Tuesday, June 30, 2009

3rd Weekend Tour Part Two

After we left the Church of the Nativity we headed to Mt. Zion.....well what they think is Mt. Zion. Since the Jerusalem gates have been added onto and revised no one is quite sure where Mt. Zion is. They think thats it location may have been moved during the intertestamental period. However, we know that this is Mt. Mariah and therefore we are headed to visit the traditional upper room. We walk through narrow streets in between several churches and along the Zion gate of Jerusalem. The upper room is very ornate in architecture and our tour guide immediately points out that its Crusader style. There aren't any other "traditional upper rooms" but there is not consistency with this room being it. Also, below it is the traditional tomb of King David. However, that doesnt' fit well either since Mt. Zion is now outside the city gate of Jerusalem and we know he was buried inside. The only reason that this is known as the upper room is because of a Mideval Age tradition that recognized this building as the first church on this mountain. So who knows?
Then we go to an outlook where I got several great panoramic shots of Jerusalem, the Kidron valley, the Mount of Olives, Silwan and some of the northwest part of Jerusalem ( new city)
After that we walk down the mountain to the House of Caiphas. We know that this mountain has always been Mt. Mariah and that means that here Jesus would have been led to Ciaphas's house to be held after Judas betrayed him, that here Abraham would have been instructed to sacrifice Isaac and Peter probably denied Christ three times. Beside Caiphas's house there is a staircase that dates back to the First Temple period and one of very few places where we have access to intact First Temple architecture. Therefore, Jesus very likely walked these steps whether as he was being led to Ciaphas or while walking around Jerusalem...SO AWESOME. They are excavating village remains on either sides of these staircases ( see pictures).
Next we visited the Garden Tomb. Our tour guide starts off by telling us that Golgotha means skull and in this side of a hill is the appearance of a skull. The current bus station right beside this hill used to be a quarry and was right beside a busy Roman road. This would have been an ideal spot to crucify Christ so that everyone would see him as they passed and mock him..which is what the Romans wanted. We are told in scripture that he was mocked and spit on while on the cross.
The spot of land that now houses the Garden Tomb was bought for 2,000 lbs by the British is 1894. It was first discovered by a Greek man in 1867 and he found what he thought was a cistern , but was later found to be a wealthy tomb. He sold it to the british after giving up on the excavation of the cistern.
This spot is right outside the city gates of Jerusalem and in Hebrews we are told that "outside the city He suffered".
What we know from the Bible that leads us to this tomb is that Joseph of Arimethea was rich well known man and had a tomb by a garden. He is the one who asked for Jesus's body and gave up his own tomb for Him.
We also know that criminals in the bible days got massive graves ( the romans tried him as a criminal) however, in Isaiah 53 we are told that "He will be the rich in His death"....so yet another prophecy was fulfilled when Christ was laid in Joseph of Arimethea's tomb.
The New Testament tells us that the tomb was cut out of rock and had a large stone rolled in front of the entrance...this tomb fits that criteria though no large rock to hide the entrance was ever found.
As we entered the tomb we could hear tons of groups having thier own worship services in the gardens nearby. Talk about getting a taste of HEAVEN....we had some people singing "Thats why we praise him, thats why we sing"...in another language..i just recognized the tune. Then you had an African American pastor leading a sermon to a group of people yelling "Amen, Hallelujah". There were several of us who couldn't keep it together..and rightfully so.
As you enter the tomb you see a sign on the door that says " He is not here, for He is Risen". In front of you there is a small room where the family could mourn for the body before leaving it in the tomb. Then to the right you have three small sections. To the left would be where they would lay the body. In the middle ( i forget what this is for, sorry) and to the right is another bench.
So the women who came to the Tomb to care for His body would have entered and immediately been able to see his neatly folded linens laying where the body was. Then as the men came back with them they would have had to enter the tomb completely to see the Angel sitting around the corner. AWESOME.
Ill blog later about the arguments for this site and the Church of the Holy Selpechur and why different people believe each one is the true site for Christs tomb.

Pictures of all of this.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Some more prayer requests

I just wanted to ask for your prayer in these areas.

1. More unbelievers are revealed in group...I dont know how they survived the Garden Tomb ( i haven't blogged on that yet) because I was in tears the whole time we were there. Pray that their roommates will have chances to minister to them and we can all show them the power of God in our lives.
2. My square friend Jared has a baby due in September....its almost 31 weeks and weighs a little over 2 lbs..his wife is at home alone.
3. Cohesion in the group....we ( the Southwest Seminary group) have become a family and everyone gets along rather well with everyone else....now we have 22 more being added to our dig and I can already sense tension...pray that God would unite us for the next two weeks.
4. That everyone would stay healthy while on the dig...its getting hot and people are growing tired and SORE!!!
5. That God would speak to us individually while we are here....rather while touring or while digging up buckets up dirt....that we would find time to spend with him and remember why we came.
6. That our home would sell and we would find jobs in Texas..still nothing on both.
7. Some people ( especially those who left behind spouses ) are starting to get homesick and we are just now at the halfway point.
Thank you for your prayers thus far...God is working!!!

1. So far no one has had any serious injuries on the dig or surveying.
2. Some people who had only signed up to stay for two weeks extended it to 5 weeks.

4. Adam and I have friends here who will be waiting for us with open arms when we get to Ft. Worth...two of them have offered us their guest rooms if we get to TX and don't have anywhere to stay.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

3rd Weekend Tour Part One

Our first stop is Herodion, one of the many projects Herod the Great took on during his reign over the Jews. Just to give you some background on Herod he was known to be a little paranoid and ended up killing his wife and some of his children because of it. He was also not in a position to be King of the Jews since his mother was an Arab pagan, this probably added to that paranoia.
You can see Herodion from far far away...it it more of a volcano shaped compared to the rolling hills of the shephelah. Josephus describes it as looking like a women's breast ( when the fortress was at its height). Herod built Herodian as both a living quarter and a burial place. There are four main towers of Herodian and they are all on the 4 points of the compass.
Jesus is compared to Herod a lot in the scriptures. Herod moved tons of sand from a nearby mountain to build up Herodian...Jesus spoke of having faith to move mountains.
Just two years ago archaeologists found what they think is Herod's tomb....right where Josephus said it would be in the side of the mountain. Its still under excavation but a very decorative sarcophagus was found smashed to pieces which is likely showing the bitterness that people felt towards Herod.

Next we headed towards the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, which is now in Palestinian controlled West Bank. We have to drop off our tour guide before we enter thru the walls since he is an Israeli citizen and is not allowed to enter. As we enter we see tons of graffiti on the concrete walls....one says " to exist is to resist" and another has a dove wearing a bulletproof vest. We also see a shop called "Obama Pizza" and when we enter a store someone says "Shalom Obama"....hes a pretty popular guy huh?
As we go through the city we pass Rachel's tomb. Rachel was Jacob's wife and she died giving birth to Benjamin. Bethlehem is also known as the City of Kings since both King David and Jesus himself were born there.

The Church of the Nativity was first built by Constantine and had an octagonal shape-a symbolic shape to commemorate an event. However, Justinian came along and thought it was not grand enough so he tore it down and built it bigger and better on the same site.
Let me stop here and explain how crazy some of our Christian traditions are. Not crazy, like we shouldn't believe them but crazy in the fact that we have believed weird things due to tradition. In the gospel of Luke we are told that there is no room in the inn so Mary and Joseph are forced to stay in a stable.
First you have to remember that everyone was coming home for the census at this time. So all of Joseph's family was probably going back to his childhood home and therefore it was crowded. The inn was probably also overflowing so they chose to go back to Joseph's relative home and stay down in the "stable" instead of the upper room. The stable or cave was normally underneath the main house. Israelite's would build their homes on top of caves to add more storage to their home and a place to keep their animals. So yes, they probably were surrounded by animals but they were not out in the wilderness in a cave. Mary probably had the help of her in-laws family. That might ruin a few Christmas cards huh?
So as we enter the church we have to duck through a very low door. You can see three different door shapes though that get smaller. The theory is that the door got smaller and smaller to keep attackers from riding in on horses or to make sure you bow down as you enter. We go in and immediately are herded into a line to go down into the cave where Jesus was born. You are probably thinking " how sure are they that this is the site". We asked that question. Lots of places throughout Israel have a very strong tradition that helps to validate them. To have a strong tradition you need a) no other competing traditions and b) oral tradition that is consistent.
This site is one of the strongest traditions of all of the biblical places. There are NO other competing traditions for where the birthplace of Jesus was.
So then we stand in line for 1.5 hours ( and no there is not air conditioning and no, not everyone had on deodorant). As we descend into the cave our tour guide tells us " we had to put up asbestos on the wall to keep it from catching on fire"....at least that is what Adam and I hear. The cave is very small and there is tapestry on almost every wall. A fourteen point silver star is underneath what looks like a fireplace mantle and that is the spot where Christ was born .The 14 points represent Jesus' lineage from Abraham to David, David to captivity and captivity to Christ. As you turn to your left there is another area where he was wrapped in swaddling clothes. Actually the whole time you are down there you are underneath the main alter of the church of the nativity....only about 15 people can fit and even then you are tight. Adam and I take a picture touching the star. To be honest I wish I could have stayed down there and prayed or done some reflection but we are moved through very fast...i mean there are at least 1,000 more people behind us so you get 30 seconds to take your picture and you are out. The Church of the Nativity is owned by three different groups....Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Roman Catholic. Kings in the past would have been crowned here where Christ was born instead of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where he died since they would not want to receive a crown of gold where Christ was crowned with thorns.
Thats enough for one blog.....make sure to check back later on for new and more accurate information on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.....turns out our Tour guide has been feeding us some Jewish traditions since he is Jewish and lately has been almost mocking the bible. So this weekend one of the bible professors came with us and gave us wonderful HISTORICAL information on the places we went and the places we have been. He showed us scripture and it was wonderful. You can also look up places for yourself and link up the scripture to these locations.

Pictures of Herodion and Church of the Nativity

Friday Dig

Today everyone is working a little bit slower....we are all pretty tired and ready for two days off. At the Tel Tour Dr. Ortiz and Sam Wolff show us exactly what has been found in what field and explain some ways that archeaologists make conclusions based on what they find. Apparently an archeaologist from Israel came though today and told our supervisors that they couldn't believe we had only been digging for 2 weeks based on the work done and the findings....exciting things are happening here!!! ( its so hard not to tell you).
Dr. Ortiz tells us that we have surpassed his expectations for this season and that is nice to hear after digging in the heat!!!
After digging Adam goes with Boon to pottery analysis to better understand how to read the pottery. I opt for the pool...along with about 10 other gezerites. It was soooo nice!!!
At 3:00 about 12 of us meet up to take the hike over to Latroun Monastary and the remains of a Crusader castle about a mile away. Two of our supervisors drive us there and we decide to hike back through fields. The Monastary is pretty neat and apparently its the first place Jesus was seen after he arose from the dead, after appearing to the women in the garden ( adam and I are going to check on this and we will let you know). The Crusader Castle is pretty neat and there are lots of full rooms and arches left intact. The hike back absolutely kicked our butts...talk about a workout...after 6.5 hours of digging!!! I had bad calf spasms afterwards and we were pretty tired!!! We watched 1/2 of a movie in the dig house after supper and then went to bed....this weekend we tour again!!!

Pictures from 2nd week of Dig

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tues, Wed and Thursday of Diggin!!!

So once again we woke at 4:15 and headed to the Tel. Adam spent the first two hours pushing wheelbarrows up a hill to add to our big dump pile. His square is moving fast! I think he was a little dehydrated because he had a headache. Luckily, no one else has got sick on the Tel though...but some have stayed behind for the day knowing that they couldn't work. During pottery washing some really neat Greek decorations are found on a sherd and that encourages us to scrub harder and look closer. I make more top soil plans and start taking levels on my own. Dr. Ortiz says that when he was doing digs at my age he was not allowed to touch the equipment....however, this dig is a teaching one so students are encouraged to do as much as they want!!
Even though we have sworn off day time naps we fell asleep after taking a shower today....and NOPE we didn't regret it at all and YES we did sleep through the entire night!!!

Today we open up a new square- still looking for a section of the outer wall. At the end of the dig day Dr. Ortiz announces that we will have a Tel Tour today since our group has found sooo much in the last three days. Like I said I can't tell specifics at this point but I think its safe to say that we are finding what we think is a 4 room house---common of Israelities. On the way home we spot a huge brush fire across the highway from Neve Shalom...if you dont know Israel is going through a huge drought so we watch it for a while after we get home...eventually it goes out. We also stop at the grocery store today and Adam and I buy peanut butter ( I dont like how they prepare a lot of thier meat here so I am only eating meat like 3 times a week....so the peanut butter will fill in for protein). We also buy a cooler to keep our water bottles in and PEPSI :) Tonight instead of a lecture we will have pottery analysis where the professors will teach you how to date pottery by three different ways 1. Material made of ( inclusions in it- white inclusions in dark clay is a cooking vessel) 2. Color ( slip- a thin glaze that is burnished with stone or other pottery) and 3. Shape-the base, foot and handles (different people groups make handles thicker, thinner..same for foot and base.
We also chop off ALL of Adam's hair when we get back. Our friend Jared brought his clippers to our room and when we get done cutting off all of Adam's hair it looked like we had a small yorkie laying in the floor...he had soo much hair ( look for it in pictures). He wanted it buzzed b/c it get sooooo hot!! A lot of the professors can't stop talking about how different Adam looks and they keep asking me " who is the new guy, does your husband know you are with him". We have also started a laundry method that saves us time. When we get home from the dig we take off our shoes and then jump in the shower completely dressed. We just take the detergent in with us and wash our clothes as we clean up. Then we put them on the balcony and the HOT HOT Israeli summer air dries them by the time we get back from dinner!!!!
After dinner I create more top plans and teach Mariah how to do them as well!!!!

Today was the HOTTEST day ever..no really. It was at least 105 degrees and everyone could tell. We drank tons of water and moved our shadecloths so that everyone was in shade 100% of the time. Adam's square spent the first part of the dig morning sweeping everything down really well for pictures. They are taking down walls of the Hellenistic time period in search of Iron Age surfaces underneath. Adam and I jumped in the pool when we got back to Neve Shalom and it was very refreshing. At pottery washing today a large (probably 3 inches) scorpion went running through our group and we had to get rid of him...scary!!! I found some pottery today that had both red and black slip----it will probably be analyzed at Monday's reading since we dont have pottery washing tomorrow!!!!
We are also briefed tonight on our weekend trip.
Here is the schedule.
Saturday- Head to the West Bank and go into Palestinian controlled area to see Herodium ( the fortress of King Herod, where his tomb was found in 2007- right where Josephus said it would be). Then we will go to Bethlehem ( where you have to have a passport since its considered to be outside of Israel as well) and see the Church of the Nativity. Then we will go see the Church of St. Peter-built on the site where he denied Christ three times and the rooster crowed and finally to Mt. Zion where we will go to the Upper Room quickly before our 4:30 reservation at the GARDEN TOMB!!!!!!! All of that in ONE DAY!! We have to dress very conservatively for all of the sites- girls can't show knees or shoulders.
Sunday we are going back to Jerusalem to the Woll (spelling??) Musuem which a huge mansion and then to the Israel Musuem where the shrine of the book is and the original Dead Sea Scrolls. After that we will go onto the Temple Mount to see the West Wall and the Wailing Wall...we cant' wear any religious symbols and can't bring our bibles. Its controlled by Muslims now and if they see it they will passionately ask you to leave. After lunch we get 3 FREE hours in Jerusalem to SHOP or do whatever you want to!!!!! YAY!!!!!! Jerusalem is wondeful and I want to explore the Armenian and Christian quarter more.
Each night we will come back to Neve Shalom for dinner so I think we will actually get to rest some. Next week we will only work til Thursday. Thursday night we will have a big 4th of July celebration and BBQ. We are also having a talent show and Adam has signed up...surprise, surprise :).

Friday- We did lots today so I will save it for a whole other blog...and then I will post pictures from this week...I am trying to take pictures at every part of our day so I can do a blog on the "Day in the Life of Gezer Archeaologists".

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Monday-6th Day of Dig.

So from all of my blogs thus far it sounds like we are just out having a good ole time, roaming Israel. And that is correct...but only on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday thru Friday we HIT IT HARD!!!! I have never sweated this much in my whole life...no joke. I have also never drank this much water in my whole life...probably 1.5 liters before noon and another liter before bedtime. Adam has never pushed so many wheelbarrows full of dirt, and now his arms hang down to his feet....they have been stretched :).
I want to also address the fact that you may be wondering why we aren't saying anything like "wow, we found a _______ today". We can't talk about certain things that we are finding for three reasons.
1-Dr. Ortiz would like to write about it before anyone else does.
2-We are making more discoveries everyday and if we publicized it every day we would have looters coming to the Tel at night.
3- We would also have more and more tourists up on the Tel with us and they would slow down our work ( we already have a group come through about every other day that want to see what is going on).
SO, with that said let me assure that you everyday we hear a loud shrill of excitement as someone finds a Material Culture ( a.k.a- a really neat thing) in the dirt. We are also connecting buildings to one another and Dr. Ortiz has said " this season we are finally finding everything we have been looking for over the past three seasons". To sum up-WE ARE ACTUALLY DOING ARCHEAOLOGY!!
If you want to find out what we find ask us when we get back to the states and we will gladly tell you...as long as you dont publish it on the internet either :).

We have a big group of tourist goes through and they want to know what is going on. Adam's team has taken down two more baulks (I'll post a picture of a top plan so you can see what a baulk is) but for now, let me explain. We work in a 5 by 5 meter square. However, we came in .5 meters all around so that we only dig in a 4 by 4 meter square leaving a .5 meter of dirt on all sides so that we can look at the stratigraphy. Therefore, to take down a baulk either means that you want to see if two squares connect, if architecture is repeated in the baulk and to start a new layer ( like from Hellenistic to Iron Age). My square has opened up two more squares after a discovery in hopes of a continuation of fortification.
My co-supervisor, Paul, is becoming one of my favorite people on the trip. He is a retired history teacher/football coach from Michigan. He coached Alex Rodriguez who is now a famous baseball player...you may have heard of him recently from dating Madonna. Anyways, every afternoon I leave my gloves on the Tel so that I wont forget them the next day. So in the mornings, Paul gladly tries them on for me so that if there is a scorpion inside it bites him first. HAHA....what a great guy!! Yes, there are scorpions here in Israel ...Adam has seen four or five. Black and yellow ones...and our director Sam Wolff has been stung by one on a dig.
My other supervisor Dan is teaching me how to draw the top plans for our squares. There are all kinds of measurements you have to take and different ink color for different features....it kinda look like an architectural draft. I love it so far ...its probably as close to art as I will get right now.
The best part of my day though was getting a letter from Jerri-my mentee back in Johnson City!!!! She only wrote a couple of lines but I am thrilled that she thought of me!!
Tonight we have pottery washing and a lecture by Aren Maeir who teaches here at Bar-Ilan University. He is speaking on "Whats new at Gath of the Philistines-Fresh Results from Excavation". I am taking notes at almost every lecture and will put up some of the more interesting ones later ( Adam probably thinks they are all interesting :)

Ill add pictures from the whole week on Friday's blog!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sunday Tours

So it has taken me a quite a long time to put up and describe our last weekend of touring...but we did soooooo much!!! Plus, the internet here is slow and takes like 2 hours to upload all of my pictures..I guess I could delete some of them but they all become precious to me!!!!
So, after a good , long, air conditioned nights sleep at our hotel in Arad we woke up and ate a wonderful breakfast.....including chocolate cake!!
We then headed towards Tel Arad...about 20 minutes from modern Arad. I put a lot of descriptions up with the pictures themselves but basically it was a Canaanite Village that was later taken over by the Israelites and they built a fortress there. They ( the israelites) turned a shallow cistern into a pretty impressive well and we all prayed that we wouldn't find anything that deep to dig out!!
They also had a Holy of Holies that was laid out like the one found at the temple in Jerusalem ( accept they added a pagan goddess standing stone since they mixed the religions of the Northern and Southern tribes.
Next was Beer Sheva where Abraham and Abimelech, two leaders of the ancient world, met over seven lambs and a well, which became known as the 'Well of the Oath' (in Hebrew, Beersheva). "Then Abraham complained to Abimelech about a well of water that Abimelech's servants had seized. So Abraham brought sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelech, and the two men made a treaty. Abraham set apart seven ewe lambs from the flock, and Abimelech asked Abraham, ‘What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs you have set apart by themselves?’ He replied, ‘Accept these seven lambs from my hand as a witness that I dug this well.’ So that place was called Beersheba, because the two men swore an oath there" [Genesis 21:25-31]. Thus it was here that Israel’s first conflicts over grazing land and water rights were resolved. You can see the well right at the entrance of Beer Sheva.
I overcame a fear of underground caves as well at Beer Sheva....really it was peer pressure but I am so glad I went in and saw the water system for this ancient city.
After that we headed to the Meditterrean Sea to do some swimming and eat lunch. The beach was hot and there was not a lot of people there. We were there though on a work day ( sunday) so that might explain the low numbers. We ate pizza and chips and then waded into the water. We would have jumped in but we only had an hour and a half to eat lunch and get back on the bus so we opted to stay dry. There were black flags that created a square in the water where you could swim. Our group didnt know that so the people who did swim were yelled at in Hebrew....and didn't know what to do until someone came over a loud speaker and said " if you want to swim, come here". Side note- the men here like speedos.
After that we went to the Valley of Elah...where David slew Golaith. I guess coming to Israel as a Christian I thought that places where such big events happened would all be set apart and on a road. WRONG. Our tour bus had to stop on the side of the highway and we had to dodge traffic to get down under an old bridge to see the Valley where they fought. It was just a bunch of americans standing out in this field taking tons of pictures while people on the highway whizzed by. However, you have to consider that only about 130,000 Isrealis are Christian while a majority are Jews and Muslims.
Finally, we headed back to Neve Shalom to do some laundry, eat dinner ( PITA PIZZA AGAIN :)) and attend an optional Vespers meeting. The speaker was a professor from Oklohoma and he talked about David and Goliath which was neat since we were there 2 hours earlier. We also sang and recited some verses...a lovely way to end our weekend..tomorrow morning its back up at 4:15 and hitting the ground running!!!

Pictures from Tel Arad, Beer Sheva and the Valley of Elah

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


If you can't tell from the title Masada is big and awesome and Adam's favorite part thus far.
We headed to Masada after the Dead Sea and we were told that we would need to wash every bit of that oily water off our skin and reapply tons of sunscreen. We pulled in and our tour guide told us that we would be taking the cable car up the HIGH HIGH Tel of Masada....great ( adam is very afraid of heights). He stood in the middle of the cable car and clung to every railing he could find on top of Masada.
Masada was an important geologic feature that created a perfect fortress for Herod and the Jews. Its nearly impossible location allowed Jewish rebels to seek shelter from persecution ( Rome). During the final days of Masada, the Roman empire built a wall all the way around Masada and then set up encampments to nearly every side ( the square encampments are still visible today ..look for them in our pictures). They also built a huge seize ramp up to the walls of the fortress that is very impressive. More impressive to us now that we have spent 7 days hauling dirt and rocks around....nevertheless they were not under shadecloths and didn't have wheelbarrows and probably were not given two breakfast and a fruit break.
As the Romans were closing in on the Jews they decided to choose death by their own hand instead of death or slavery by the Romans. The men first killed all of thier wives and children and then drew lots to see who would kill who. The last one would have to fall onto his own sword. ( Pottery sherds with these men names were found). When the Romans finally breached Masada's walls they only found two women still alive.
During Herod's rule of Masada he had two palaces built....a North and South one. The North one was three tiers and was built directly into the side of the cliffs. He also had heated baths and the South palace was used to entertain guests. There are several original frescos at Masada as well and a really nice Mosaic floor in a later Byzantine Church.
We toured Masada for about three hours and didn't see everything before they closed and kicked us out. We walked out down the Roman seize ramp and headed to Arad to stay the night. We had a wonderful dinner ( they had chocolate cake and therefore I needed some milk to go with us.....however when I asked the waiter for some he gave me a stern look and reminded me that they are Kosher and since we had meat for dinner they couldn't mix dairy with it ...he did say I could drink my milk outside but i declined) Then some of us headed out into town. It was Shabbat and therefore many stores were closed until sundown. We did manage to find a gelato shop and many of us enjoyed 2 scoops of Gelato. Our group is getting closer and closer and Adam and I are enjoying the friendships we are making. The next morning we ate a wonderful breakfast and headed to Tel Arad. Thats another blog though!!!!
You really should google Masada to get a better idea of this awesome city...our pictures dont do it justice!!

Pictures of Masada

Sunday, June 21, 2009

2nd Weekend Trip Part One

This morning we left out at eight o'clock to head to the Negev ( the southern part of Israel). It was so nice to sleep 8 full hours and get up when the sun is already up. As we began to drive we saw the wall that divides Israel from the West Bank....some parts of the wall are just barb wire fence. Our tour guide gave us the cases made by both the Palestinians and Israelis for wanting the wall up and why it should come down. The closer we got to Jerusalem the less vegetation we saw and we also two shepherds tending big flocks of sheep. Past Jerusalem it gets much more arid and you won't see plants for miles and miles. We also drive past several Bedouin encampments...picture shacks built with scraps of wood and tin. These people are nomadic and move around a lot. However, with the current fight over nation lines they are starting to stay more permanent in fear of getting in trouble. Some Bedouin encampments are recognized by Israel as cities, and others are not. Therefore some Bedouin pay taxes, some dont....some serve in the army, some dont.
The West Bank is very dry and receives very little rain..its supposed to be 110 degrees today so we are all chugging water like crazy. We start to see signs that tell us how far below sea level we are. Our final destination is the Dead Sea...which is the lowest point on the earth. We pass 150 meters, 300 meters and then I lose track.
Our first stop is Qumran...where they found the Dead Sea Scrolls. My family and I have seen them when they were on tour in the states. We get there and enter to watch a film on the Essenes...a group of Jews who had formally worked in the temple in Jerusalem. They moved out in to the cliffs by the Dead Sea to restore themselves to true purity after being dissatisfied with how things were going in the temple. They did everything as a community and shared what they had with everyone. They had a working kiln and some of thier pottery was found in Jerusalem...which means they traded. A shepherd boy threw a rock into one of the caves nearby and heard pottery break so he went in after and found the first of the scrolls. Since then they have found 12 more caves with scrolls. We saw the bathhouse, the "dining room" and some of the burials.
Next stop was Ein Gedi. It is mentioned several times in the bible in the Song of Songs; "My beloved is unto me as a cluster of henna flowers in the vineyards of Ein Gedi" (1:14). According to Jewish tradition, David hid from Saul in the caves here; "And David went up from thence, and dwelt in the strongholds of Ein Gedi" (1 Samuel 24:1).
You can see the cave in our pictures where David is thought to have cut off a peice of Saul's garment knowing that the Lord had delivered him over. There were also ibex running around everywhere-wild goats.
After that we headed to the Dead Sea.....MY FAVORITE PART!!! I was totally expecting to jump in and it feel like swimming in cooking oil. However, it isnt' that much thicker than the Gulf and its beautiful. You can see really far down and its soooooo NEAT to float. I was having a hard time swimming b/c it pushes your whole body up. Finally, Adam figured out a position where we could just chill and let the current take us. Some people there were smothering mud from the shores on themselves and then letting it dry. Apparently the best body products are made from the minerals of the Dead Sea......so right after we took showers we went to the AVADA factory where they make the line of products. This stuff goes for like 100 bucks a bottle in the states. Adam and I picked up some presents and only paid about 24 American dollars....our tour guide gave us discount cards and everything at the factory is a good price. There were soooo many tourist there....we saw a CHinese family there and there final bill was 728 American dollars.!!!!! People on our team who have been to Israel before were buying tons of this stuff b/c A) its soooo expensive in the states and b) the women in thier lifes would not be happy if they come home without it!!!!They gave us samples to try and I have to admit that my skin likes Avada!!
Anyways, after that we headed up to Masada....that was Adam's favorite place and we took tons of pictures there so I will give that its own blog. By the way..i have videos ( like 45 seconds) of each place we have been. However, our internet here is painfully slow and I am probably pushing my limits with all the photos I upload. So, when we get home check back on here for the videos!!!
P.S.- I felt much better Saturday and probably drank about 2 liters of water before dinner!!! My Papa reminded me that I am not a camel and that water is free so I better take DRINK IT!! Good advice :)

Qumran, Ein Gedi and Dead Sea pictures

4th and 5th Day of Digging

Well Thursday and Friday of digging were kinda same ole same ole. There were some finds that we can't discuss yet and that makes it fun...the anticipation of what we are going to find!
Thursday-Adam started working on the other side of the wall and pretty soon will have it all unearthed. He made a neat discovery that we can discuss in person when we get home.
My square took down more of the rampart and North -South baulk. We started pottery washing today...its not as fun as I thought it was going to be....we sit underneath a shade cloth outside and wash several ( probably 50 ) buckets of pottery. I got the jackpot bucket (sarcasm) and wound up washing about 200 small pieces of pottery with no slip, glaze, sgraffito or writing on them. Oh well, its a good time of fellowship. Dr. Shish, the oldest archeaologist in Israel is coming to visit today so we cleaned up around our square, including what we call the coffin. During second breakfast today I tried the yogurt here for the first time and oh my....the cappucino yogurt is AWESOME!!!!!

Friday-Even though we ate two breakfasts and have a fruit break we are working hard for 6.5 hours every day in the heat....so when I started feeling dizzy on Friday I was not surprised. I got dehydrated....threw up twice and more or less needed some sugar. I thought I brought some sugar packets with us but we changed carry on luggage right before we left for the airport and I think they got left behind. Our Tel nurse gave me sugar, sat me down and gave me some gatorade. They took me and Adam back to the Tel and I slept for about an hour. I felt better by lunchtime. I know this sounds passive but this is kinda normal for me...nothing to worry about. I just need to drink more and take in more sugar. I have always been a little hypoglycemic so I think I just need to be more aware of my body. Adam did a great job taking care of me the rest of the day and we only missed the last two hours of digging,.....one hour was the Tel Tour where we walk around on Fridays and see what everyone has found....so we didn't miss too much work.
After lunch we had an afternoon free from lectures and pottery washing so I drew, Adam slept and then Dr. Ortiz bought everyone ice cream. After that we all played cards until dinner and then went to bed.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Too tired.

Well we are leaving tomorrow to spend the weekend in South Israel...the Negev. We will be going to the Dead Sea, Masada, Ashkelon and the Mediterranean Sea. We still have to pack and do some laundry so I will write a blog on our 4th and 5th day of digging later on this weekend. However, I did put up some new pictures from this week so you can see our progress. They are in the same album as the "first day" pictures so just scroll down after you click on this link.

First week pictures

Also, just in case we don't have internet where we going I want to wish both of our Dad's a HAPPY FATHERS DAY!!!! We love you both and thank you for supporting our every move. We are both very blessed to have WONDERFUL Dads!!!! Can't wait to hug you when I get back.
Also Happy Fathers Day to my Papa who keeps me laughing and encourages me with his emails. Love you Papa!!!
Also, Happy Birthday to my Nana Coleman....LOVE YOU!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

3rd Day of Digging

* I added pictures to the blog about our first day of digging*

First of all, last night was awesome. We had a lecture on the idea behind Neve Shalom/ Wahat al Salam from one of the primary school directors and then we had a welcome reception out by the pool.
Ill post more on Neve Shalom later but the gist is that a monk, Bruno Hussar, had an idea to create an interfaith community mixing Arabs and Jews. They started with five families and now have 55 families. Their primary school was the very first of its kind to have duel language learning teaching both Arab and Hebrew. They have since started 4 more schools all over Israel and hope to have another going next year.
The welcoming reception was absolutely beautiful. We sat underneath palm leaves, out by the pool watching the sun go down. They brought out a pizza oven ( unlike anything I have ever seen) and made pizza on pita bread. They had three kinds..one full of spices, one with goat cheese and mushrooms and the other with a sweet tomato sauce and green olives. I had 2 pieces and Adam had 3...not to mention all the wonderful sides and 6 kinds of gelato for dessert. So, we went to bed full and happy. Have I mentioned that sleeping after a full day of digging, pottery washing and lectures is like going into a coma. I know that I changed into my pajamas, got into bed and turned off the lights but I have no collection of doing it.
Anyways, Day three of digging went great. Everyone knows thier routine now and we are all starting to really know each other. A local Arab trades us some fresh apples for a watermelon and we add that to our first breakfast.
Adams square went down another meter today and found the bottom of the North side of a wall. My square took down our baulk that runs east to west and found the top layer of the rampart and a door post. ( by the way, its ok for us to talk about this but dont post it on anything that is read by lots and lots of people.....we dont want visitors coming by and interrupting our work, and the archeaologists still need time to analyze everything). Actually, there are other things that we are finding that can't be discussed on the internet...ask us in person when we get home and we will be glad to share.
My square a lot of time cleaning up our site today since a famous Israeli archeaologist is coming tomorrow to see our square. Therefore we clean out lots of weeds, trash and washed over debris.
Two visitors from the states stop by with thier dog and talk to us about what we are finding. They are coming back next week to see our progress.
I want to introduce some of the people in our squares so that if I mention them in a blog you will know who I am talking about.
Adams square
Supervisor- Ghassan ( palestinian archeaology student)
Adam- my handsome husband
James- a student from Ashland Bible College in Ohio
Jessica- our resident nurse and wife of the surveyor.
Kinzie Square
Supervisor- Dan ( teacher at New Orleans Seminary ) and Paul ( retired history teacher and Dan's uncle)
Moriah- a student from Ashland Bible College, a really fun girl!!
CC- New Orleans seminary student-very sweet
Jared- Ashland Bible College student- hard worker, has a baby due in September
Dave- a.k.a. Crap Magnet and wheelbarrow pusher

To end with I have some prayer requests
A) A Buddhist girl in our group
B) A lady who got hurt on first day of dig
C)Ghassan- Adam's supervisor....don't know his religous beliefs
D) That our house would sale...our realtor has been showing it like crazy since we left but no one has made an offer!
E) Jobs for both of us in TX

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2nd Day of Digging

First of all...check out the post on our trip to Jerusalem....i have posted two more albums..one of Jerusalem and one of the Mount of Olives...its the one titled Boker Tov!!

So for our second day of digging we woke up at 4:15 am and were surprised to find that nothing was too sore. We head to the Tel and everyone falls into their role. Even though we eat a pb & j sandwich before we leave I find myself starving before 2nd breakfast at 8:30. Today my team is learning how to take levels (measurements). We use surveying tools and the idea is to see how far above sea level our levels are based on a predetermined heigth of instrument.
Adams team finds the top of a wall pretty early on in the day and they think it connects to other hellenistic walls. My supervisor and Dr. Ortiz like to joke with us and before long I am yelling up to adam's square " honey, let the makoosh do the work for you".....with some prodding from my supervisor. Adam yells back down "if you have time to watch me working, then you need to get to work". Dr. Ortiz observes it all and says "Adam may need somewhere else to sleep tonight".
As I have said before we have baulks ( ill point these out in pictures later) around our squares and we are going to start taking them down tomorrow. Therefore today we have to dig down into our square and in hopes of finding more of the rampart that holds up Solomon's case mate wall.
Another team on a higher field has taken down a baulk and while doing so found two pillars and a scareb ( seal). Evereyone is excited to see where this leads since pillars were normally only used in palaces and temples.
From second breakfast on there are two Israeli helicopters circling a small feild nearby. My supervisor, Dan, says they come over sometimes during the summer digs and hover to see what we are doing.
By the end of our day Adams square has unearthed a corner of the wall and moved a meter of dirt. My team has found nothing but pottery peices, animal bones and teeth. We are still hopeful though.
Tonight a man from Neve Shalom is lecturing is about the goals of this community and then they are having a welcome dinner for us at the pool.
Adam was nicknamed today "Won Ton" by a professor here from Ashland Bible College....he is slowly giving everyone nicknames. Adam is wearing a Kevu hat that is shaped like a Wok and everyone at the Tel really likes it. Adam says he feels like he is working on the transcontinental railroad and that leads to the declaration of his nickname. Its better than other names that have been given......Crap Magnet- to a guy who stepped in camel poop and then stuck his hand in bird poop within an hour of each other and then there is Wrong Turn- our busdriver..thats self explanatory.
I finally slept a full night last night and therefore I am giving up naps during the day...well at least today.
Ill post dig pictures as soon as I can get our Mount of Olive pictures up.
Boker Tov= Good Morning in Hebrew


I just wanted to address a couple of things that have been brought to my attention.
You may think you are not hearing from my handsome archaeologist of a husband BUT you are!! I sit down with him every day and write down everything we can remember from the day. Then he sits beside me every night while I write it up for our blog. He is not interested in giving all the description that I do, but believe me you are reading thoughts from both of us.
Second, make sure to go back and check later blogs since it takes me a while to upload pictures here. I have completed the Jerusalem pictures and added it to the blog with that trips description. I will try to tell you as I upload pictures but scroll down every now and then to check things out.
Last, I want to readdress our tools.
The names we use for our tools are all Arabic.
Goofa- a bucket made out of old tires with two handles. This is used to move dirt from the pit to the wheelbarrow. We also carry tools in it.
Makoosh- a regular pick with a pointy side and a flat side. This is used to break up topsoil and to go through fill rather fast.
Terea- a really large hoe. This is used to scrape through what has been turned up and load it into the goofa.
Calcareim- A water cooler that we carry up to the Tel with us daily to make sure we have pleny of H2O
We also use trowels and pastiches (small picks) when we get to finds that need attention.
I will make sure to point out these tools when I upload pictures from the dig.
Thanks for following along.....I know it may be hard to keep track of when pictures are uploaded but I hope you will go back and put descriptions with images.
Day two and three of the dig will be posted later.....I can tell you this though...I think we are secretly at a fat camp.....PHYSICAL LABOR ( but with so much rewardd).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

First Day of Digging!!!

Today we woke up at 4:15 am to head to the Tel to start our dig. We went down to the dig house for breakfast of bread, nutella and peanut butter..its not traditional breakfast food but when you are about to spend 7 hours digging you need something to get you started. Its still dark outside but as we drive to the Tel you can start to see the sunlight. Dr. Sam Wolff, an archeaologist who lives in Jerusalem and works for the Israel Antiquities Authority is one of our directors and he takes us on a tour of Tel Gezer. He started digging here in 1976 as a student and knows the Tel by heart. There are two main people who are known for digging at the Tel...McAlister who dug in the early 1900s and Dever...who was Dr. Ortiz (Adams soon to be professor ) mentor. McAlister did not use proper archeaology methods to dig and over the last two days we have heard his name become synonomous with either dumps that he left or wrong assumptions that were made about the layout of the Tel.
As of the 2008 dig season some parts of the outer wall, inner wall, adminstration buildings, domestic buildings and what is thought to be a solomic gate have been found. Tel Gezer is believed to have been fortified by Solomon.....largely because of the casemate wall and six chamber gate that are found at Tel Gezer. The same wall and gates are found at Hazor and Megiddo where we know Solomon had some control. Tel Gezer is between Tel Aviv (Joppa) and Jerusalem and therefore was part of a major trade route and became an important city. The Tel is high on a hill that overlooks the coastal plains and begins the shephalah (rolling hills) of Israel. You can see out over all four directions with the Meditterean in the West, Tel Aviv to the Northwest and Jerusalem to the southeast and the Aijalon Valley runs from the West around Gezer on the north to Jerusalem.
The volunteers are divided into three groups. One will be connecting the domestic buildling to the admin buildings and excavating the rampart that held up the city walls. Another will be digging to study the Assyrian Destruction and another will be taking down baulk walls to get down to get below the Hellenistic level. (baulk walls are the one meter areas around the seperate dig suares)
Adam and I are both part of the Sandodge team which is working on the rampart of the city. He is on the high part of the wall and I am on the lower side. After we eat our second breakfast ( cheerios, sandwiches, yogurt and fruit) we get in our groups and get to work.
We first have to carry all of our tools up the Tel, most of them will stay there the entire 5 weeks but some must be brought back down the container every day. We set up shadecloths over our squares which brings down the temperature considerably ( dont worry we still sweat buckets worth). Setting up shades takes quite a while b/c you have to readjust the poles and tie down stakes. We then start cleaning out our square, getting rid of overgrowth and any trash.
To continue I need to tell you the names of our tools so you can follow along with my descriptions.
Bucket= Goofa Water Container=Cacareim Hoe= Terea Pick= Makoosh
So then we use our Makoosh to go about 10-15 cm down into the ground to loosen up the top soil. Then we go back with our terea and scrape over it to see if we found anything of interest and to keep it level. As we scrape we put the fill dirt into goofas and then wheelbarrow what we find out into a dump pile.If you find pottery you put it in to a bucket marked for the appropriate locus ( layer). Bones for right now we are tossing.
My team is looking for the continuation of a sloped rampart so therefore we will digging in this process for a while. We get about two 10 cm. layers dug and leveled before our fruit break. Today is watermelon and its very good!!!! After fruit break we have another hour to take measurements, level up our ground, clean up our baulks and get our tools back down the hill into the container.
Adams team is doing the same thing but on a higher level and will more than likelyhit some parts of buildings. Adam has already found an embellished peice of pottery that Dr. Ortiz will be keeping to add to thier collection of Middle Bronze Age peices. He is working alongside Ghassan, a palestine student from Al Quds University.
We arrive back to Neve Shalom around one, just when the sun is killer!!
We eat lunch, go swimming and upload pictures ( we aren't napping today so that we can get on a solid schedule....i haven't been able to sleep through a solid night yet). Then we head to lecture which is on Israel's geography, then dinner and then to bed.
As usual I will add pictures and then post a link for you to see them....we are still working on Jerusalem pictures though so I will get our dig pictures up asap.

Dig Pictures

Monday, June 15, 2009

Boker Tov

It's not morning where we are but its definitely morning for you..so Boker Tov y'all. Its about 5 in the afternoon here and we just finished our first day of digging...however let me catch up you up on our Jerusalem visit.

Saturday night we ended the day with a game of Settlers of Cataan...yes, we brought it. A guy here knew how to play and it was great to hang out and meet new friends. Since Saturday is Shabbot ( Shabbath) here in Israel we were going to visit Jerusalem on Sunday, which is the first day of the work week.
We got up early on Sunday and left for Jerusalem by 7:30. We had a 30 minute drive there but since it was the beginning of the work week we got caught in morning rush hour traffic and got here an hour later. You literaly drive up into the mountains to get into Jerusalem. Our tour guide was vey thorough.....and Jewish..so he was skeptical about alot of sites we went to. Some interesting facts that he told us are
1. Israel is the birthplace of the cell phone
2. They produce lots and lots of medications.
3. Every house had a solar water heater
4. Cars here are ridiculously expensive. 4 years ago the prime minister lowered the taxes on them to 100% (thats right)...so a 12,000 car cost you 24,000. Most people take out a car loan with thier mortgage loan. Jerusalem is trying to cut down on the use of cars though by building railroad systems and taxing people to come into the city.
5. Jerusalem is the political capital of Israel and Tel Aviv is the financial capital.
The first thing we see when we enter Jerusalem is the West wall of the Old Jerusalem...I think say " this is crazy" like 100 times. We stop at the City of David which is right outside of the walls and you can immediately see the Mount of Olives. Its covered in Jewish graves but its still amazing. Our group headed to Hezekiah's tunnel to walk through it. I choose not to go because at some points you have to duck and you are up to your knees in water..i am pretty sure I will panic. So Adam went and took a camera with him to get pictures....he says it was neat. The tunnel was built by King Hezekiah right before Sanachaerib took over the city. It ends at the Shiloach Pool where Jesus sent the blind men to wash the mud off of his eyes after he had healed him. I, along with two others, met the rest of the group there...after treking through the City of David and getting fresh figs from locals..yummy.
We then entered Jerusalem through the South Gate..or the dung gate, close to the Dome of the Rock. There are four quarters in Jerusalem...christian, jewish, muslim and another we can't remember. We instantly see the minarette where muslims are called to pray 5 times a day.You can see the wailing wall when we go up some steps. We are going there on a later visit to Jerusalem and we notice that men and women enter seperately. The jews inside are praying to the wall, as this is the closest place to where the temple used to be.
We also see a certain ledge in the city where our tour guide says Jesus was tempted by Satan.
In the Jewish quarter a huge golden menorah is in a glass case just waiting for the third temple to rebuilt.
We see the remains of a city that the Romans tried to buill there....its a grid and was at least 6 lanes wide....there are leftover columns from that.
The Christian quarter is very old ( the jewish quarter was recently rebuilt) and narrow.
We eat at Shabbad's two shops. He gives us Falaffel ( forgive our spelling) that is stuffed with french fries, chicken with curry, tomatoes and cucmbers...sounds gross but is oohhhh so good! We drink "soft drinks"....it ain't no pepsi but it will do.
We exchange some money for shekels...which right now is 3.92 to our one dollar.
Then we are off the Church of the Holy Seplechur , which was built by Helena, the mother of Constantine. Inside are supposedly the tomb of Christ and the stone he was laid on to be prepared for burial. There are many people lighting candles and kissing the stone.
Last stop is the tower of David, which is one of the possible beginning places for Villa Della Rosa.
We get home exhausted and instantly pass out. We wake up for a lecture ( a welcome/orientation) and dinner. Tomorrow is our first day at Tel Gezer digging..YAY

City of David Pictures

Jerusalem Pictures

Mount of Olives

Saturday, June 13, 2009


We arrived safely in Israel on Saturday morning at 12:30 am...which was 6:30 pm. your time on Friday.
We were dropped off at a bungalow and told that breakfast was at 8 the next morning....we were allowed to stay together last night because there is no one here yet really....i think we are getting separated tonight thought.
Our journey started off on Thursday with my parents dropping us off in Atlanta....actually they had to throw us out b/c the weather and traffic kept us from getting there on time. However we went through everything and made it to our gate right as they were seating our zone on the plane. We got on, found our seats and two hours later we left.......b/c a plane in front of us had gone off the runway and there were firetrucks everywhere.
We sat beside Daniel, a pro hockey player for the Chicago Blaze who is originally from Hungary...he was on his way home for the summer and we enjoyed chatting with him.
Our flight was wonderful and Air France fed us two great meals...they have good cheese!
We got to Paris, France about 9 o'clock their time.....3 o'clock in the morning your time. We had maybe slept a total of 1 hour but still wanted to take advantage of our 8 hours in Paris.
We exchanged some money and bought tickets to ride the train into the city.
Our first stop was at Notre Dame......BEAUTIFUL....it was good weather, not sunny and cool.
We walked around and found a small street cafe where we ate French food...actually a cheese sandwich and a hot dog.
Then we went to the Louvre......AHHHH ( angels singing in background ).
AWESOME.....I was in Art Heaven....I mean, we only had two hours in the museum and I think we saw everything. Adam felt like he was going to heave b/c I was literally dragging him everywhere and talking up a storm....I recognized so much from Art History. He kept sitting down and fanning himself and saying " i am going to pass out"....however, i kept on walking circles around him and chatting.
Then the bathroom incident happened...we went to a back part of an exhibit..there was no one back there and we saw a bathroom sign. We both went in. However, we did not both come out. I went into this room with a single toilet and shut the door and turned the lock pretty hard. When I tried to get back out the lock would not budge and the room I was in was small and heated. I am a tad bit claustrophobic and started to freak a little. So i put everything down ( camera and purse) and started to pull and tug at the lock. When that didn't work I started banging on the door saying " Hello, Help me, can anyone hear me, Im locked in". Adam who was standing outside heard me and ran in. He and this other man tried to get me out but the lock wouldn't budge. So i freaked out hard core and started to panic yelling " PLEASE HELP ME"....keep in mind, people are walking around outside in the Louvre, in Paris looking at ancient art. So Adam, being his handy man self, took out his last euro and used it to turn the screw on the outside of the door....it came open and I felt REALLY stupid. The guy who was helping him had left to go get help but we walked away as fast as we could ....i was sooo embarrassed.
Then we walked around some more...we could see the Eiffel but we are saving that for our layover on the way back.
We got back to the Airport...but found out that we were in the middle of Friday afternoon rush hour in Paris....i have never seen so many people crammed on to one train...like cattle...it was crazy.
We got on our plane around 6ish on Friday for Tel Aviv....however, we didn't leave until 7:20 because of a latch on the cargo holder wouldn't latch. They fixed that and off we went.
This time we sat beside an older gentlemen who kept his ear phones in the whole time, with a sleep mask on and would sing along with his music every now and then...hehe.
Our next meal on Air France was kinda different....it was like vegetables, with figs and lamb and coleslaw and this weird cold lasagna with weird tomato paste and a fig tart....but, THE CHEESE WAS GREAT!!!! We will probably be stopped up for the next five weeks ( says Adam).
We landed in Tel Aviv around 12:10 in the morning and prayed that our luggage had come with us.
We walked out of the terminal and saw a man holding a sign that said " Harvell, Tel Gezer Project"...his name was David Cole and he is a professor from the New Orleans Seminary.
On the way out of the airport we had trouble paying for our ticket to park at the airport.....the machine took half of the shekels and then said "out of service".....a guard fixed it 20 minutes later and we were on our way.
He drove us to Neve (ryhmes with Chevy) Shalom. You can see it from the highway that runs from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Its on a hill and it is self sustained.

So now here we are, sitting in the lobby of Neve Shalom. We just ate breakfast which was salad, cheese (american cheese taste like cardboard compared to what we have been eating), olive tapanade and boiled eggs....Adam tried the fish and cocoa flakes....he is brave. We have met another team mate Ryan, and another professor...Dr. Mitchell. The rest of the team is coming in around 3 today.
Thanks for everyone who prayed us through our two flights ...and our four bags of luggage. We could feel it all the way!!

We will put pictures up later...we tried but we have to get a converter when we go into Jerusalem tomorrow..hopefully it will work then!!!

Pictures from the plane ride, Paris and Israel.

and even more pictures

Monday, June 8, 2009


Adam and I are busy busy packing and getting all of the last minute things done.
We are also helping out with VBS up until the day we leave so that has been a huge blessing.
The theme for VBS is Boomerang Express and its in the outback of Australia.
Adam is one of the host...Outback Ronnie.
I am his sidekick and friend, the koala, Cocoa.....man, that suit is HOT!!I also wanted to let anyone know that we would welcome any mail from friends or family in the states while we are there. Of course you would need to send it fairly early on in our trip since it may take a while to get there. Our address there is:

Tel Gezer Archaeology Project: Adam/Kinzie Harvell
Neve Shalom - Wahat al-Salam Hotel
Doar Na Shimshon
99761, Israel

Are you a SLAVE?

The short answer is "yes". No matter what you believe or who you believe, you are a slave to that belief. In Romans 6:15-23 we are considered slaves either to sin or obedience. Which ever path you choose gives way to a life of slavedom. So, Kinzie and I have chosen a life of obedience that leads to righteousness. We desire to spread God's gracious kingdom throughout this world. We have felt a strong calling to begin our training with Southwestern Seminary in Israel. Though we have had many difficult decisions leading up to this trip, God has provided a clear answer to each one as long as we focus on His desires and goals. These decisions have been verified by the support and prayers we have experienced so far. As we labor in Israel physically and spiritually we will continue to need your prayers. With all that said, I'm about to pee my pants in excitement and anticipation for the trip to begin. We have two more days after today (Monday) and I couldn't be more excited about what God is going to reveal to all of us. I challenge you to close your eyes during our descriptions of the places that JESUS walked and ministered. I want you to be encouraged by the fact that the Bible is REAL!!

Friday, June 5, 2009


We just wanted to thank everyone who helped us raise the 5000 needed to go on this trip. We had several people give us very generous donations and we are extremely grateful to you. We also had a local restaurant who allowed us to do a fundraiser there for a night. Finally, we had a yardsale at the Harvells home in Huntsville and besides cleaning out both of our houses we raised a lot of money. We are counting down the days now...only 5 left til we head to Atlanta to jump on board. Our handtools..picks and trowels have both finally arrived and I am starting to feel like an archaeologist....well sorta. Adam is staying busy with his final days at work and I am going here and there getting things together so that we can be gone for 5 weeks and nothing get behind.
Before we go we are helping with VBS at our church. Adam is the host and since its an austrailian theme he felt the need to grow out a mustache....i'm not a fan :).
Ill leave you with some pictures.Here is the yardsale at a not so busy pace...we did it both friday and saturday morning.
Here is the mustache in all its glory...its really handlebars...i think he secretly wants to be my dad!!!!

Here's one of the four kangaroos I made for our Vacation Bible School.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Test for photos

THis is a test to see how well we can share larger amounts of photos.....let us know how it works....thanks