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A Pilgrimage with a Twist - Day 5

Day 5 started a bit slower though not in a bad way. Perhaps getting used to the overall environment has started to slow things down a bit. On the walk into this site we passed a fresh juice shop that was just opening and bought 2 12oz fresh orange juices. Of course it was so good. At about $4 each they might have been one of the more reasonably priced purchased so far. Needless to say that little diversion delayed our arrival by 10 min.

Immediately upon arrival we were notified that a tour would be provided after fruit break and that we would not be working on Thursday (Day 6) due to a national day of mourning. Both of these events were good news such that the tour would give us more opportunity to learn about this dig site, but also about how it ties to biblical history. Secondly, the day off on Thursday will be good to help prep for the flight to Rome.

After the announcement we got right to work on cleaning the plaster floor in the room we have been working in. The leaders believed that plaster floor to be an important find and wanted to document as much as possible, before breaking through it. They believed the layers below could hold artifacts from previous periods.

There were a few starts and stops, which is typical, for discussion about how to proceed, but also for the metal detector to come in in search of metal objects. Keep in mind that these objects have been in the ground for over 2000 years and most metal such as bronze coins, or iron weapons are caked with dirt and can very easily look like rocks.

As the morning progressed, Faith found a coin that was not picked up by the metal detector just a short while earlier - it was an exciting find. It should be noted, that we are not allowed to try to clean any metal objects at the site, that must be done in the lab as bronze can get brittle.

Someone in the room next to us found an intact vessel, which is thought to have been for a perfume. Very rare for it not to have been broken, especially as fragile as it is. Well over 2000 years old. So fascinating.

About this time, they asked a few people if someone could help clean pottery - no one immediately stepped up so I volunteered. This is the process of washing as much dirt from the pottery so that it may be restored, reconstructed at a later time. All broken pieces of pottery found in a certain room at a certain level are kept together, making this an easier but still difficult task.

Just before fruit break (lunch) and the tour, we needed a bucket chain. A bucket chain is the process of all the workers lining up to take all the buckets of rock and sand from the rooms. It seems this task could be described as a necessary evil. Not everyone's favorite, though it happens 2-3 times per day.

The highlight of the site tour was a bath site just South of the triple gate wall of the Old City. The bath site is determined to be during the time of Christ. It is a complex series of tunnels and aqueducts. The origin of the tunnels have not yet been found, however the site coordinator allowed Faith and I to have personal tour. Keep in mind these tunnels are more meant for water movement than people. Quit tight quarters - though Faith didn't seem to mind.

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