And So It Ends

You will surely be forgiven if you have wondered what happened to us.  Did we succumb, after three days of sweeping dirt to make it "clean," to an incurable desire to sweep?  Are we wandering around Israel looking for piles of dirt to make tidy?  Or perhaps, just perhaps, did we get inside the drain and dig our way to Ashdod?  (Don't worry Grid 47 volunteers, we did not, and I repeat, DID NOT, get in the drain.  Maybe we just thought, "Good riddance" as we watched all of our faithful minions make their way home.  No and no and no. 

The fault is all mine, as is the delay.  I'm sure, since most of your loved ones are home by now, that you have heard how crazy the last week was and, I can confirm that it was just that, crazy busy.  Things have calmed down now, my report is in and I'm free to write one last blog from Israel.

As many of you know, the last week was a cleaning frenzy as we swept, sandbagged, gardened and prepped our areas for their big moment.




Here you can see Grid 47, all ready to go.  The best part about our week of cleaning?  The volunteers had to clean everythng -- even the areas we didn't excavate in this summer!






The balloon came last Saturday to take our final grid photos.  And no, you may not go for a ride!






Athough... It would be pretty cool if you could!














After photos, it was time to make sure that all the grids were prepared for winter.







Josh and Wylie prepare Grid 38 for a long, long, long winter.  Remember, here, every mudbrick is sacred.












It wasn't all shut down the last week though.  This summer we had a group of students from Hebrew University working with us.  They had the privilege -- and good luck -- to dig a little longer than everybody else.  This summer they helped us to investigate the medieval fortifications of the city.  The first area they dug on the North Tel, they hit paydirt almost immediately.  Except, they didn't find Medieval ramparts as they hoped but rather, an MBII mudbrick glacis.  And if that wasn't bad enough, right next to it was a Philistine Tower.

So, it was off to the Jerusalem Gate, where things got interesting, very, very, quickly.












You never know what the dirt is going to reveal.  On this day, Philip and his crew were in for some surprises.  Nothing was exactly where it was supposed to be, but it all proved to be very, very interesting.











And sometimes, the most exciting discovery of the season is made on the very last day of digging...  Yes, that is an arch.  Any guesses?





It was a great season!  We owe a debt of gratitude and a big "thank you everyone" to our volunteers who worked tirelessly -- Alabama John, you feeling okay? -- to make our season a success.  "We appreciate you" as one of our favorite staff members would say if you were here now.

Don't give up on the blog.  It may be less frequent but we'll keep posting throughout the year.  Some of you we may never see again, some of you have already promised you'll be back!  Either way, we enjoyed getting to know you this summer.

Have a good year!