Preparing for the dig

Kim Snyder writes:

Got my passport, got my tickets, got my sunscreen, got solar hat and shirts… I think I might be ready to survive “Armageddon!” This has been one crazy year for me, getting ready for this adventure, and it will be the experience of a lifetime!

I must admit – this is the most exciting and scariest thing I have ever done. I am not the average student archaeologist. I’m over 40, a cancer survivor, VERY pale, and not sure of my ability to keep up with the rigors of study and the hard work. However, I am an avid student, an artist, a seeker of information, and responding to a call by the Tel. Yes, the Tel has spoken to me.

Following my cancer battle, I created a Bucket List. Touring Israel and participating on an Archaeological Dig were on that list. In January of 2009 I toured Israel. That was the most incredible 12 days of my life. While touring Tel Megiddo, I asked our tour guide if the location was still being worked. He assured me it was. And as we walked out of the water tunnel to leave, the Tel spoke to me, urging me to stay, and if not to stay to return. “Come back to me, I have stories to tell.”

Scripture tells us that the rocks can speak when God calls for it – and they did to me. Some people think it is merely creative imagination to believe that a location speaks to you, but I believe I heard it correctly. To relegate this “call” to mere imagination would be to call my “call to ministry” to be a matter of mere imagination. And yet, I am a minister. Well, when I got home, I did a web search and found the site “Dig Megiddo 2010.” After a few notes back and forth to Norma at Tel Aviv University, I signed up. And I am going! And I am taking classes on the site! And I cannot wait to return to the Tel to find the stories she has to tell!

Over the last year I have read lots of literature on Archaeology. A lot of it is old material. One of the issues remaining from my brain tumor is the fact that my reading is much slower than it was before hand. I have been working to get my reading up to a faster speed, but I am not sure how that will stack up against the younger student population. So, we will see.

I have spent a tremendous amount of time painting pictures of Israeli locations, and with each one, my pull to return grows stronger. I found on the tour of Israel that I was stronger, healthier, and in better shape than I am in the States. Apparently, a Kosher diet and food with fewer chemicals and genetic engineering is good for my body, or at least better than the average American garbage diet. I am looking forward to a better diet, the hard work, and the change of pace in my life.

In considering what I might find (rocks, bones, pottery, trinkets), the ethical questions of archaeology have been in my thoughts. Whose property is it? What context clues are gained or lost by preserving on site or off site? How will my daily life affect my interpretation of the stories? And the questions others have asked, “will you get to keep anything?” Well, I would certainly like the opportunity to write about what I find, but I do not believe that my “keeping stuff” would serve the greater good. I have long been a fan of art and science museums and enjoyed all of the ancient stuff that shows up. But, when entire temples are dismantled and moved away from their native context, something critical is lost. So, my interest in ethics and just behavior will likely come into play as we talk about what to do with what we find. (A discussion I am anxiously looking forward to!)

Some folks have asked me about safety. In remembering my time in Jerusalem, I noticed that I felt safer there than I usually do in Houston, Texas. I noticed that I was never farther than yelling distance from a well-armed Police, Army, or Mossad Agent. Frankly, here in the States we have lost some of our freedom because we are not faced with losing it, and we don’t appreciate real safety. I have no fear of being in Israel, I have no fear of any hostilities that may crop up, I am trained in first aid, I know how to protect myself, and I know how to adapt. I have no fear of the future. Some might say I have confidence based in my beliefs about live and death, or faith in God, or stupidity. It’s actually that I know my role in the future, one as a witness, a story-teller, a preserver of what is happening. Sometimes that is a very boring “job.” And, sometimes it is a very exciting “job.”

I have been referring to this adventure as “Kim’s Naked Archaeology Expedition.” (Yes, that’s me – ‘Virginia’ Jones.) My basic goal on this dig is to work the story. I believe that Archaeology is the dirty work of History. I love history. The story of us humans. Fascinating stuff. And the places we will be exploring are so loaded with story: 1) The Canaanite Temple area, which is 5000+ years old, and reportedly hosted temple prostitution (which I like to remind my Pastor friends was an equal opportunity event, not just about female prostitutes); 2) The Assyrian Area, which is about 700 BCE and keyed to the time of the Assyrian occupation of Israel; and 3) An Untouched Area – who knows what we’ll find there! I don’t even know which one I’d rather be at!

It’s going to be hard work, dirty work, tedious work, and possibly the best adventure ever. I’m looking forward to meeting new people, building my confidence, getting study pictures for my artwork, and engaging in the academics of story.


10 Responses to “Preparing for the dig”

  1. Kim,
    Great blog! If you’re the first to set up your blog, let me be the first to respond …
    Will eagerly look over your shoulder this summer – will invite our whole community of faith @ Holmeswood as well – we look forward to your weekly postings on YouTube too – wink at us on occasion!


  3. Kim,
    May the Lord be with you guide and direct you. I will be praying for you and your family. I am looking forward to the updates this summer. I enjoyed your blog.
    Your sister in Christ,

  4. Wanda Herron Says:

    Even from your first blog entry I can sense the depth of your passion for this project! I’m thrilled for you and all that will transpire as a result of this venture.

  5. Rueshunda Says:


    I’m sooo proud of you! You will do fine and even outshine the youngsters!!! 🙂 You’re an amazing woman of faith. Do your thing, girlfriend!

  6. Bonnie Dysart Says:


  7. Jimmy Nickell Says:


    I have just finished reading your blog with great interest. I applaud you for your desire in taking this unprecedented adventure in Israel. In many ways it sounds very exciting and challenging. There is great opportunity here for you to grow and develop. I look forward to your returning to us and sharing all the great adventures in this wonderful opportunity for you.
    God speed.

    Jimmy Nickell

  8. Debbie W. Says:

    Thank you for this heart felt description of your plans for the next weeks. This will change your life in some ways unknown right now. Be open to those changes. Wishing you all the best.

  9. Nancy Duvall Says:

    What an adventure waits for you!

  10. Hi, Kim. I’m glad to be among those who have been following your posts and praying for you these past couple weeks. ABP’s site upgrade that includes a rolling blog feature is still in development, but I would be very interested in a first-person reflection – with photos/video – when you return. David

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