This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post about Daniel Falk’s adventure at a desert cave in Israel. Falk and two colleagues, all experts on the Dead Sea Scrolls, were invited to join an archaeological dig there for a few days.
Last night Falk sent us these video clips from his visits to the cave.
First, getting there: After using mountaineering gear to clamber up the side of the bluff, he had to work his way sideways to reach the cave, which is just visible near the end of the clip. You’ll hear him say hello to a person in a green shirt who is sitting at the edge of the cave.
Continue reading Video from the Dead Sea
[Penn State scholar Daniel Falk got the chance of a lifetime last week, when he, Martin Abegg (emeritus professor from Trinity Western University), and Alison Schofield (from the University of Denver) were invited to join an archaeological expedition to a cave in a high bluff near the Dead Sea. Falk and his colleagues, all experts in the translation and interpretation of scroll texts, were recently chosen to edit a new, 15-volume critical edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls. They are in Israel now to study fragments of scrolls that were found in similar caves decades ago. The chance to perhaps discover more fragments (and play at being Indiana Jones for a few days) was too good to pass up. Here are some of Falk’s updates from the site. All photos courtesy of Daniel Falk.]
[Also see our follow-up post featuring video clips from the expediton.]
May 31. Off today to join the team excavating in the Cave of Skulls in the Judean Desert, with Alison Schofield and Martin Abegg.
The hope of the excavation is to find some more Dead Sea Scrolls, or at least to make sure nothing has been left there. Some small fragments were found recently by looters. The cave is about 80 meters from the top of the cliff, and c. 250 m above the base of the wadi.
Continue reading Live, from the Dead Sea
Sitting in the lobby of the Renaissance Hotel in Tel Aviv (on points) and watching all the American tourists, it strikes me that they are probably looking at me as well, because I’ve been here for more than two hours already and will probably sit here for another three before I head to the airport. Flights to the U.S. typically leave at 11:00 p.m. or midnight and I had to check out at noon. But the reality is, I’m not wearing plaid or Bermuda shorts or a fanny pack logoed Hard Rock Café. I look like a local in a skirt and blouse and so I look out of place. Continue reading Season’s End
Today, students and staff placed 2,500 sandbags around the excavations at Tel Akko to protect them over the winter. All the pottery is washed, although not all is catalogued and recorded. The field season for Total Archaeology @ Tel Akko is over. Well, at least in the field. Some staff will remain next week to finish up paperwork and a few more the following week in Haifa to tie up loose ends and complete some of the computer work.
I did not have to place sandbags today, which is a good thing as it is hot and very dirty work. Instead, I was editing some student blog posts and creating a video of some of the students. While all admit that sometimes this is really hard work, most of them loved it, even if they wouldn’t do it again.
Trips to museums, shrines and Neandertal caves notwithstanding, what we are doing as part of Total Archaeology at Tel Akko, a joint project of Penn State and the University of Haifa, is archaeology plain and not so simple. We dig, screen dirt, record locations, analyze whatever we find and try to piece together what the site looked like during the Persian, Hellenistic, Phonecian or Canaanite times. We find artifacts that might tell us what people then were doing, where they did it and how. And perhaps someday we will be able to understand it all. For now, a simple glimpse of life at Tel Akko.