Can You Dig It?

Gezer 2014 – Update One

By Gary D. Myers

Editor’s note: I expected to arrive in Israel 12 hours earlier that I did. However, I, like many other 2014 Gezer team, experienced flight issues that kept me from arriving on time. During that extra time I expected to talk the dig directors and prepare a start-of-the-season blog about the goals and expectations of this year’s dig. Hopefully, I will be able to write and post that blog later this week. For now, read about the first day.

Set-up Day

For most people, the first day is the second worst day of a dig. Clearly, the worst day is the last day – cleanup day. You’ve worked hard, seen amazing things, developed friendship and hopeful discovered something new. Then after several weeks of excitement, it is time to empty sandbags, tear down tents, and pack up the tools. The sun just seems hotter and the clock ticks slower on cleanup day. But, set-up day is no walk in the park. It’s hard work for volunteers who are still trying to shake the jet lag and adjust to the new time zone. At the same time, the volunteers are amped up with dreams and expectations about the dig. Set-up doesn't necessarily fit well with those dreams and expectation. Well, today was set-up day. And while many of us were still reeling from long flights, missed flights, rescheduled flights, lost luggage and the lack of sleep, the dig must go on.

Nothing really exciting happened today, so a list will serve well for this first blog:

  • Gathered supplies from storage at Neve Shalom
  • Cleared rocks from the road, walking path and tent area
  • Trimmed weeds along trails and near camp
  • Placed rocks around parking area and long barrier fences
  • Gathered supplies for storage container near the site
  • Erected tent at camp
  • Drove fence posts for camp barrier fences
  • Filled sandbags
  • Filled sandbags (I typed it twice because we filled a lot of sandbags)
  • Made path border with sandbars
  • Installed power cords for tunnel lighting
  • Installed steps from viewing platform down to water tunnel
  • Cleaned ancient steps in the water system (to be covered with sandbags)
  • Cleared loose stones and debris from water system
  • Covered pottery washing hose with grass to keep the temperature down
  • And other things that I’m too tired to remember.

There was one exciting moment … even though it is dry and windy, a farmer decided to set a controlled fire in the field adjacent to our site. During lunch we noticed a plume of smoke rising in the distance. The fire was barely controlled at the time. Later it raged to the point that we thought it might jump the road and encroach on the tel. The fire had nearly burned itself out by the time the fire department arrived, but they stayed on to make sure it didn’t flare up again. Now, we have a phone number for one of the area fire officials just in case we need it.

The exciting thing is that we are here and we get to participate in this wonderful dig. More set-up tomorrow, but we should be digging by the afternoon. We can't wait.