Thursday, April 4, 2013

Our Last Day: Lingering impressions and lots to tell!

Our last day we packed in a tour of the Western Wall Tunnels archeological findings at the Kotel and a trip to Beit Guvrin where we participated in a REAL archeological dig at Dig for the Day.
We began early  with a visit to the Kotel and we  put all the prayers from Lakeside in the Wall.  Many people commented on feeling touched to be at the Wall, it was not necessarily a religious connection but perhaps a historical or community ties.
Then we headed to the tunnel excavations; it is amazing to see what they keep uncovering.  I was there 7 years ago and they are STILL uncovering more finds.  Our group was surprised to learn that the actual Kotel is only a small part of the original wall of the either the first or second temple.  The original wall is much deeper as the city of Jerusalem is like a Tel, one layer of the city on top of another.

Looking down at the group, in an underground garbage dump from 138 BCE
After getting back on the bus we headed south to Beit Guvrin and then began our dig for a day.  Archeologist Ian Stern gave us a short talk and soon we were digging and finding shards of pottery and bones that had not been touched since 176 BCE or during the Hasmonean dynasty. The site of this dig is actually a garbage dump from this period.  We know some Jews lived there and over the past 30 years volunteers like us have found bits of a Ketubah, marriage contract, and other shards of pottery with biblical Hebrew script.

We all found something and enjoyed digging and then shaking out what we had dug up to make sure we had not missed anything.
Ian, archeologist from Dig for a Day
Shaking out the dust and finding even more
from our dig

Our last night we had a festive meal at Olive and Fish and I think I'll save our final farewells for ONE more post.