and I’m back

It’s good to be home! The trip was pretty rewarding, though for the first few weeks I felt like I was doing nothing but moving dirt from one place to another. Which is true, but it’s all about your attitude toward the moving of the dirt.
Most of my time in Israel was fairly dull. Since it is probably the last season at Ashkelon (for more info, check out this “compelling excerpt”), we worked 6 days a week instead of the usual 5, from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. I spent my days in Grid 38 pickaxing, troweling, patiching (sp), looking for floors, pits, walls, and fill and then removing same. In the late afternoons we spent two hours processing pottery–washing the sherds, laying them out for “reading” (when the archaeologists determined the type and period of the pottery), marking them with the complex system of numbers and letters that denoted their findspots, and so forth. Towards the end they added an afternoon shift. The supervisors took turns staying at the site until 8 p.m. supervising paid workers and any of us who wanted to volunteer.
We were digging through several Philistine levels and hopefully reached the Late Bronze age toward the end. My most exciting find was a decorated ivory comb which is featured on the official Ashkelon 2004 T-shirt.
On Saturdays I did some touring around which I’ll write about later, for now I’ll close with some vital Hebrew vocabulary words:
yes: “ken”
no: “lo”
ice cream: “gelidah”
how are you?: “maneshma”
good: tov
thank you: “todah”
please or you’re welcome: “bavacasha”
hello or goodbye: “Shalom”
Jaffa Gate: “sha’ar Yaffo” (note: knowing how to say this in Hebrew will not guarantee that your handgun-toting non-English-speaking cabbie will know where it is, desipite it’s being the main tourist location in the country)
Dan Gardens Hotel: “Malon Genay Dan” (I was so proud of myself when I was able to say this to the non-English-speaking cabbie (not the gun-totin’ one))
I don’t speak Hebrew: [Confused expression] “Sorry…” [Resigned shrug]
break (as in “time for a”, very important at 9 and 11 a.m. at the site): “hofsekah”
stop: “reggah”
where….?: “ayfoh….?”
what….?: “mah….?”
why….?: “lamah….?” (my conversation is about as profound in Hebrew as it is in English)

One Response to “and I’m back”

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