May 11

Here is a update on where we have been for the last few days. Our hotel in Jerusalem was very nice, but there was a problem with the wireless Internet. They had some desktop Internet stations, but I wrote the posts in my iPad. While I look intensely cool using the iPad, I cannot get the posts off the iPad to the desktop PC.

Right now we are back in Jordan, hanging out in a coffee / hookah shop. We tried to get Kayleigh to try the hookah, but she stood firm. (That was in fact a joke, Linda!).

I will also mention that we were safe in Jerusalem, although we aware of what was happening we were at no time in any danger. It was interesting to compare what we saw to what we saw on TV later. It is also possible that the US news is distracted from Jerusalem at the moment and are unaware of the tensions of the last few days.

Maybe more on that later, but back to the May 11 post:

Today was a first for me.  After breakfast we met Dr Tali Erickson-Gili, an archaeologist from the Israel Antiquities Authority.  She is an expert in the Roman and Nabatean periods and specializes in pottery identification. After some orientation to archaeology in Israel, she marched us out to a section of the tel to do some actual digging.  Our project was to take down one of the balks between the squares from the original excavation. A balk is a small wall of dirt left after a section has been excavated. We used picks and trowels to loosen soil, then we filled buckets for the sifters to sift.  Clods of dirt must be broken,  rocks discarded, etc.  We worked hard until about noon, and then broke for lunch, then worked unto abut 2:30.  I worked filling buckets for most of the morning, but then sifted for an hour in the afternoon.  Digging was hot and sweaty, but the sifters caught a nice breeze.

I think most of the group enjoyed the work, although I heard a few complaints after lunch.  Still attitudes were good and even Amy said she was having fun. It was dirty work, every needed a shower (or two) before we boarded the bus for Jerusalem.