Thursday, September 12, 2019

Hopewell (Ohio) Mounds

Over the past few years often on our last day someone (Uncle Tom or Heidi, usually) would remind us we wanted to visit the Mounds. The what?  The Native American burial sites located around Ohio.

There was our first problem. There are so many mounds, and they are not that close to each other, that much time is spent figuring out which mound. There the National Park Service ones in Hopewell, or the large cone-shaped one in Miamisburg, or Serpent Mound in Peebles (an internationally known National Historic Landmark), or Story Mound in Chillicothe. Now I have the official Passport to Your Ohio History book, so maybe we can use this to check off historic sites? 

We went with the Hopewell Mound (I think you already figured that out by the title of this post). 

There are actually a few mounds in the area we could have visited on the same trip, but between the late start and the plans to go to a concert that night, we ran out of time. 

The loop around the Hopewell Mound is about a mile. We walked half-way on the outer loop, before cutting into the center and walking around the inner part, careful to not walk on the mounds themselves.

Pole posts left to indicate where the ceremonial hut was built.

The Mounds were created by Native Americans about 2,000 years ago when they gathered for religious rituals and ceremonies. Here they buried or cremated their deceased; they did not live here. Which means, they traveled with their loved one(s) and the materials needed to give the loved one(s) a proper burial. How often did they gather? Research shows they lived in small groups with immediate families. When they gathered for these ceremonies multiple groups gathered together. As Heidi pointed out, this was the time to find a mate. 

The Hopewell Mounds was about 130 acres, and had a earthen wall that was about two miles long. 

Two thousand years ago. That would be when Jesus and Julius Caesar lived. Sometimes it helps to put life in a greater context.

The Native Americans hauled the materials needed for these mounds -- dirt, clay, sand, copper, etc. -- over many miles without modern equipment. While many Mounds were used for a couple of hundred years, there is evidence this one was used for at least 400 years. Archaeologists have been studying since 1820 -- two hundred years -- when the field of archaeology was new.

We chose this Mound over the others because it is a National Park Service Mound, and because it has a Visitor's Center with a movie (which sadly I slept through) and a small museum with reproductions of what was found. Seems I have to travel to England in order to see the originals. They were sold in the 19th century to help fund the expedition. Archaeology has come a long way. This summer we were told our finds had to stay in stay in Israel where they will be studied.

Over the years the Mounds were flattened by farmers plowing the fields. During World War I this site was used to house soldiers training to become soldiers. A lot can change in 2,000 years, especially in a country as young as ours.

After I came home I was talking to Debbi about these. She has seen others along the Mississippi River. They still look like piles of grass to me.

Ohio Village

Growing up we would make regular trips to Columbus, Ohio to see my aunt Debra. I remember we stayed with her on Indianola Avenue in 1977 when Melissa was an infant. We learned on our most recent trip that a few years ago her now-grown daughter nearly rented that same apartment with a girlfriend. 

That gives you a sense of what a small-town feel Columbus has for a city with a population of 880,000. 

We would tend to visit Ohio during the Ohio State Fair, and often visit the Ohio Village. Aunt Debra used to work in the doctor's house. I loved running around pretending it was the year 1860. 
The Ohio Village, as with many historic sites, ran into some financial troubles. I think our last visit was on July 4. 2009. 

How does 10 years fly by that quickly?

Part of the issue was we were under the impression it was all-but-closed. July 4th was one of those rare days it was open. For a few years we looked at their website, only to see they were not open. We simply fell out of habit.

Labor Day weekend we found ourselves in Columbus with some free time. We met my cousin Allie and Doug's 2-month old daughter. 

Our friend Heidi mentioned the Ohio Village was having a old-time base ball (two words in those days) game. We saw they were open on Friday, too (actually, this year they were open all summer). Don and I went. Though the place was extremely quiet, we had a great time talking to the volunteers.

In the decade since our last visit 38 years had passed. 


As it had since it opened in the 1970s, in 2009 the Village was representing the year 1860 -- Civil War era. A few years ago they decided to bump it up to 1898 -- Thomas Edison's era, bicycles, inventions, more colorful clothing. To hear one volunteer talk about it, a whole new world.

Gingerbreading was added to some of the buildings, as was running water in some businesses, and electricity. 

Turns out (according to one volunteer) the plan in the 1970s was to always be about 100 years in the past. With that logic, they should be up to 1919 and The Great War (World War I), but that means cars and everyone having electricity, and other advances they were not ready to make. Still 1898 is an exciting time. They are not talking about war (as they had been in 1860, and would be again in the 1910s) and the future looks exciting. There is always the possibility of seeing a moving picture, or maybe even going to the Chicago World's Fair. Plus you can dream about the bright, beautiful future.

As you can see in the pictures, there were not many people there that day. We spoke to a volunteer in the toy shop, who then went with us to the funeral parlor -- yes, and odd juxtaposition of businesses and expertise. We tried to talk to the volunteer in the Women's Study Club, but she wasn't interested in having a conversation. On the other hand, the teacher nearly kept us after school. We barely had time to visit the Ohio History Center next door.

Here I enjoyed their version of a Levitt home from the 1950s: Lustron. The museum manager wanted to make sure we saw LeBron James' shirt, which was currently on loan from the Smithsonian. I still remember when he was in high school and buzz when he played at a tournament in Trenton. I'd be embarrassed to see how long ago that was.

Yup, time flies by in a blink of an eye. Now I really sound old.


Saturday, August 24, 2019

Perth 5 Mile Kilt Race

We absolutely fell in love with Perth, Ontario. 

The excuse for visiting Perth was their 10th anniversary 5-mile kilt race. While there we picked up their Things to do booklet. They have something to do, multiple somethings to do, every single weekend. Their main street is filled with local restaurants and shops. The visitors center has a staff of people willing to help you. 

If the town was in New Jersey, and the property taxes were reasonable, we would move there in a heartbeat. 

Enough about the charming town of Perth, this post is about their kilt race.

We can't remember how we heard about this race, which is too bad because the friendly people of Perth genuinely wanted to know. We have done other kilt races -- including the 2016 race in a field in Mercer County Park and a two-mile race down the shore two years earlier where they were trying to earn a Guinness World Record.

The Perth race had them beat.

Sue the race organizer

First of all, it was five miles (what did I sign up for?), and had over 1,000 participants. There was also the Royal Mile option, which I'm assuming was a mile long. Prior to the adult races, there were races for the wee little ones. It was absolutely adorable watching them run in their kilts. I was laughing too hard to take any pictures.

 Secondly, they added a third of a mile March to the Start with the Caledonian Highland Band, which I skipped to take pictures.

Thirdly, they added a Warrior Challenge section, which I am still trying to figure out. Fifty of the runners started in the front and stopped at various points to throw logs and do other sorts of physical challenges. I don't know what was involved with signing up for that.

We gathered at the civilized hour of 4:45 pm. Also happening this weekend was Freedom Festival, a Christian-music festival. Almost as if they were tying the two events together, the Kilt Race began with someone playing Amazing Grace on the bagpipes. This was followed by the third of a mile walk (according to Don's GPS) through the park. The race began at 5:15 pm with very little pomp. Once we all made it to the star line, we started our race. I caught up to Don and we started about 2.5 minutes later because of the crowd.

I was surprised both by the variety of kilts (long, short, different plaids, different weights, sports kilts, dress kilts, etc.) and how many groups wore the same pattern. Don and I wore what we had -- mine was from the 2014 Kilt Race, which I sometimes wear to work in the fall, and his is a sports kilt with pockets. Yes, I am jealous of the pockets, I wore shorts under mine with pockets. You need to keep the car keys someplace.

The race took us past many of the historic sites we had walked past that day. 

The weather was lovely. It had rained earlier in the day, and though a little muggy by Canadian standards, not bad for this Jersey girl.

Love seeing French!

Along the race we met Wendy and Heather. Their goal was not to FDL (Finish Dead Last), they can correct the acronym if they actually do read this blog. We gave them our email address. We managed to finish a few people ahead of them, but there were still a couple of hundred people behind them, so they met their goal.

As for us, Don and I managed to stay together. My GPS stopped working (fortunately it worked today), and I hadn't trained, so I took it easy and took many photographs. Decided to go for fun instead of a PR. It is also a challenge running in a kilt not meant for racing.  Our overall time was about 67 minutes (ouch). 

Each kilometer had bagpipers to encourage us. One had dueling bagpipers playing as they faced each other. Love a race with kilometers are markers, makes the experience feel faster.

The crowd support was awesome. I lost count of the number of water stations, most manned by local churches. Easily at least eight -- one per kilometer.

We then headed across the street for dinner. We asked for a seat where they wouldn't mind us being too smelly and they put us on an enclosed porch with others who completed the same race. Meanwhile, inside people dressed up for dinner dined without being offended by our aroma.

See why I love Perth?

Look Who's Almost 5-0

Life has been a whirlwind lately. Rather, more of a whirlwind than usual. 
Four weeks ago I returned from spending five weeks in Israel. I'm only starting to feel as if I am returning to myself, and partly because my plans for today were cancelled when a friend asked to postpone lunch.

I returned to the news Ashley's school bus situation was changing. Instead of taking her to her high school, the bus would pick her up with the public school kids, gather them together at the public school, then drive another mile to the Catholic School to drop them off. Fortunately we were already thinking about buying me a fun car for my 50th next month, and letting her take over the Corolla for her senior year in high school. This news just sped up the process.

The narrowing down process began last winter when Don suggested for my 50th he would buy me a used Saturn Sky (apologies for the Wikipedia link, the car ad links would likely disappear). The Sky is a 2-door, 2-seater, Roadster convertible about the size and trunk space of a car found at Disneyland's Autopia. 

I test drove it on a wintry day and, yes, it was a lot of fun to drive.

Completely impractical, but fun.

Next I returned to my first favorite car and test drove a 1995 Saturn 2-door, 4-seater coupe. Also fun to drive, but oh so low to the ground and not much of a back seat, plus hard to find a nearly 20-year old car in really good shape.

Meanwhile driving down the highway was a 2-door Toyota Solara convertible that caught my eye. I told Don THAT was the car I wanted for my 50th birthday.

I set the parameters very tight -- must be light blue with a tan roof and interior, under 100,000 miles, within a reasonable driving distance, not too scuffed up. Ideally a 2008 (since that was the last year they made this model).

I figured this would take the rest of the summer to find, but that was okay. I was not in a rush.

Within a few days he found one in North Jersey with a black top and interior, and only 57,000 miles. Thought about it, but the salesman would not let me take it 15 miles away to have a Firestone mechanic check it out. I test drove it and loved the ride, but it was very scuffed, and the shady salesman turned me off.

Saw one with a tan interior, but someone else put a deposit on it to make sure the car was still there when he arrived from Florida (or was in Maine, the story kept changing).

Less than a week later one with a tan interior became available in Maryland and we took a day off from work to pick it up. We also learned our lesson and put a deposit on it so no one else could buy it out from under us.

The car does not have a scratch on it. Car Fax says the original owner took very good care of it. The other two owners not such great care (not bad care, but did not baby it).

I smiled the entire 2.5 hour drive home with the top down. The next day we took it to our mechanic, who said it was fine. Could use new struts, but that's normal for a car with this many miles on it. The car came with a three-day return policy, and a 30-day mechanical warranty.

Two weeks later I still think it is a very fun car drive. I'm enjoying the heated seats on cool nights with the top down. However, I have been told the back seat is not fun on the highways. Probably a good thing we waited until long past the car seat days.

Ashley has offered to go with me on road trips. Maybe the car will be good for some mother-daughter bonding experiences during her senior year. I'd like that.

PS: For my 50th I'm asking for donations to The Bridge Academy.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

What a year!

A year ago my best friend Carin died.

What a year it has been!

A year ago yesterday we returned from our 25th anniversary cruise, during which time I learned Carin was in hospice. She died the next morning. 

A year ago today I had a job interview with an organization where I was a volunteer. I did not get the job. 

Life quickly started changing for me after Carin died. 

Later that week I interviewed and landed a six-week temp job with Princeton University. It was exactly what I needed to show me while I was not ready for a full-time position, I was ready to return to a steady job.

That lead to becoming the Director of Development at The Bridge Academy.

I ran my first gala. I ran my first community event. I proved to myself I really can do more than dream about working.

Not sure how, but in September I spent 10 days in France and Belgium. I spent time with host families I lived with when I was 18-years old. I spoke French most of that time, and was understood.

Not sure how, but that led to five weeks in Israel. I proved to myself even though I can't read a word of Hebrew or Arabic, and can only speak less than five words of each, I could communicate with strangers and turn them into friends. I can still hold intelligent (and not-so intelligent) conversations with people.

Not sure how, but we adopted a new bearded dragon. I think how Glinda will never have one of Carin's Taco Tuesdays, like she made for Sandy, but I was willing to open my heart to a new dragon.

I don't run nearly as much as I did a year ago. And, that's okay. But I am keeping my nearly 1,000 day streak of 10,000 steps a day alive.

I now drive a snazzy light blue convertible. I wish I could take Carin for a spin in it.

I've made new friends, but none who will ever replace the hole left by Carin.

I still miss her and her daily encouragement. I still wish she was here. 

I still search for that friend who will send me daily texts/emails/smoke signals and share the ups and downs of senior year and the college search process with me.

It has been quite a year of changes. I wonder what the next year will bring.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Takeaways from Israeli Dig Experience

Now for my final post, at least until I add pictures and decide more posts are needed to fully tell the story of my adventures.

I'm often asked "what did I find?" My biggest find was stone stairs on my last day digging. With having (as Liz put it) "physical restraints" I could not lift the big pick ax or tureen, so I was sweeping floors and not finding items.

At the house I processed other people's finds.

My biggest takeaway (which I have alluded to in other posts) was how I felt. I often thought of the Bridge Kids who come to The Bridge Academy emotionally bruised by never feeling good enough -- if only they learned like the rest of the class, or like their siblings. They come to Bridge not able to trust adults. At Bridge they are filled with love and the tools to succeed.

That's what my time at the dig was like. In the field I felt I was never good enough -- never strong enough, never fast enough. Everyone else got it (I couldn't even hold my own with conversation topics) but me.

When I switched to being at the house I was filled with love and the tools to succeed. I won't say I was perfect in everything I did, but when I was wrong I was gently corrected and put on the right course. When they could see I needed a break, they made sure I took it. There were people who did not speak English, yet we found common ground through smiles and Google translate to communicate. I began to believe in myself again.

Another odd takeaway was how transient we were in general. I felt like it was a revolving door. People signed up for only two weeks (Julie and I were told that was not an option). People left early. Experts would pop in for a lecture then leave as quietly as they came. Others came towards the end (per their contract) and stayed until their work was done. Our bone expert said she has worked on many digs and has never seen anything like it.

Finally, I listen to music at work and think of the house staff. Each day we'd ask for music suggestions. Mostly fell into American music from the 50s-90s, but also Arabic pop and (most odd) Italian Techno Pop from the 80s. At work I stick to the Bs -- Beatles and Bill Joel.

Signing off for now. 

Friday, July 26, 2019

Lohome Nights, as sung to Arabian Nights

This perhaps best sums up my month on the dig. It is sung to the tune "Arabian Nights" from Aladdin.

On a hill far away
There’s a tell named Keisan
Where the archaeologists play
Where you wonder about every culture and drought
It’s not free, but hey, it’s “fun”

When the sun’s from the east 
And it feels like a beast
And the shade cloth is down for the drone
Grab a pick and a hoe and some buckets to go
And hope to find sherds and “right” bones

Lohame nights
Tell Keisan days
More often than not are hotter than hot
And not in good ways

Tell Keisan days where we all skulk
A fool off his guard
Could fall and fall hard
Right off of the baulk 

Oh I wake up at four and I crawl out the door
And ride in the bus down the road
To that hill on the plain
Where there’s knowledge to gain
About where ancients made their abode

The music that blares as you dig in the squares
In the haze of your filth and your grime
As you look for a pit 
Or some other old shit
From a segment of Iron Age time

Lohame nights 
Tell Keisan days
More often than not are hotter than hot
And not in good ways

Lohame nights
Tell Keisan blues
The directors demand
These layers of land
Reveal certain truths

And after you cuss and you leave for that bus
With your feet and your body in pain
You go back in herds
And you wash all the sherds
And tomorrow you’ll do it again

Lohame nights
Tell Keisan gains
They’re over for now
And yet, still somehow (thanks to Leann and Jon, and the lectures that went long)
The me-mor-eeee-y remains

Dig Week Four (days 16-20)

Somehow we arrived at the last week of the dig. Life was finally humming along at a nice pace, and it was time to start saying good-bye. But we just got here, right? Or rather we just settled into a routine. 

David, our director, announced late the previous week we would put on a talent show with the express purpose of entertaining him. At this risk of him reading this, I will say my reaction was why now? After weeks of fending for ourselves with solving problems suddenly we were being required to have mandatory fun. <<insert eye roll>>

More on that later.

I washed pottery.
I labeled pottery.
I rotated pottery.
I entered photos of pottery into OCHRE.

This week I added:

I photographed small finds.

Small finds are not pottery. They are loom weights, beads, figurines, and other items that do not fit into their own category. There is probably a slightly different definition, but this will do.

Each had to be photographed on a black or white background with a micro lens, tripod, and measurement meter. It felt complicated until Sandy reminded me the photographs are only for record keeping in case something happens to Gunnar's car as he transports them to Ben Gurian University. If they are deemed museum quality, then they will be photographed by professionals with the proper lighting and all. Just relax and do as many as possible. 

That Tuesday was the only day I felt sick. Best as I can surmise, I ate some yogurt that disagreed with me and spent the rest of the day toggling between my bed and the bathroom. Fortunately they were only 30 steps away from my work site and people were understanding when they saw my green face.

That evening Liz's group gathered under the starts in the amphitheater to reflect upon our month, and to eat some Pillsbury bakery goodies (I brought the box home as proof). 

We discussed our highlights. Mine was getting to know people from different cultures and shattering stereotypes through pottery washing. I also enjoyed seeing the sherds come to life -- from nondescript earthy colors to vivid reds and browns and looking like individual colors with just some water added to them.

Others said how trans-formative the month has been. I wonder if in hindsight I'll be able to say the same, or if I didn't allow Israel to seep into my soul. 

We talked about how more women are entering the field and moving through the ranks, thanks to people like David and Gunnar who welcome working with women and supporting them in their careers. That wasn't always the case. This group had a 2:1 female to male volunteer ratio, and a 5:1 female to male ratio with section supervisors. That is rare.

Our age span ranged from 18 (Maddie) to 71 (Dave). It is the most ethnically, racially, and religiously diverse group she can ever remember. We had at least one Mormon, Buddhist, secular Jew, Presbyterian, Evangelist, and Jehovah's Witness and lived together in harmony. We are a smart group, well-educated, and well-traveled. We were hard-working from day one and never hit the low points most dig groups hit. 
Liz saw no problems with slackers in the group. She only saw the best in us. Too late for Julie and I to point out the slackers we saw staying back at the house. She praised us for getting out of our comfort zones for a few weeks. A sentiment my friend Nancy made when I really, really, really wanted to go home after the first week.

Liz did say the importance of our site has not been properly conveyed. It will become the leading site exploring the history of pottery in Northern Israel. If any of it makes it way to a museum, there is a decent chance it will have my hand-written number on it.

It is the combination of the ancient (what we are digging) and the modern (the people) that makes the dig special for her. This was her favorite group (bet she says that every time, and means it every time).

Later Revital said Julie and I were the best helpers she has ever had because she doesn't like to tell people what to do. We would be shown what had to be done and jumped in to do it without being told in the future. As a result, a lot got done. She was able to go home a few days after us.

Three days to go.

On Wednesday we had five people staying back at the house. Most arrived around 6 am, which is better than earlier in the dig when they were arriving at 10 am. They mostly worked with Marco sorting soil -- or playing "needle in the haystack." 

A group photo was taken (thanks, Alex).
Wednesday was the last dig day. The last day 30+ buckets of pottery would arrive. Time to start thinking about saying good-bye to Fahrer and Ahlham. Fahrer brought us each presents. Mine were blue pajamas that say Soul Sisters on them. Julie was given a fancy dress. Marco and Gunnar were given orange Italian shirts. We felt bad they spent so much on us, as well as humbled and honored to have gotten to know them. We are all fighting back tears at this point.

I spent most of Wednesday updating OCHRE to make up for losing so much time the day before with tummy issues. 

We had our final lecture. Leann and Jon gave a fascinating presentation about collective memory conversations. "We are storytelling, how we tell the stories is important." Controlling memory is power -- a lesson I never tire of hearing.

Together they are working on four big projects:
1) Updating Jon's work at Hollins University in Virginia
2) Historic sites on Wagon Road
3) Slavery
4) Israel and the West Bank including the Kibbutz, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv (sounds like multiple projects)

In March 2018 they conducted a week-long field school at Hollins while classes were still taking place. This is how Haley and Pria learned about the dig and decided to join this summer. It was all-women led. Even though it was in Virginia, it snowed on the first day. They had a blast and want to go back to learn more about the enslaved population at Hollins. It is part of the slavery, race, and memory project at Wake Forest University. Their website went live a week earlier.

Their lecture captured so much more and probably deserves its own post, but as I am nearing the end of blogging, and still want to add pictures to the past 30 posts, this will have to do. 

Dig Day 19 was fun for Julie, Tati, and I because we were brought back to the dig site. For me it was the first time since I left nearly 3 weeks earlier. It was a chance to study their progress, but mostly a chance for closure for myself. I realized by working at the house, I had the better end of the deal. More about that in my post on takeaways. I think this does merit its own post.

We stayed for only 90 minutes, then returned with David as he picked up second breakfast. We were covered in dirt as we ate breakfast in the Guest House. 

After a shower, I returned to the routine of OCHRE and labeling pottery. 

At noon we had a party for Ahlham and Fahrer. All tried not to cry. We were not
sure until the rest of the gang returned at 1:30 pm with their finds (one square was still open) if we would have enough pottery for the pottery ladies to return on Friday or not. Turned out Thursday was their last day. No time for tears as their father/husband was there to take them home. I'll miss their warmth and generosity of spirit.

I headed into Akko for the last time. I wanted to buy a menorah, but was told I really wanted a Hanukkiah. The former is used in temples, the latter as part of the Hanukkah celebration. Hanukkiah it was. As I was trying to use up shekels, I didn't even haggle the price. I laid out what I wanted to spend (leaving my credit card and the rest of my shekels in the hotel) and bought the one that spoke to me the most.

Sofia and took pictures of small finds during pottery washing. She took a class in photography and is very good. In many ways I helped her, but I also got things set up and taken apart and kept the ball moving. We were a good team. Too bad it took almost until the end to work out a system for photography. I felt bad they had more to photograph after we went home.

I found a stone in the Kibbutz to put on my friend Carin's grave. The intention was to place a stone from the dig site, but from the Kibbutz made more sense. I found one near the labyrinth I walked most nights near what looked like a cemetery to me. Once school starts I'll find time to visit her grave.

Friday was a whirlwind of activity as we tried to wrap up as much as possible, while still having to pack and say our good-byes. I returned to the Baha'i Garden for a last visit. It was my
Israeli spiritual place. 

I took a few sherds home for show and tell. Hoping to tell the Bridge kids about my experiences.

We were there for so long, yet there were so many people I did not get to know. Many whose names I did not learn. It was an odd experience of having unlimited time that was somehow too short in the end. I know that probably does not make any sense.

An hour before our last dinner Alex asked me for some pictures from at the house. He generously included many of them in his slide show, even though most people had no idea who some of our helpers were. It meant a lot to me.

At the talent show Julie and I were back up singers for Haley, who sang a spoof on Arabian Nights from Aladdin that was spot on.

Had I thought of it sooner, I would have written a spoof of 9 to 5 for Julie and I to perform. Working 4 to 2, what a way to not make a living... I didn't think I could do the tone right given my hard feelings. The sections picked on the leaders, and (for the most part) not on the volunteers. Tiny Thomas was called out for missing six dig days, and at least four pottery washing sessions. Tall Thomas was called out for missing one session, which was a bit unfair but was meant to soften the blow for Tiny Thomas.

One site highlighted all the ailments (including a snake bite and smashed hand) their square endured.

The square excavating the French chapel led by a German section leader did a great section standing on a chair (their section went down the furthest) talking about "You know you are from the German French Square when...." It was perfect.

It was time for more good-byes. Soon there would be hellos.

The following morning we had a civilized breakfast in the main cafeteria and boarded the bus 10 minutes early for the airport. Tiny Thomas, in particular, needed every minute. Thankfully we all ended up on our 12-hour flight to Newark.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Dig Day 19 -- Dig Tour

I'm separating out our last Thursday because Liz gave us a fantastic tour of the site. When working on the dig we each focused on our square, ignoring what was happening in the other five. One comment we made to Liz when we gathered that Tuesday night was how beneficial and meaningful it would have been to us if we knew more about the greater picture. 

A site tour was given three times. Once at the very beginning. Then in the middle. Then at the end. 

My notes (written back in our room) say:
1) Things have changed. Emily moved one square to the right, and our original square was taken over by power diggers to get to the 9th century BC (successful) and to find the bottom of the pit (jury still out on that one). They were still power digging that day. Other changes include walls were removed so they could see what was beneath the walls, and there were now stairs.

2) Liz was pleased we met their lofty goals. That rarely happens. The 8th century BCE is still a mystery.

3) I was really glad not to be there daily. My team are workhorses and there was no chance I would ever keep up, they were even better at sweeping than I was. I could not keep up, nor could I do it as well. As a result, I felt miserable. At the house I did lots of things and could do them well. Made me think of the Bridge Kids.

4) They found an olive press in Olivia's square. Even to my untrained eye it is pretty awesome. It brought up a lot of questions: one was on top of the other, was it a replacement? did they somehow work together? how did it work? Google Mejido oil press to see one in action. I obviously have the named spelled wrong.

5) There is an overall sense of accomplishment.

6) The church kept rocks that were walls (maybe 10m x10m) and dug in the
center (3m x 3m). They dug down about 70 cms (the height of a tall person). This is as deep as the Israeli government will allow them to dig for safety purposes. Will have to figure out how to proceed in two years when they return.

7) Several pits brought up a lot of 7th century pottery.

8) Some walls that oddly ended up being placed where they decided to put baulks. They have partial walls that don't seem to be connected. Lots of questions. Thought of Josh and the Trent House project. Before I left they were uncovering something they had dug years earlier only to discover large stones disappeared where the kitchen used to be. He saw those stone. He photographed and documented those stones. How odd?
9) Plowing through the pit the Israelis they hired only worked Thursday and Monday. They were not as effective as hoped. They switched to using a few powerhouse people from Team Tel.

10) In the church they found about 10-12 large complete vessels. I labeled some of them.

I was never so happy to get back in a car in my life.

Some more pictures from the dig site (day 19):

The "Princeton" Group