Just a typical day on the Tel

David Colón-Margolies writes:

Yesterday was simultaneously our first day digging at the Tel and Independence Day. After waking up at 4:30 we all quickly scrambled to the busses to start our first day digging. One of the most enjoyable and remarkable things about digging on the Tel is bearing witness to one of the most beautiful sunrises in the world every day. Almost like clock-work, every morning as we arrive at Megiddo, we all exit the busses and walk up the Tel to reach the digging sites just as the sun is peeking out from the horizon. The sky slowly illuminates with shades of rose, and blood red as we hike to our sites before beginning the days work. The date-palms blow in the breeze and the fields, mountains, and cities slowly become more visible. It is truly a time every morning where I stop and try to savor every moment.

We begin every morning by gathering together outside of the digging area and collecting the digging tools and supplies. We then head down and immediately split into our squares and begin chipping away at the dirt carefully to make sure as to collect all of the pottery, charcoal, bones, flint, and artifacts that surface with great frequency. I have been assigned to Area H. Area H is the deepest digging area in the whole Tel. It is 30 feet deep, and spans 12 different cities built on top of each other. It is very exciting to be digging in areas not just ancient but thousands of years old. We all uncover buckets and buckets of pottery daily, and after lunch we spend time washing and cleaning all of the stuff we find. We clean the pottery with large scrubs, and the bones (ironically enough) with toothbrushes. The whole experience is extremely surreal. At 8:30 we break for breakfast which usually consists of assorted vegetables, fruits, cereal, and sandwiches. After waking up so early and doing so much manual labor you work up quite an appetite. Then we resume digging until 12:30, at which point we clean up all the tools and sites and head back to the kibbutz.

In my square alone we uncovered two buckets of pottery, as well as several bones. The process of collecting finds varies by type. When we find pottery we simply toss it into the pottery bucket and bring it home to be washed. When we find bone, we separate it from the pottery but do the same. When we find charcoal or seeds we have to be careful never to touch it with our gloves or hands, so as not to contaminate it. We take small pieces of aluminum foil and fold miniature envelopes to place the charcoal inside. We then carefully place the charcoal inside, and then bag and tag it. Every morning comes earlier than you think, and yet every night feels seems to last later. Each day feels like two days. A day of digging and then a day on the kibbutz. It is an experience quite unlike anything else I have ever experienced. In just two days we have cleared 10 cm of earth. At this pace one wonders what our squares will look like at the end of the four weeks.

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One Response to “Just a typical day on the Tel”

  1. Laurie Margolies Says:

    Wow! Your blog was so informative! I love hearing what your day is like, what you have found and how it feels to be digging. I hope to read more as your excavations continue.

    I will write an email with other comments tonight. Happy early Birthday!!!!

    Love,

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