Monday, September 8, 2008

Break time at the dig

We archaeology fieldworkers start at 6:30 and finish work at 2:30.
Meal time is half an hour, at 10:30. A little break comes at 1:00.

Especially for the men who have been curled up excavating a small burial cave or for those of us who have been kneeling or bent over all day, the 15-minute break is a chance to stretch out our own old bones.

About a dozen of the forty Muslim workers go down to wash up and then have public prayer while the rest of us stay up on the site and rest.


At meal time we set up civilized tables and chairs.

A few weeks ago (before Ramadan!) I brought little pastries and the friends clapped hands and sang Happy Birthday to me in Arabic.

One spokesman stood up and addressed me, articulating one blessing after another for my new year of life.
We looked eye to eye, I listened attentively, then we shook hands. I was very moved.

This year's birthday celebration was unusual and very happy.
I mean, how often do you have forty nice men at your party?

21 comments:

Mama Zen said...

Wow! I can't imagine getting into one of those little spaces!

Dina said...

Hi Mama Zen. No, I can't imagine either. Luckily I've been working above ground.

kjpweb said...

Well Happy 39th Birthday then! :)
Cheers, Klaus

Webradio said...

Hello !

Le travail est sans doute dur avec le soleil !

AppleDebbie said...

40 nice men at my birthday party sounds good to me! (Don't tell my hubby I said that... Lol!) Happy Belated Birthday Dina!

Palm Axis said...

Pasadena Adjacent

I like this group of photos because it shows the reality of what you do and that it's hard work, hot and exhausting. When I tell people that I do murals/mosaic/tile work, they imagine it as all fun and glamor. Going up and down scaffolding while staring at a blinding white wall. Covering acres of wall with a 1/2 inch wide brush. It's mentally satisfying but It's work and the older you get, the more you know it.

Rambling Woods said...

It looks like very hot, but rewarding work Dina..a belated Happy Birthday to you!!!

Louise said...

Hey! I can't imagine many women who would complain about having 40 men at their birthday party! So worth it to bring your own treats!

Sara N said...

Happy it Dina! ;)

USelaine said...

Hey, you've been holding back on us! Happy Birthday, and many more to come. Bless.

evlahos said...

Happy Birthday. for sure it must be very hard to work in those conditions. but you fill the happiness (sometime) to view and hold things lost for hundreds of years

the donG said...

i can imagine the heat from here.

Z said...

Happy birthday Dina!

Thank you for giving us a glimpse into one of your work days. Very interesting!

Catherine said...

Best wishes for your birthday, Dina.
Your post is very interesting. I haven't seen yet an archeologic site for real! Very impressed. This hole! The temperature! Every body appreciate the final part of the work,but we hardly imagine the work to be done before!
The pastries time would please me too.
I've forgotten I pass you an award. Let's say it's your birthday present.

Suzanne said...

Dina,
I love this blog and all the rest of the archeology blogs. I can feel the sun, the dust and understand. How's the arabic coming? I'm starting a conversational arabic class on Saturday...salaam!

tipper said...

Happy late Birthday!! And thank you for letting us peak into your work day-just amamzing.

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

It must have been extremely moving! Happy Belated Birthday, Dina, and good health and prosperity for the upcoming year and those beyond!

Reader Wil said...

Happy belated wishes for your birthday! What a great job you have, but you must be very tired after such a long day of digging. The photos show clearly how well you work together. It's a great team of hard working people.

Shimmy Mom said...

Happy Birthday!! (Late, you stinker for not telling us sooner, or did I somehow miss that post?) What a moving birthday gift to be given so many blessings. I hope you have another great year.
*hugs*

JC said...

Happy Birthday!!!!! Sorry, I'm late. 40 men, hummmmm sounds good to me.

Sherry said...

Dina, I love seeing these faces, and feeling a connection to them from your blog. It's an honor that you all share with us this experience, and yourselves.