Monday, November 2, 2009

A taste of archaeology

Welcome to That's My World Tuesday meme.
For the past few weeks my world has been an archaeological expedition in Tiberias.
Tiberias sits in the Great Rift Valley, 212 meters or 606 feet below sea level.

The best part of a dig is the camaraderie that develops between volunteers.

These two nice girls from Quebec stayed in my hostel dorm room the first night.
They were touring the Lower Galilee, but when they heard about the dig they immediately jumped on the chance to dig in the dirt and the hot sun for a week. They camped out at the site.

So young and already off to see the Holy Land with only a tent and a small backpack. Chapeau!

Once in a while and in carefully selected spots it is kosher to go down quickly with a digger/bagger/backhoe.
This photo is in the dawn light of 5:39 a.m.

But my favorite way to move earth (after breaking it with a pickaxe) is with a big heavy flat hoe
called a turia.
I suspect the Arabic names of most of our archaeology tools entered Hebrew when the early Israeli pioneers learned them from the Arab farmers, who used them for cultivating the land.

Breakfast comes at 9 o'clock. Three or four tables are set with lots of healthy food--salads, cheeses, tuna, eggs, humus, tehina, yogurt. The Americans among us like to make "Reese's Pieces" by spreading a pita with peanut butter and chocolate spread.

In the picture above, Katia, our dig director, presents T shirts and certificates to the volunteers who had finished their stint of service.

This year's T shirt features an ostracon, a potsherd with writing on it, discovered at the site. The writing is in Arabic. One of the things we are excavating is a mosque from the Early Islamic period.

The front of the shirt shows a circle made from "Tiberias" written in Hebrew, Arabic, Latin, and Greek.
In back of those trees is the shore of the Sea of Galilee, also known as Lake Tiberias.

That's My World for now, a world rich in antiquities and religious heritage. Until next Friday.Would you like to sign up for the next season of the dig, in spring?


Robin said...

The dig was staffed with volunteers? My mother would LOVE to do something like that on one of her visits. Do you have a link to information I can send her?

Regina said...

I love doing these if I have the chance. Wonderful post.
Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Awesome! It must be very exciting to be part of this digging. And it seems very safe from the strife and war between the Israelis and the Arabs.

Sara said...

Yum, I always enjoyed those Israeli breakfasts! Much better than pita with peanut butter and chocolate my humble opinion.

Thanks for sharing some sights around the dig with us...the earth opens up its mysteries; that has intrigued me ever since I first heard about archaeology in my schooldays.

Kay said...

This looks like so much fun, Dina and so very important and meaningful. Terrific Monday post to energize us for the week. I love how you met those two friendly girls who are experiencing the world.

maryt/theteach said...

A wonderful post, and very interesting for me, for My World Tuesday! Thanks for sharing a real archeological dig with all of us! :)

Dirkjogt said...

This must be so fun to be able to do this. It lookes like it's still great weather too.

Eve said...

What an interesting adventure! I would love to participate in something like that! How would I get involved?

Carver said...

What a fascinating post. Must have been great to be part of that.

Sylvia K said...

Oh, I would love to do this -- wish I could have when I was younger! Marvelous captures, Dina, and such a very interesting and meaningful post. Thanks for sharing!

Enjoy your week!


janice said...

Oh my, that looks like such fun. And hard work. I would love to jump in and help out when I visit your beautiful country.

Thanks for sharing it with us.

Stine in Ontario said...

It does sound very interesting! I'd LOVE to work on a dig!

Marie Höglund said...

Lovely post and thanks for sharing :-)

Dina said...

Shalom friends and thanks for all your nice comments.

To Robin and Eve and all those interesting in volunteering for a dig, look first at the famous Find a Dig from the Biblical Archaeology Review.

Also the Archaeological Institute of America has fieldwork listings at

Israel Antiquities Authority:

About volunteering at Tiberias where I am now:
The next dig season is in the spring.

spacedlaw said...


Hagemor said...

exciting and interesting reading! Thank you

Martha Z said...

A very interesting and informative post. It opens as many questions as it answers as to the scope of the dig and the duties of the volunteers, how the Moslems feel about Jew's excavating the mosque.

FA said...

Great post, Dina. I am thrilled to learn about your experience on the dig. Thanks for catching up on my blog.

Anonymous said...

When we visited Israel a few years ago, we spent part of a day at a dig (tel Maresha) in the Negev. I gained a better understanding of how painstaking that work is, and how hard you must work to find relatively little - but so rewarding when you do.

Lawstude said...

i truly admire archeologist. i know it is not an easy job but i am glad you had fun and passion about your work. thanks for sharing your world.

Cloudia said...

Good work everyone!

Shalom & Aloha, Friend

Comfort Spiral

Petrea said...

I'm smiling from ear to ear! This is one of my favorite posts of yours ever. I love hearing about your work, and obviously I'm not the only one!

brattcat said...

I'd love to join in on the dig but I'd probably have a hard time keeping up with you, Dina. Thanks for taking us along on the adventure.

Jew Wishes said...

Awwwww, Dina, so good to see you.

Your journey has been a wonderful photo expression and read.

FA said...

Thanks, Dina, for your kind words about me at My World Tuesday. I had a lot of new people stop by my blog.

Barbara Martin said...

It would be very exciting to work on a dig. Thank you for sharing this, Dina.