Friday, July 15, 2011

Heading Home From Tel Gezer

The excavation season is over for us at Tel-Gezer. By the time this blog posts I will be on my way to the airport and making my way through the Israeli security gauntlet. I am looking forward to getting home after being away for five weeks. It is a long time and it makes me think about all those in the military who are stationed across the world. I don't envy them and they have my respect.

As I sit here on the other end of the season I can look back on our time here.

I am tired, tanner, thinner and more experienced than I was five weeks ago. The schedule is brutal. We are up at 4:00 am and on the Tel by 5:00 am. We stop to eat breakfast at 8:30 and then work until 12:30. Lunch is at 1:00 and we are free until 4:00. Then we wash pottery followed by a lecture and dinner at 6:30 pm. Most of us are in bed by 8:30 so we can start all over again in the morning. On the weekends we sleep-in and get on the bus by 8:00 so we can tour the country. There is little time for rest.

The season has been profitable. Yes we have found important items as we excavated, but it has been profitable to us as a group. My students have all performed wonderfully. They too are tired, but I know that they take back with them an experience that not everyone can or will have. I brought eight with me and they have helped uphold our reputation here at the dig as a hardworking group. All of them have worked hard and I am proud to have had them with me. I have come to know them in ways that I would not had we only met in a classroom once a week. They each gave up time with their families to get dirty and sweaty with me. I am grateful for them all.

As I am writing this we are packing the camp and getting ready for our final evening here. Steve Ortiz, the dig director, will give an end of season report and then we will have a BBQ on the lawn. It will be a time for us to unwind and say goodbye. Many of us will keep in contact via Facebook and others I will see at conferences. We all leave here richer because of the relationships that we have created.

I am anxious to get home. Back to my wife, to my home and my desk. I have some catching up to do.

But will I return in two years? Perhaps. At the moment I am too tired. But I am sure that as the months pass I will forget the sore muscles, the short nights and the hard work and will return if given the chance. As I said when I started the dig, all biblical scholars should participate in at least one dig. But if they can participate more than once, than they should.

See you all when I get home.

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