If your winter was anything like mine, it was a wonderful thing. In fact, I'll willingly claim that my hometown didn't have a REAL winter -- not when we had more than a week of 80 degree weather in the middle of March.
Naturally, the sun and warm temperatures turned my thoughts to Ashkelon as I was reminded of two of the many reasons I love what I do.
You might say that the strange weather also reminded me of Ashkelon as we enjoyed some unusual weather of our own last summer. I don't remember ever seeing the fog roll in as it did last summer when we would have been un- surprised to see zombies or some other fantastical creature come wandering out of the mist. Fortunately, no such creature arrived to wreck havoc on our work but we did enjoy the strangeness of the moment.
So, you've submitted your paperwork and are wondering what you got yourself into? We'll get into that over the next few weeks. It starts with a first rate field school, which provides students with in-depth training and education in archaeological method and theory as well as the history and archaeology of Ashkelon and the Near East, and it continues with fun, a key component in any worthwhile education experience. Finally, it ends with a summer's worth of memories that might warm your bones on a cold winter's day or maybe make you the most interesting person on Facebook -- for a second or two -- or perhaps, as it did for some of us still working at Ashkelon -- change your career goals.
Okay, on with the reading suggestions. This time I am going old school. So old school some of you might read this and roll your eyes but I have to do it. Today I'm going with Agatha Christie. If I want a fast read and one that makes me think of the Near East, she has three that stand out; They Came to Baghdad, Murder in Mesopotamia and, of course, Death on the Nile. Another reason to think Agatha Christie? The American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, which has featured in at least one movie adaptation of a Christie book, and its timelessness. The hotel is worth a visit if for no other reason then to peruse its Guest Book which contains the signatures of a veritable who's who of visitors to Jerusalem. It's brunch is pretty good too.
I have my plane ticket. Do you have yours?