Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 1: Baggin'

Today was a short day at the site-- we split into two teams and prepared for excavations, which start tomorrow.  Most of us moved sandbags from around the base of a beautifully preserved frescoed wall, which is near the west side of the early shrine structure (see right).  The rest of the group moved sandbags and swept the stairs on the eastern side of the early shrine.  Take a look at the beautiful fresco we uncovered there last season below!  It was tough work, but the sun didn't come out until the late morning, so we kept cool and amused ourselves with conversation.  Since many of us are returning excavators, we spent most of our time telling stories from past seasons and telling stories that only classics students would find funny.

The board of Trustees from Tel Hai College, which is in Qiryat Shmonah (across the Hula Valley from our site) also came out to visit today.  Over the past few years, we've been developing a close relationship with Tel Hai and this year I participated in a Skype class with them.  We've been talking a great deal about the changes in the region and they're interested in continuing dialogue with Mac students.  While we're at Omrit, we meet with their Peace and Democracy program students at least once a week and Tel Hai is planning to work with us at Omrit to put a museum in some of their new buildings.  It was great to get to meet some of the board members, and Andy was excitedly telling us that Yitzhak Rabin's sister was there.  I can't wait for our first meeting with the students-- we've been having some great conversations about the developments in Egypt, Palestine, and Israel over the past semester's Skype class.

Currently, I'm sitting in the shade of a tree on the lawn of the kibbutz, and considering opening a Goldstar beer.  Now that the day's work is done, I'm looking forward to some reading and maybe even a nap!

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