire probably of the entire city.  And this is identified as Babylonian destruction.  Now, I am standing on the history of the Israelites and the army of Nebuchadnezzar.

Rosetta Seal Impression

Rosetta Seal Impression

We also found two Rosetta seal impressions.  This is on the jar handle, and it identified that jar is for royal use, probably tax to the king.  This broken jar once contained olive oil or some other things to be sent to the king in Jerusalem (since this is Jewish jar before exile).

Pottery Reading

Pottery Reading

We began this day around five, and we finished digging at two.  But that does not mean the day’s work is done.  After lunch we were divided into three groups – pottery reading, pottery washing, bone washing.  Pottery reading is done by scholars or someone already has good knowledge on archaeological potteries.  Normal people or volunteers like me are assigned to the washing team.  The reading team identifies of the potteries.  Washing team washes the bones and potteries found in the site.

We washed them until seven, and had dinner.  After dinner, we had a lecture by the Professor Yossi until 10.

I went bed around or slightly before eleven.  And I still have to get up 4:30 tomorrow morning.  What a schedule!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Tenth Day – First digging

Today is the first day of excavation.  I checked out the Gloria hotel, and I found their dinner was 60 NIS, which I think is too high in comparison to the quality.  For the breakfast and dinner, I think the White Sisters’ Guesthouse was better.

Light Rail in Jerusalem

Light Rail in Jerusalem

I walked to the city hall Light Rail station, and purchased a ticket.  Soon the Light Rail train came.  This was my first time to be in the Light rail.  The central bus station is five stations away.  I was a bit early so I waited about an hour for the bus.  I actually expected the bus to come about twenty to thirty minutes late because the tour bus always came that much late.  But actually the bus came about twenty minutes earlier than the appointed time of 10 am.  Originally only two people got in the bus including me.  And the mini bus driver wanted to drive even ten minutes before ten.  I said no and asked him to wait ten past ten.  Well, I was right.  Bunch of people came at 10:05 and filled the mini bus.

Kedma Yough Village

Kedma Youth Village

We came to Kedma Youth Village where we will stay for the weekdays.  Kedma in Hebrew means eastward, and this is not just a youth village, but actually kind of boarding school for the kids who are challenged mentally so that they cannot stay in the classroom setting.  They stay here and learn some practical skills.  So, this is some kind of vocational school.  They are in vacation, so we can use this facility, and this is their first time to rent the facility to outside organisation.

Then I heard something bad.  Because of the Gazan’s rocket attack, and this area is not too far from gaza, the Hebrew University decided to shut down this site for the safety reason.  As you know, the Iron Dome first calculates where the missile or rocket would fall, and if it goes to open field where they would not be people, they just let it fall.  The thing is that the archaeological excavation site is considered as an open field, because there is no one usually.  So the many people in the excavation team already left Tel Lachish, and many groups supposed to join this week cancelled including huge Canadian team.  So this is the last week before the closing.  I was scheduled to work for three weeks, and they close this week which means the other two weeks are up in the air.  So I asked Professor Yossi, and he may put me in the Hazor excavation team for the two weeks.

Stone brick upon Mud brick

Stone brick upon Mud brick

They have many squares of digging.  They expected to see the early iron age, but most of them revealed the late bronze age first which is unexpected.  In the higher digging place, they found the Iron age.  The picture above shows the stone wall on top and the mud brick wall on the bottom.

Rocket trace

Rocket trace

We had a coffee break (we had water melon, coffee, and melon) around 3 or 4.  And we called it a day at 8 pm.  It was a very tiring day.  I was in the Professor Yossi’s car on the way back to the Kedma.  And in the middle of the way, we saw four or five lights flying which are rockets from Gaza.  And there was a loud siren.  All the cars on the road including ours stopped immediately, and everybody got off the car, and ran a bit, and lied down.  Then I saw the rockets were intercepted.  I also took the picture right after they were intercepted, this shows three spots, but there were two more in the upper side of the picture.

Dirty Kedma

Dirty Kedma

I was actually assigned to a room, but when I went into the room in the evening, I found there were four people in the room including me, and there were only three beds in the room.  So I asked again, and assigned to a new room.  But it was so dirty with a lot of garbage.  I could not believe that they charged me $400 for five weeks with this unpleasant facility.

I was so tired, and I was supposed to get up at 4:30 next morning, so I was not able to blog the same day.  I am writing this the next day.

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