Archive for the Anthony Crisafio Category

And then there were none.

Posted in Anthony Crisafio on July 28, 2010 by ehcline

Anthony Crisafio writes:

And then there were none.  The dig is winding down, we have taken down our shades, dismantled our tool collection, moved our rocks, cleaned our dirt, and done every other mindless and menial task in preparation for the impending balloon photo shoot.  Outside of the winding down of lectures, the last minute scramble to finish papers and course work, my thoughts turn to all of the things that I will miss about the dig and all those things I cannot wait to return to.

Of the things I will miss most, the people (both staff and students) rank highest.  Over the past 7 weeks, I have come to rely on these people as much as my friends and family at home.  The staff have taken me in when I am sick and “mothered” me until I submitted to their recommendations to see a doctor or to take a 5 minute break and drink some water so I don’t pass out.  They have taught me about a field I know nothing about (though that has changed now) and have made sure I wasn’t destroying anything too important.  The students have made sure that my sanity left in the same shambled manner that it came it and that my own unique brand of crazy was kept in check.

I will also miss the digging. Though back break, foot twisting, and exhausting, I have come to enjoy the manual labour, for both its mindless repetition and for its intellectual rigour (i.e., don’t destroy anything too important).  I have come to enjoy watching the sun come up in the morning and the sun in general while I work.

In addition to the Tel, I will miss this country.  Israel is a country I have wanted to come to for a long time, it was one of the primary reasons for me coming on this dig this summer.  Have spent 7 weeks travelling and seeing thigns I have constantly heard of was spectacular.  It has reaffirmed my faith in the world and in myself.  Of all the places within the country I will miss Jerusalem most.  It was a place where I was able to finally think about my life post-graduate school and to sit in quiet contemplation and just be.  This might not seem like much to most, but I don’t (and can’t) do this when I am in the states.

Of the things I am looking forward to when I get home, I will quickly list them as to not take away from all the things I will miss: sleeping in a proper bed, amazing food (though when not on the kibbutz the food is quiet good), a shower in the morning and staying clean past 6am, my people (both friends and family), having my car, and being able to charge my phone (I lost my charger the first weekend).

As I prepare to leave, I think about whether or not I will be coming back.  To this country is a simple and resounding YES!  I am already making plans to come back and what sights I will see and resee.  But to the Tel, I don’t know.  In 2 years I will (hopefully!) be finishing my first year of PhD in clinical psychology (or a master’s degree in anthropology), I will be surviving on a graduate student’s salary (aka, nothing) and I don’t know if I will be able to take 3 or 7 weeks off to come back.  I do hope to return at some point.  I want to see all of the amazing and talented people again and to maybe dig a little (despite Area J possibly being closed post this season).  But I don’t know.  You will just have to check back in June of 2012 to see if I will be surviving Armageddon again.

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10 minute extension on sleep in the morning

Posted in Anthony Crisafio on July 21, 2010 by ehcline

Anthony Crisafio writes:

Week 6 and we just got another 10 minute extension on sleep in the morning. For those of you who don’t understand, an extra 10 minutes of sleep means I don’t have to be on the bus until 5:05am. This is amazing news! If you want to understand, try getting up at 4:30am after going to bed at 10pm for about 2 weeks, you will love an extra 10 minutes. Outside of more sleep, we are getting close to being done in Area J. People are being reassigned squares are being closed and we all are awaiting the coming-down of the shades.  And just as things are ending in the area, my body is slowly falling apart. This has been a long time coming. Within 3 weeks of being here my foot started. For about a week I was gimping along. Now my back is starting up. This is not unexpected, the mattresses here, while they are not horrible, are starting to get a body impression in it and the pillow does not always maintain a supportive shape. Or it could be the 5 weeks of pick-axing and squatting bent over while I use the smaller pick-axe and trowel. (Welcome to Megiddo). But more important that will I be alright (Answer: Yes, after a good nights sleep of 12 hours and a massage), is am I still loving it. Answer: without hesitation or equivocation: YES! I am still loving every aspect of the dig. Outside of the body falling apart, there is not much to report. This has become an old game for me, the excitement isn’t lost just the newness of it.

Reflections on Being a Tourist

Posted in Anthony Crisafio on July 11, 2010 by ehcline

Anthony Crisafio writes:

This is my first time to Israel and, as much as I hate being touristy in DC and hate the tourists in DC, I have to say I enjoy being one here. We did Jerusalem this weekend and outside of the fun of getting off of the kibbutz, I loved seeing all of the sites. I didn’t bring a guide book, so we just started to wander around. I think that is the best way to do a city, just start walking with a map in one hand. We stayed right at the Jaffa Gate – the Petra Hostel, which wasn’t horrible. It was amazing having a 3-inch mattress that actually was comfortable to sleep in; it made me miss my massive bed at home. Eight of us shared a room, which was a lot nicer than when I stayed in a dorm style room by myself in Tel Aviv. It was nice being able to lock the room and not have to worry all that much.

Seeing the sites in Jerusalem was amazing. We started out Friday at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and then proceeded to walk around the old city. We explored the Muslim and Jewish Quarters and did some shopping in the Christen Quarter. I finally bought the Cross of Jerusalem that I have been wanting for about 3 months, I also got it at a great price. Haggling is great! It was amazing just sitting in the Church, I rarely feel a closeness to the Divine in a church. But while I was there it was so calm and serene. It has to rank among my 3 favorite churches – The National Cathedral in DC and the Vatican are the other two. My favorite part was the Chapel of Saint Helen in the basement, aside from the amazing artwork and the beautiful mosaic floor; it was so much cooler than being outside.

We then proceeded to start walking. We tried to get to the Dome of the Rock, but couldn’t.  Every time we made our way towards there, we got caught going to opposite way in the call to prayer (twice). We exited the Damascus Gate and tried to see Zedekiah’s Cave. Unfortunately, it was closed. One down, two no-goes. We walked around the Wall, came back into the City through the Lion’s Gate and started seeing the churches along the Via Dolorosa. It was at this point that we realized this was the second time going along the Via. Seeing the churches of all the different orthodox denominations was great. Walking into a Catholic Church right next to a Greek Orthodox Church next to a Russian Orthodox Church was very interesting for me because of my love of church symbolism and iconography. I had the chance to see the birthplace of the Virgin, the two churches that mark the first 2 Stations of the Cross along the Via. At night, after dinner in the Armenian Quarter, I got to see the Western Wall.

On Saturday, we did the Mount of Olives. We rather intelligently, if I do say so myself, took a cab up to the top and then walked back. We hit all the major, and a few minor, churches along the way and got to see the Church of All Nations right next to the Garden of Gethsemane. And then walked to across the street to see the burial place of the Virgin. We made our way back into the Old City to finish up the trip with some haggling. We were supposed to meet the bus driver at 4:30pm to get back to the kibbutz, but apparently he didn’t get the memo and thought 5:30. Well, after an hour in the hot Jerusalem sun, we finally made it back.

Reflecting on this trip, it has been one of the most moving experiences that I have had in my life. Seeing the holy sites really made being in Israel real for me. This is a country, and that was a city, that I have wanted to see for a very long time. And being able to be there and see everything was amazing. It really reaffirmed my faith and my belief in myself. In sitting with my thoughts in the Chapel of St Helen, I know that I am where I am supposed to be right now and that coming here was exactly what I was supposed to do with my life. Let’s hope I can make it back at some point in time.

Naps are amazing!

Posted in Anthony Crisafio on July 8, 2010 by ehcline

Anthony Crisafio writes:

First off, the afternoon post-pottery washing nap is the most AMAZING thing in the world. After digging all from 5:30am (Israeli time) until 1:00pm and then having to washing however many buckets of pottery and bags of bones, taking a shower to get clean and falling asleep is so restorative, particularly when you only get about 4:30 hours of sleep a night. But on to more interesting Megiddo news, the start of a new session.

Last Thursday (1 July) the three-week people left and on Saturday (3 July) the four-weekers people arrived. It has been an interesting culture shock moment to have new people come into our group. It has been eye-opening to see how we all were when we got here, but more fascinating (at least to a psychology major like myself) is being in a position of having-knowledge. Three weeks ago people were helping me, and they still are, with some of the most basic things (i.e., is this pottery/flint/an interesting rock?) and how to use the tools. Now, it is my turn to show them how it is done.

It has been frustrating having new people come into our group, because it means that I have to not only explain the ins and outs of the dig but also the ins and outs of the group. Having an already established group and culture makes working and socializing with the four-weekers interesting, as they have a different style. This has been a really cool learning experience for me since they don’t have the preconceived notions and means of doing things as we did from the first session. They have forced me to reevaluate the way I do things and approach archaeology.

To the Arriving Four-Weekers

Posted in Anthony Crisafio on June 29, 2010 by ehcline

Anthony Crisafio writes:

To all the arriving 4 weekers –

Some things to be aware of as you plan your arrivals or are already here. Firstly, just because we have a pub with in walking distance and just because it is the summer doesn’t mean that you can be neglectful of being a decent human – er, roommate. Keep in mind we are all on a bus by 4:40am, and that means the need for sleep is vital to no falling over and crushing the pottery sherds. Be mindful of you schedule and how it will impact the people you will be staying with.

Secondly, the food here for the most part is actually quite good. That is not to say that having the same meals on a rotating basis doesn’t get old. DON’T complain. Just suck it up or buy food at the shop. There are someone of us who have been eating it for 3 weeks longer and don’t want to hear about it.

Thirdly, if this is your first time drink frequently and often. This really only applies to water. If you want to imbibed other liquids, the bus leaves at 4:40am. So plan accordingly, no one wants another lecture at breakfast.

Fourthly, have cash. They need it for laundry and the buses and there isn’t an ATM on the kibbutz. I learned this the hard way. Bring enough to get you through till you get to a city.

Lastly, injuries happen. Take care of your hydration and your surroundings. Margret is fun to work with in the office, but really we came here to pick ax and dig stuff up. You don’t want to miss too much.

Trust me this is going to be fun and don’t worry we don’t bite…hard.

This past weekend…

Posted in Anthony Crisafio on June 20, 2010 by ehcline

Anthony Crisafio writes:

This weekend the majority of people left Ramat HaShofet (the kibbutz where we are staying for the dig) to go to various places around the country. I decided to stay on the kibbutz to relax since I am here for 7 weeks total (though at this point it is 6). I wanted to catch up on sleep and read and relax and sit by the pool and do your basic vegging (it that the right spelling).

On Thursday, post-dig I ended up at the pool for several hours. Enjoyed the sun and read a book, well more like started a book (for those who care, Freud; Biologist of the Mind, Sulloway). Yes, that is a book about Freud and yes, I am a psychology major, but I am here and loving it so who cares? I certainly don’t. But back to this weekend. We decided to cook out for dinner. It was amazing having meat for dinner and a completely appropriate way to start the weekend! We cooked kosher (naturally) everything – hot dogs, chicken and cubed chunks of some unidentified red meat which was surprisingly good of being mystery meat. We sat around eating and having a good time and Professor Cline (one of the directors for the program) and some of the other area supervisors came and joined in the sing –along. If you every get the chance to BBQ or even really just hangout with a professor outside of the classroom (better if it is outside of the country) it is the best thing ever. There is no pressure to feel like you are making “smart” conversation, you can just kick back and be relaxed. It is especially fun when they joining on the chorus to “Don’t Stop Believing”.

On Friday, after waking up at 10:30am (Israel time), which is significantly better than 4am I headed to the pool for another day of relaxing and random reading. Spent most so much time there that the kibbutz shop closed without a group of us getting our stuff together to do another cook out. So we ended up asking our area supervisor if we could use the grill once he was done with it and subsequently got an invitation to gate crash and eat their food. Talk about feeling awkward, sitting at a table with all of the supervisors and staffers eating their food when all you brought was kosher hot dogs and mustard (sans-the buns). But they are great people and basically force fed us the entire time. For the awkward beginning, it ended up being a lot of fun, particularly when the guitar came out and we starting a second sing-along to the Meggido songs and a few less common Irish pub songs.

Saturday, also consisted of the pool (imagine that) and reading. We eventually got in the pool and ran into Professor Cline. A second laid back conversation about GW classes (all good, of course). It was better than the two nights of sing-along’s mainly for the Israeli children that have no sense of personal space or “no-I-don’t-want-to-be-splashed,-thank-you” that were all around us. It was also the first time that I didn’t feel like I was racking my brain for something to talk to him about.

The worst part of the weekend was the end of it. Everyone came back, clogged up the internet and we had to start digging again. The only reason this was difficult was the waking up at 4am. It was a very abrupt shift backing into the swing of things. The best part was finding out that I am not alone in my amazingly freaky geekish as me. It was amazing that someone pulled out a textbook at the pool as a little light pool reading and that someone else was reading an intellectual biography (more appropriately it was of Kenyon). Right now I am so glad that I am here for the chance to hang out with top people in their fields and geeks like me. More later.

It’s been very interesting so far…

Posted in Anthony Crisafio on June 16, 2010 by ehcline

Anthony Crisafio writes:

It has been very interesting being here. For the weeks before I got here I was freaking out about whether or not I was making the right decision by coming here. No sooner did I did get off the plane I was so excited about being here. Being in Tel Aviv was one of the best day that I have had in a while. Though it was quickly displaced by the first day digging. My friends and family couldn’t see me doing manual labor for 8 hours a day. But after 2 days I am loving it. I can completely see why archaeologists enjoy, as Prof Cline puts it, digging in the dirt.

I’m working in the temple section of the Tel and for the last 2 days I have been pick axing a wall. The dirt goes everywhere and I feel amazing. It is one of the most enjoyable work outs that I have had in a while. (It is a great abs and upper body work out!) The least enjoyable part of the process is the bucket lines – basically hauling 30 buckets of dirt at a time across the dig site and tossing it all in the fill pile. Now multiple that by 4 times a day, at a minimum. It also takes so much longer because there are only 4 of us in that particular section of the site. At the moment I would love to come back in 2 years and keep digging, let’s see if that holds true for the next 6 weeks. Check back next week and see what happens.