You have had lots of time to think about it and now the much awaited answer to our last What in The World!? Meg, the microarchaeologist here in Ashkelon, shares one part of her job and in doing so reveals what this weeks What in the World is! 

Junior Archaeology Assignment:  In your log book draw pictures of other plants you think Meg might find pieces of when looking under her microscope.

Question of the Day: Why is it important for archaeologists to look at the diet of people living in ancient Ashkelon? 

Remember to e-mail me your pictures and ideas at Looking forward to hearing from you!

What in the World?

Today’s what in the world is a tricky one!  There is a specialist who works on our excavation who looks at things like this on a daily basis.  What do you think it is? Who do the think the specialist is who looks at this? Post your ideas below or email me at!

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Strike a Pose!

Did you know many of the artifacts we find here in Ashkelon are photographed and drawn?! Photographing and drawing the objects we find is an important step in understanding what is on the object, how it is shaped, and what other items we have found are similar to it. All of her photographs are put into our computer system so at any time we can look up photos and information about what has been found. It's like Google but for our Ashkelon excavation!

Our dig photographer, Melissa, takes photos of these small objects in her hotel room here. She has created a little studio in there and invited us in to take a look at how she does this part of her job.  

Junior Archaeology Assignment: Can you set up a photo shoot like Melissa does? Some things to think of: 

1. Choose an object

2. Make sure you have good light

3. Ask your parents to allow to or help you to use their camera! 

4. Set a scale next to the object so we know how big it is. This can be a ruler or a coin or anything that has a standard size. 

5. Shoot! Don't forget to shoot the different sides of the object! 

6. E-mail me your photos at

Question of the day: What would happen if Melissa didn't use a scale (ruler) when photographing objects?  What other sorts of things do you think Melissa photographs during the day?

Special Event

A couple of weeks ago we held a special event here in Ashkelon. It is called the finds display. On this exciting evening we display all of the beautiful artifacts we have found throughut the season.  Here is a video of the curators of the event, Jessica and Megan, sharing how they planned the evening and some of their favorite items.


Junior Archaeology Assignment: Can you curate a "museum" at your house? Pick a theme for your museum (stuffed animals, things you found in nature, or items that are blue- for example!) and then organize your items in a way that makes sense. Be sure to create labels for your items and then invite people to view your museum.  Be sure to take a picture and send it to me at

Question of the Day: Why do you think it is important for us to have the finds display? What can we learn by having all of the artifacts in one spot at the same time?


Toady's video is from Kate and highlights one of the ways people made purchases in ancient Ashkelon.  Paper money and coins have not always been used to buy things, and in ancient Ashkelon items were given a certain weight and if you wanted to purchase the item you had to pay using the correct weight of gold, silver, or other material.  Check it out!

Junior Archaeology Assignment: Today I want to you to make a balance scale like the ones used in Ashkelon! Here are the instructions.   Be sure to take a photo and send it to me.  You could also set up a little store and instead of using coins and paper money, set your prices in weight and have your customers pay you in beans!

Question of the Day: What sorts of items do you think people in ancient Ashkelon purchased? How were these items packaged?

Post your ideas below in the comments section. You can also e-mail me at I love to see what you are up to so, please send photos!

What in the World Answer!

Hi all! Thanks for your great guesses regarding our what in the world object.  I think you will all be surprised by what zooarchaeologist Paula has to say about it in the video below.  In addition to identifying our what in the world object at the end of the video, Paula also wanted to share some of her favorite bone handles we have found here in Ashkelon.


Junior Archaeologist Assignment:  Paula shared all sorts of different handles with us today. In your log book draw pictures of handles in your house. Are the handles from your bathroom similar to those in your kitchen? Are there any rooms in our house that have no objects with handles? You can photograph your objects with handles or your drawings and send them to me at! I would love to see what you are up to!

Question of the Day: We saw many handles but none of the knives and implements that were attached to the end. What do you think happened to the items that were at the end of the handles? 

Please send me your ideas at or you can comment below! 

What in the World?

Today's what in the world is from our zooarchaeologist, Paula.  Remember, zooarchaeologists focus on the the animal related (bones!) items we find.  What do you think this item is? What do you think it was used for? What do you think it was made of?

Remember, you can put your ideas below in the comments section or you can send me an e-mail at


Map Makers

Did you know that we have map makers here on the dig in Ashkelon? These map makers help the archaeologist keep track of what they are finding and where they are finding it. Take a look at this video of Ben, a GIS Technician (Map Maker), as he explains how he makes maps of what we are finding here in Ashkelon.

Junior Archaeology Assignment: In your log book make a map of a room or outside space at your house. Like Ben, try and use the shapes of the objects to represent them on your map. For example, a bush could be a circle or your bed a rectangle. Send me a picture of your map (, and I will share it with all of our friends here on the kids blog.

Question of the Day: Why are maps important in understanding Ashkelon? What do you think archaeologists did before using computers to make maps? 

Remember you can send me your thoughts, ideas, and questions at or post them below!

Meet Adam!


Today instead of posting a new video for you, I am going to direct you to the web-site of the Harvard Semitic Museum. Adam Aja is the assistant director of the dig here in Ashkelon, and he is also the curator of the Semitic Museum.  He is posting short little videos about cool finds in Ashkelon, as well as day to day life on the dig.  He focuses on the Philistine occupation here in Ashkelon, and he provides lots of neat information on the Philistine people.


Junior Archaeology Assignment: I want you to watch 2 videos from the Harvard website. The first video is about a lion handle we found in Grid 51. The link for it is HERE.

The second video is about a blade, a coin, and a comb found in Grid 44. The link for it is HERE

Can you find any items like these in your home? Draw the objects you saw in the videos in your log book and draw items in your home next to them. You could also take pictures of objects and send them to me at 

Question of the Day: Are there any items you have in your home that we don't have not found in ancient Ashkelon?

Please send your photos, thoughts, and questions to me at or you can post your comments below! 


Today I am sharing another great video from Paula, our zooarchaeologist.  This video looks at the variety of bone dolls that have been found here in Ashkelon.

Junior Archaeology Assignment: Look around your bedroom and other places you keep your toys. Do you have any toys that are carved? They probably won't be carved out of bone, but do you have some that are carved wood?  Draw those toys in your log book. If you want to send me a photo at I would love to see them!


Question of the day: Who do you think these dolls were for? Did children play with them or were they for adults and decoration in the home? If they were for children, what sorts of things do you think they did with the dolls?

Remember to post your comments below or e-mail them to me at


We found something I had never seen before in Grid 51 today! I sat down with archaeologist Kate this afternoon to tell me more about it. Check it out:

Junior Archaeologist Assignment:  Archaeologist Kate talked about how the lekythos came from Greece; it was imported to Ashkelon. Importing means things move from one place into another. We import many objects we use each day from different countries.

Today, in your archaeology log book, find 5 objects in your home and record where they are from. Try and find objects from different rooms in your home; be sure to check out your fruit and vegetables!

**BONUS: With a parent find the countries your objects were imported from on this MAP

Question of the Day:  What other countries/cities might have had items imported to ancient Ashkelon? Here is a MAP for you to look at.  Ashkelon is not on this map, but if you find Gaza Strip that is near where Ashkelon is located.

Post your comments below or e-mail me your ideas and photos at

Bowl Lamp Bowl!

The answer to yesterday's What in the World?!'s a bowl-lamp-bowl. Check it out!

Junior Archaeology Assignment: Can you create a bowl-lamp-bowl using objects in your house? If you don't have a small lamp what other light producing object could you put in the bowl? Take a picture of it and send it to me at!

Question of the Day: Why do you think people in ancient Ashkelon buried bowl-lamp-bowls under their buildings?  

You can post your ideas below in the comments section or you can e-mail me at  

What in the World?

This spring I partnered with Dr. Tracy Hoffman and other archaeologists in Ashkelon to create a program we called Skype with an Archaeologist . 6 classes, 180 students, had the opportunity to participate in weekly video phone calls with archaeologists here in Ashkelon.  One of their favorite activities to do was What in the World?. In this activity we shared photos of objects found in Ashkelon and the students had to guess what the objects were, and then the archaeologists shared information about the object.  We  will be continuing our What in the World?! over the summer. Here is a photo of our first object:


Junior Archaeology Assignment: Draw what you see in your archaeology log book. Have you seen anything like this before? Do you have anything like this at your home or in your community? 

Question of the Day: How do you think archaeologists would go about trying to determine what this object was and it's purpose?

Post your thoughts in the comments section below! You can also e-mail me your ideas and/or photos of your log book drawings to 



Over the last year I have been collecting archaeology video/topic ideas from children and teachers across the United States.   An overwhelming number of you requested videos from our awesome zooarchaeologist Paula. You all wanted bone videos. Well, friends, I give you the first in a series of videos about items found in Ashkelon that were made from bone.  This video is on game pieces that have been found in Israel. I think you will be surprised how familiar they are!

Junior Archaeology Assignment:  Look around your home for game pieces that are similar to ones Paula showed us.  Draw them in your archaeology log book.  Here is a link so you can make your own die.  Can you make the opposite sides of your die add up to 7? Can you decorate it to represent you and your interests? 

Question of the Day: Can you think of any other games that people in ancient Ashkelon might have played? Remember, not all games have "pieces" to them for us to find.

E-mail me your dice photos and drawings at I love to hear your thoughts, wonders, and questions so, post them in the comments section below. 



Archaeology Field Tools

Earlier in the week I shared that I had the opportunity to work on excavating a floor in Grid 51. One of your Junior Archaeology tasks was to draw pictures of tools you think archaeologists use.  Well friends, pull out your log books and watch this video to see if you had any of these tools recorded.  The first video looks at a few large tools that archaeologists in Ashkelon use and the second video shows some of the small tools we use here.

Junior Archaeology Assignment:  Look around your home, do you have anything that is similar to the tools we use in archaeology in Ashkelon? Ask a parent if you can try using one of the tools in your sandbox or garden. Have them take a picture and send it to me at!

Question of the Day: How do you think archaeologists know when to switch from using a big tool to excavate an area to a small tool? Remember, archaeologists "read the dirt" so, what might they see?

Remember to post your thoughts, questions, and comments in the comments section below. You can also e-mail me at I love to hear from you!

Annabel's Answer

A couple of days ago Annabel read on the blog that I was excavating a floor area and found a collection of shells.  She was curious how the shells got there. What a great questions! Here is a video answer for Annabel and you, too!

Junior Archaeology Assignment:  In the video I talk about how archaeologist do not always know the answers to every  question.  They can make predictions, though, based on what they know. For example, I stated in the video the place we are digging is near the Mediterranean Sea. In your archaeology log book can you make a prediction as to why someone in Ancient Ashkelon might have had shells on their floor? Remember, we don't know what happened above the floor- it may be a house or a working space. 

Question of the Day: What additional information might help the archaeologists know what the shells were for? In other words, what sorts of artifacts or structures might we find that may give us more information about the shells?

Remember to post your questions, comments, and thoughts in the comments section below. You can also e-mail them to me (along with your pictures/drawings!) at

Do you excavate in the desert?

This year, in addition to showing you cool artifacts we are finding, I will also be answering questions sent in to me from children during the last year. Our first question is from a student in Ms. Simon's 3rd grade class in Chicago:

Do you excavate in the desert? 

Hi Ms. Simon's class! While there is desert in Israel, we are not excavating in the kind of desert I think you are thinking of, lots of sand and no water to be seen. There is sand where we are, but we are actually in the Ashkelon National Park.  In the national park there are trees and plants, animals, and a beach as it is right on the Mediterranean Sea. While we are excavating people from around Israel come to the park to camp, swim, and explore.  Sometimes they stop to watch us and ask questions about what we are doing.

In addition to maintaining the park and preserving our excavation sites, the park rangers in Ashkelon also help with animal rescue and rehabilitation. Because we are right by the sea, there is a Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation center nearby that helps injured sea turtles. Today we had the opportunity to be part of a very special event with them. 2 injured turtles who were rehabilitated were released back into the sea today and we got to watch! Here is video of the second turtle making it to the water. It was very exciting and lots of people came out to watch.

Junior Archaeology Assignment:  Draw a picture of what you think the national park we are in looks like. Remember to include both park features and excavation site features. 

Question of the day: Why do you think our dig site is part of a national park? Have you ever visited a National Park? 


Remember to send me your pictures, ideas, and questions at or you can post them in the comments section right under this post!

Howdy Hamilton!

Well my dig season is officially underway! Today I spent the whole day searching for floors! Like archaeologist Kate said yesterday, we aren't looking for mud brick anymore. Instead, the floors today were beaten earth (dirt) and they had a shell layer on them. My job was to use a patiche (a small pick axe) to carefully remove dirt on top the floor to expose (show) the shell layer and floor.  It was tricky work!

For those students who are at Hamilton School in Chicago, archaeologist Tracy has a special announcement for you! Watch here:

Junior Archaeology Assignment: In your archaeology log book, draw pictures of other tools you think archaeologists use? Remember, we have to move objects as big as walls and as tiny as beads.

Question of the day:  Why do you think the floors in Grid 51 have changed from mud bricks to beaten earth (just dirt)? 

Remember to post your comments in the comments section or you can e-mail your thoughts and pictures to me at 

Welcome to Ashkelon!

Greetings! I have officially landed in Israel and made my way to Ashkelon.  Today was a busy day of videoing and gearing up for excavation tomorrow.  I spent some time talking with Archaeologist Kate about the season so far and what we might find in the coming weeks. Check it out!

Junior Archaeology Assignment: 

In front of Kate you see her iPad. Kate records all sorts of information about what is being found in the field, where it is being found, and other notes about artifact and things she sees.  Your job today is to find a notebook to use as your archaeologist log book throughout the summer.  In your log book you can draw/write your thoughts about our question of the day and observations you make while watching our videos. Remember, all great archaeologists record what they see! 

Question of the day: 

Kate said that so far they have found all sorts of things including puppies and an ivory handle. What other sorts of artifacts do you think we will find this year? 

Post your answers in the comments section. Remember, Hamilton students, anyone who participates in the blog gets to join Archaeologist Tracy for an archaeology party at the beginning of the school year!