Frist, a quick update. Yesterday, our off-day, was spent visiting the famous city of Sfat, located on a hilltop in the upper Galilee. Sfat is famous for being the seat of Kaballah (mystic Judaism) and, more recently, Jewish art. I am not a huge fan of Sfat, but I went anyway and enjoyed walking the shady courtyards and seeing the outside of the Mamluke Red Mosque, which was closed for no reason in particular. After Sfat, we had a quick visit to a half-excavated crusader fortress, and then got some delicicious Turkish style food on the banks of the Jordan River. Delicious!
Now, without further ado-- a memo from Mr. Frankl:
"Greetings from Omrit! My name is Joey Frankl (or Joey the younger to many on the dig) and I will be providing a guest entry for the blog today. This past year I was a freshman (also known as a froshduster) at Mac and declared as a Classic major in the spring.
I was extremely thankful to have the opportunity to excavate at Omrit this year with a group of almost exclusively returning students. Spending time with upperclassmen and graduates has provided great insight into the future of my academic career. From everyday banter on the dig, I have realized how much I have yet to learn in classics. But I am still young and have three more years to gain the experience of my peers at Omrit. Spending time with these veterans has also shown me the legacy of academic excellence in the Macalester Classics department. Graduates working on the dig like Joey Mayer (’11) and Ben Rubin (’01) are examples of grads that were accomplished while at Macalester, and are now successful beyond. It is my hope to continue this tradition.
Now to today! As Joey mentioned earlier, my square (Eve, Maggie, and Grace) completed our work uncovering the fresco wall in the temple complex. It was a painstaking process that included the labeling, analysis, and excavation of 17 different loci! However, for those of us who have a deep passion for balk (most of us) it was quite enjoyable. So today, we began our first full day of work on our new square N-11/N12. It is located in the area known as “the town” east of the temple complex. Today’s excavations consisted of a whole bunch of pickin’ and hoein’. It was back breaking work eased by the tasty Israeli hard candy “Must” and passionate sing-a-longs to Beatles’ songs (“Something” was particularly heart wrenching). Our team adjusted well to our environment and dealt with unforeseen obstacles (like the collapse of our shade) and difficult labor with daring courage.
At the end of the day we were still in Locus 001 having only excavated the very top layer of our square. We collected a considerable amount of pottery along with a few exciting finds: a chunk of marble and roof tiles. Despite the vicious, flesh-eating gnats, it was a beautiful day in the Galilee as sweet as a bag of chilled chocolate milk.
My time spent so far in Israel has been a dream. The combination of fantastic food, great company, and invigorating work have made the last few weeks of my life simply fantastic. I hope I can return next year and see the beautiful green hills of the Galilee for another summer!
With fond regards,