The times, they are a’changin’

Hannah VanVels writes:

As Bob Dylan says, “The times, they are a’changin’.” The first session has ended, and the second session has begun. As of breakfast time today, I am officially halfway done with my 7 weeks. It’s a strange paradox of time to me. On the one hand, it seems like the time has gone by so quickly, but on the other hand, it seems as though I’ve been digging for ages. Reflecting back upon the last three weeks, I realize that I’ve actually learned a ton. With the new 4-weekers here, it really shows me how much I’ve actually learned, such as how to use a trowel in the most effective way possible as well as being a pro at distinguishing between pottery and rocks now and that it’s really not too disgusting to lick bone. As I think back upon the past 3 weeks, I remember all the things that I’ve done in Area K, from the beginning stages of just cleaning, articulating walls, following an ash line, and taking down a baulk. The calluses on my hands are quite defined now, and I’m able to point them out and explain what they are from, such as one callus being from scraping with my trowel and another being from pick-axing.

With the departure of the first session participants and the arrival of the second session participants, the dynamic seems quite different around the tel. It seems strange to be asked questions and advice about digging when the first time I ever held a trowel was just 3 weeks ago. We are also really into the excavation now. There isn’t nearly as much cleaning going on anymore, and we are actually finding many more artifacts. Mostly these artifacts seem to be grinding stones or things like that, but in Area K, we did find a really neat head of a figurine, and we’ve been finding bronze more frequently as well. Also in Area K, we’ve started doing bucket lines, like the other areas. We hadn’t needed to do them for the first few weeks. But now that we’re working in the areas that we would walk on, they are necessary. Bucket lines consist of making a giant chain of people and passing rocks and buckets full of dirt and dumping them into wheel barrows and then off the side of the tel. In Area K, we try to make them fun by timing ourselves and counting buckets and trying to break our previous record, but there is just no overlooking that moving over 100 buckets full of dirt is simply hard work. And of course, there is the occasional dirt to the face moment as one swings a bucket with too much enthusiasm. I always look forward to jumping into the pool after a long day’s work and for a shower when the water finally runs clear. And for those wondering (Mom), yes, I have somewhat successfully done my laundry by hand, and my socks remained stained with dirt.

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