A conveniently timed pause in our excavation schedule allowed me to book a last minute plane ticket and jet off to one of my favorite places to dig – Tel Beth Shemesh, Israel.
I’ve worked on the site for the past 8 summers, and your initial thought might be how boring! But it’s quite a cool tel site, a giant mound built up over thousands of years with dozens of different occupations criss-crossing through time to create a dense puzzle of pottery, artifacts and structural remains (hmm my enthusiasm seems to emphasize my nerdiness perhaps).
One summer we found the massive fortification wall, another summer saw a massive destruction layer revealed characterized by hundreds of burnt mudbrick fragments, a couple summers ago we relocated the multi-chambered gate (which I subsequently mapped upside down, but we don’t talk about that…).
I started going when I was an undergrad but gradually worked my way up to staff – it doesn’t mean I get paid, just that I spend more time doing paperwork. Usually I help take over some of the Total Station work on site to lighten the load for the busy Dr. Shawn Bubel who has the arduous task of trying to teach all the newbies what to do and generally ensures chaos doesn’t rule all of the time. I get my own unit to keep track of and my own group of minions to sculpt into digging machines. I love seeing the changes from year to year as we work our way backwards through the history of the site- see, I knew we were time travelers!