Archive for the Mandy Morrow Category

Lowering the Sails

Posted in Mandy Morrow on July 28, 2010 by ehcline

Mandy Morrow writes:

I can’t believe there are only two more days left on the tel!  I feel like I have only been here a week… Time flies when you are having fun I guess!

Well, this past week was fun and not so fun at the same time.  Sadly, I got the news that my parents had to put down my not-even-three-year-old cat because she had cancer.  That put a damper on my week.  Plus I was hoping to meet up with some people in Jerusalem over the weekend but that plan fell apart also.  So I ended up renting a car and driving 4 people down to Jerusalem to spend the weekend. My mental GPS functioned quite well but there were a few illegal U-turns and one illegal right turn from a not-right-turn lane.  Oh well, it was a fun experience anyways!

On Friday I walked around and saw some little sights, did a little shopping and driving around, and then had a nice relaxing dinner with a good glass of wine.  I went to bed early that night and on Saturday got up at 3am and drove all the way down to Masada and climbed it (yes on foot!) before sunrise.  It was beautiful!  Problem was that I had to wait until 8am for the cable car to take me back down (I was too afraid I might fall… I trip more often going down Tel Megiddo than I do going up).

After I got a ride back down in the cable car, I drove over to the Ein Gedi spa and treated myself to a massage before covering myself in mud and then going into the Dead Sea.  It burned too much and I ended up spending only about 15 minutes in the water before I decided I was good enough and moved on to the next location.

I stopped for lunch and then went to the real Ein Gedi and saw the remains of an ancient synagogue and walked along the Wadi David to the David waterfall.  Along the way I struck up a random conversation with some Canadians from Toronto and even got a picture with some of them.  After Ein Gedi I headed down the road to Qumran and spent about 20 minutes walking around and taking pictures (there wasn’t much to see) before heading back to Jerusalem to meet the people who rode down with me.

Unfortunately with all the activity of the weekend, I was sick on Sunday and wasn’t able to dig. :-(  But I was back on Monday, ready to go.

The last week of the dig is usually the worst (or so I hear).  We did a lot of cleaning and sandbagging (and sandbag removal).  We have almost ceased digging (except in one square) because we need to get ready for all the end-of-the-season photographs.

Tomorrow someone will be taking photos from a balloon of all the areas, so we had to remove the shade that covered the area today.  I can’t believe how heavy that thing was!  But even worse than the weight was the fact that we had to spend the last hour of work in direct sunlight.  Sweat was dripping off of my arms in the noon-hour sun!  I was very grateful to hear that we will not be working full-days tomorrow or Thursday.  If we had to, you would be hearing about me passing out from the heat in someone else’s blog.  Fortunately, we are only going to be doing some last minute cleaning, taking some photos, doing area tours, and packing up the dig materials.

Well, the sails of the Black Pearl (Area K) are lowered, and the season is winding down to a close.  I thank you all for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading about my 4 week adventure.  I hope to be back in 2012 so keep your eyes peeled for more of my blogging!

Thinking about archaeology…

Posted in Mandy Morrow on July 20, 2010 by ehcline

Mandy Morrow writes:

What a week!?  Let’s just say that Area K may have the season’s best finds.  Finding the mud-brick ramparts is only 2nd place.  Sadly, if I told you what we found I might have to kill you… just kidding but seriously, some awesome finds.

Unfortunately, no remarkable finds for me… I only find small pieces of bronze, a bead, some animal bones, flint and LOTS of pottery.  Today I was stuck in a 4’x4’ square trying to articulate the ash floor that seems to have been from the Middle Bronze Age.  I was contorting myself to dig in this square and in the morning I was using the head lamp when it was too dark to see the difference between the ash and the dirt. (Got to say… I looked like a real archaeologist).

Speaking of real archaeology, I have been doing a lot of thinking while on this dig.  Who would have ever thought I would enjoy archaeology!?  Well I do, and I want to keep up with this. Unfortunately, my undergraduate and graduate schools were both too small to have archaeology programs (otherwise, I might have been an archaeology major!)  But, I am considering taking archaeology classes on the side either in between my Masters and PhD. or during my PhD. work as an interdisciplinary program because I am fascinated with this stuff!

I was discussing with Kim (another blogger) last night about the lack of communication between archaeological studies and religious studies.  I find them to be very similar and I think that archaeology can support the Bible (not exactly the other way around or we’d all be digging for Noah’s ark and the Ark of the Covenant).  I want to do more to contribute to conversations between the two fields.

For me, it is fascinating to be seeing the history uncovered before my eyes and I must say that this is why I wanted to be here in the first place… That and I wanted the cool t-shirt that says “I Survived Armageddon”!  I really do want to be a part of uncovering this history so maybe you’ll see me at Kabri next year and if nothing else, I will be back to Megiddo in 2012 (if I can still afford it).

My major motion picture… a horror film (about archaeology)

Posted in Mandy Morrow on July 13, 2010 by ehcline

Mandy Morrow writes:

So a short little note from today… last week I had been working on excavating a tabun.  So today I was working on articulating a wall.  Lo and behold… I found more pieces of tabun which had been covered by some rocks and a lot of dirt.

I feel like I am in a bad horror movie in which everywhere I turn I keep finding pieces of tabun!  Yikes!  I can see it now: I go to the other side of the area and discover some tabun, so I move to another place and of course… more tabun! No matter where I move I see tabun and the camera circles… and then I scream and run away.

Unfortunately I am not allergic to tabun (maybe I should pray about this) because it is such a pain to articulate when it keeps breaking on me.  I tried to tell Mario that I was allergic to it at dinner today, he didn’t believe me… L

Some of my area-mates are fed up with the tabun and want to destroy it once the official photos have been taken and the measurements and drawings are complete.  I think a sledge hammer may be in order (believe me.. pictures of destruction will be coming soon).  And then, when it is destroyed, I will hopefully never see one again (or if I do I might have nightmares).

Jerusalem Adventures

Posted in Mandy Morrow on July 11, 2010 by ehcline

Mandy Morrow writes:

While all the people are at the World Cup final, I am sitting on my computer and blogging about my weekend.  I had an absolute blast.  Thursday afternoon, we got back to the kibbutz, showered, and then boarded the bus to Jerusalem.  For those of you who don’t know, I was in Israel last May (2009) but I enjoyed my time there and wanted to go back.  What an experience!

I went on <www.hostelworld.com> and found us a really cheap hostel outside of the Damascus Gate.  It was in the Arabic area and we had to fight our way through a food market to get to the entrance.  However, the inside of the hostel was great!  It had a very Arabic feel to it, the staff was nice, and we met some really cool people.

The first night some of us met up at a place called Papa Andrea’s for some pizza and cheeseburgers (Yay for non-kosher!! …no offense but I like cheeseburgers).  Then we went over to the New City to a bar and enjoyed a relaxing evening of talking, drinks, and hooka.  I called it a night rather early and then the next day played tour guide to some of my friends.  We went to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Western Wall, and also made it just in time for the City of David and Hezekiah’s tunnel.  We also spent some time shopping.

While we were walking around some guys asked us directions and it turns out that they are digging at Tel es-Safi.  We started walking along with them and ended up going to a bar/café and having a few drinks together.  Ironically, the Megiddo crew is traveling down to Tel es-Safi on Friday for a field trip!

Saturday we went to the Rockefeller Museum and did some more shopping before meeting the group to wait for the bus (it was over an hour late!).  Then this morning it was back to digging.

Overall, we had a lot of fun this weekend and met a lot of really cool people.  Well off to bed again.  L’hitraot!

“Digging away again in Har-Megiddo-ville…”

Posted in Mandy Morrow on July 8, 2010 by ehcline

Mandy Morrow writes:

“Digging away again in Har-Megiddo-ville, Searching for some lost pottery sherds…”

This song seems to keep running through my head all day long (thanks Matt!).  What an adventure!?  If you had told me two years ago that I was going to be working on an archeological dig I would have laughed at you.  But here I am ready to tell you about all of my adventures in the tel of Har-Megiddo.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Mandy I am a seminary student from Minnesota but I currently live in Chicago.  My forte is Hebrew Bible and I have a fascination with classical history.  I love long walks on the beach and… oh wait, I am sure you don’t care about that.

Well, on the first day at the kibbutz, we were divvied up into 4 groups which would work on 4 different locations of the tel.  I was assigned to Area K. (The best area of course!  We even have a pirate flag to prove it!)  When we met our area supervisors, Mario, Rob, Matt, and Kristine, we were instructed that Area K has four goals/expectations:

1)      Fun

2)      Safety

3)      Learning

4)      Archaeology

Thankfully for all, this is true. We have a lot of fun in Area K.  We are currently working through K-9 (Haha!)  which is supposed to be the last stratum of the Late Bronze Age (strata start from the top and go down, so the higher the number the lower we are in the ground… but forget strata 1 and 2 because they were removed by the University of Chicago if I am not mistaken).

So Sunday morning we were up at about 4:30am and on the bus by 4:55.  By the time we arrived at the tel, the sun was just about to come up over the horizon.  We took the long walk up the tel (and of course with my lunch Area K was the furthest walk), put on our sunscreen and got ready for work.  We put the shade up and then we were given a short overview of the tools and how they work (you know I would have thought that I knew how to use a Pick Axe but it is harder than I thought!!)  After that I was assigned to work with Glen on leveling a baulk (to remove the last bit of the K-9 level).  We worked well as a team and got through quite a bit of that baulk on the first day.  We didn’t find a lot of pottery sherds but I did find something bronze that was in the shape of an angel fish (that probably wasn’t its original shape but that is what it looks like now!).

On the second day (near the end of the day) I discovered a taboon (also spelled tabun).  It is an oven, which I have been told was for bread, but in case that isn’t correct, here is the Wikipedia definition:

“A clay oven, shaped like a truncated cone, with an opening at the bottom from which to stoke the fire.” < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taboon>

Unfortunately, the location of the taboon could not have been in the worst spot!  Our baulk was the major path to get to every square and everyone used that spot as a place to step.  Even with an empty sandbag and bright colored dustpans to block it, over half of the Area stepped on it! (It is ok though because these ovens do not hold their shape very well and crumble as they are dug up… they couldn’t go in a museum even if it was worth it). Even Mario (our area supervisor) kept stepping on it!  Of course when he did so he would let out a short curse and everyone would laugh because it was so funny!  In our baulk we also discovered a plaster floor which was not to be stepped on either… there were constant reminders of “Don’t step on the plaster!” and “Don’t step on the taboon!” and “Stop!”  (Maybe you just needed to be there to understand the humor of this…)

Anyways… some of you are probably curious as to what we are looking for and what is kept when we are digging (I know I was!)  Obviously we keep pottery sherds, especially ones with painting, writing, or distinct features (rims, handles, etc.).  We also keep pieces of flint and bones.  Now don’t freak out, the bones we find are typically animal bones, and even if they weren’t we would still classify them as animal bones because it can be hard to tell the difference.  (Plus if we find human remains we might get shut down for awhile to allow for a proper burial, which is just too inconvenient with only 3 weeks left of the bi-yearly 7 week season).  We also have been keeping large pieces of charcoal (must be bigger than a quarter) and burned seeds.  Rocks and dirt are usually disposed of (unless they have ash and can be carbon dated), but anything else that is cool is usually kept, like bronze.

Today when we were digging out the area around the taboon we found 3 more pieces of bronze (which is now a bright forest green) and two of them were flecked with red, purple, and blue coloring that can most likely be attributed to copper (according to the expert area supervisors).  They were really pretty!

Those are my most interesting finds right now…

On a lighter and final note, my neighbor in both the kibbutz and the Area is named Candice and for some reason Mario made us become one entity, also known as Mandice.  At one point when Mario was calling my name from across the area he went “Candice! No, Mandice! No, Mand… (bleep) this! Amanda!”  On that note, I am going to bed before I fall asleep at the computer.  It has been a late night and I have to be ready for another day of digging tomorrow and then we will be off to Jerusalem for the weekend!  I can’t wait!!  Until then, Ciao!  …Wait wrong language… Lilah Tov and L’hitraot!

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