This is it! The contest is winding down. Get your entries in today for your chance to win fame and glory. Granted, it isn't a $540 million dollar jackpot but who needs that much money when the volunteers of Ashkelon praise you finding a way to explore the city's sewer system?
The winner will be announced May 1st!
On to other matters. The deadline for volunteer applications is fast approaching. This promises to be a fabulous season with work continuing in all three of our main excavation areas: Grids 38, 47 and 51. In Grid 38 work will again focus on the Philistines and the excavation of domestic architecture. In Grid 47 we will continue exposing the full dimensions of a Roman period odeon. And in Grid 51 work will focus on domestic structures of the Persian and Hellenistic periods as the grid moves ever closer to the 604 B.C.E. destruction of Ashkelon.
The Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon is a teaching expedition where students get practical experience with the theory, methodology and technology of a modern archaeological excavation. In addition to the learning that goes on in the field, students have the opportunity to attend evening lectures by the professional staff of the excavation as well as visiting archaeologists from all over Israel. We also offer a one day seminar day where volunteers participate in walking tours of the site as well as seminars on petrography, metals anaylsis, mircoachaeology, zooarchaeology and more. It really is a wonderful opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the field of archaeology. Want academic credit for all your learning? Consider participating in Harvard's Summer School Program. There is a little more work involved but it is well worth it.
There are still a few more weeks to apply!
Finally, this week's reading recommendation. Drawing a great deal on primary sources, Daniel Sperber's The City in Roman Palestine is a fascinating look at this important period. Ashkelon is mentioned a number times from the wrestling matches held in the city to its basilicas. Ever wondered how much it would cost to buy some fish and fresh fruit for your dinner while visiting Ashkelon in the fourth century? Well, we actually know the answer to that question thanks to the remarkable survival of documents from a public official's journey from Egypt to Antioch on business. Ashkelon was on his route and what Theophanes tells us about daily life in the city in the fourth century is really fascinating. If you want to learn more, take a look at John Matthews', The Journey of Theophanes: Travel, Business, and Daily Life in the Roman East.