picture

August 3, 2009

this is a picture of a 2000 year old boat that was discovered in the Sea of Galilee.

Sea of Galilee boat

Sea of Galilee boat

Pictures!!!!

August 2, 2009

Here are some pictures I took while in Israel, so far……

❤ Julia

West Bank security wall

August 1, 2009

After our visit to the Kathisma, we walked into the West Bank to try to visit Rachel’s Tomb, the traditional burying place of the biblical matriarch.  The tomb, which used to be easily accessible, is now sealed off in the new massive security wall that separates Bethlehem (in the West Bank) from Ramat Rachel (in Israel’s pre-1967 borders).  This fact, as well as it being Shabbat, meant that we could not visit the tomb, but we did cross through the wall on foot and did some souvenir shopping on the Palestinian side.  Palestinians going through had to put their hands in a print reader, but the Israeli border police waved us through and we passed in and out of the West Bank easily.  Here are some photos of the wall; the first view is from the Israeli side; the rest are from the Palestinian side.

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Kathisma visit

August 1, 2009

Today Rachel M., Jason, Deborah, Ann and a couple other people we met here walked from Ramat Rachel to the nearby ruins of the Kathisma church.  This former octagonal-shaped church has a stone in the middle (still there) that marks where tradition holds that Mary stopped to rest during her voyage to Bethlehem (just up the road).  This church may have served as a model for the later Muslim “Dome of the Rock”, pictured on the first full entry on this blog.

Kathisma church

Kathisma church

Jason on the central rock

Jason on the central rock

Rachel M trying to lift a pillar at the Kathisma...archaeologists can't stop working!

Rachel M trying to lift a pillar at the Kathisma...archaeologists can't stop working!

In the middle, Rachel M. and Ann.  Second from right, Deborah.

In the middle, Rachel M. and Ann. Second from right, Deborah.

The Herodium in the distance from near the Kathisma

The Herodium in the distance from near the Kathisma

The Hounds at work

July 30, 2009

Here are photos of some of our participants at work on the site of Ramat Rachel.  Most of us dig in different areas apart from each other, so we can meet new people from around the world and share our experiences of different parts of the excavation.

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Julia with her latest pottery find....shoulders deep in archaeology!

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George lifting a stone...archaeology isn't all small picks and toothbrushes

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Rachel M. happily surrounded by stone and buckets

Ben thinking hard about the puzzles of ancient history

Ben thinking hard about the puzzles of ancient history

Rachel K. showing that all that soil we dig up has to go somewhere....

Rachel K. showing that all that soil we dig up has to go somewhere....

John working waaay below ground level

John working waaay below ground level

Cindy digging with the hand-pick

Cindy digging with the hand-pick

Ann showing the importance of having plenty of water

Ann showing the importance of having plenty of water

Deborah sweeping agricultural terraces from antiquity

Deborah sweeping agricultural terraces from antiquity

Alfred working in beautiful surroundings on a pleasant day at the dig.

Alfred at work with his Moravian hat

From Bethlehem to Bethlehem

July 30, 2009

We visited Bethlehem, of course!  Bethlehem is only a couple hills over from our site and easily visible, but is a world away in the West Bank behind the new security wall.   We found it interesting to learn that the hotel we stay at was concerned when they learned that there would be 21 people coming from Bethlehem, PA to participate in the dig.  To many Israelis, “Bethlehem PA” means “Bethlehem, Palestinian Authority”; so, the hotel was worried about security issues and the logistics of people going through the military checkpoint with any frequency.

Like our Bethlehem PA, the Bethlehem PA here also has stars everywhere, in their case most of the stars on houses and buildings are five-pointed with tails, like comets.   We did see some Bethlehem Stars like we have at home, which are pictured below.

We visited the modern church at Shepherd’s Fields, traditional site of the the shepherds’ receiving the information that Jesus had been born, according to the Gospel of Luke.  The highlight of our trip was the ancient Church of the Nativity, traditional site of the birth of Jesus.

Shepherd's Field Church

Shepherd's Field Church

Inside the Church of the Nativity, during a Palestinian wedding

Inside the Church of the Nativity, during a Palestinian wedding.

Leslie, James, Julia, Ben, Rachel M., Rachel K., George, Tara, John and Jason inside the Chruch of the Nativity. Behind is the exit point of the small chamber below the altar where Jesus is said to have been born.

Leslie, James, Julia, Ben, Rachel M., Rachel K., George, Tara, John and Jason inside the Chruch of the Nativity. Behind is the exit point of the small chamber below the altar where Jesus is said to have been born.

More Bethlehem stars.  These and the previous picture are from the basement of the church, where Jerome is said to have translated the Bible into Latin.  Near this point Manfred, leader of the Heidelberg participants, and Deborah led a meditation service for interested students.

Some Bethlehem stars in the church.
Bethlehem stars in the basement of the church, where Jerome is said to have translated the Bible into Latin. Near this point Manfred, leader of the Heidelberg participants, and Deborah led a meditation service for interested students.

Herod’s Tomb

July 30, 2009

Here is a photo of the tomb of King Herod “the Great” at his mountain fortress the Herodium, visible from our site.  This tomb was discovered only in the past couple years, so it was exciting for us to see it.

Herod's tomb at the Herodium

Herod's tomb at the Herodium

Visit to Caesarea

July 30, 2009

Here are some of us visiting Caesarea on the Mediterranean Sea.  Caesarea was the Roman imperial administrative capital of Judea, a little south of modern Haifa.  This was where, for example, Pontius Pilate lived and worked while overseeing Judea.  The archaeological remains there are exceptional, and the view of the sea is stunning.

Julia and Tara at the Roman palace

Julia and Tara at the Roman palace

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James and Leslie taking it easy near the Roman palace

Ben keeping the place up

Ben keeping the place up

Leslie, Julia, Tara, Cindy, and Rachel at Caesarea's beach

Leslie, Julia, Tara, Cindy, and Rachel at Caesarea's beach

A fisherman at Caesarea's ancient breakwater

A fisherman at Caesarea's ancient breakwater

First weekend

July 27, 2009

This weekend we went on two tours.  Saturday we went to Caesarea, Megiddo, and Nazareth.  All of these places were absolutely beautiful.  It was nice to get out of the hotel and tour Israel.  Then on Sunday we climbed Herodian and saw the magnificent view from there.  It was definitely a work out.  We were climbing a steep hill in the heat, but all in all it was a good time.  Then all of us Bethlehem, PA people went to Bethlehem.  We toured the Church of Nativity while two weddings were going on.  Dr. Appler and Dr. Manfred performed a nice, small church service.  The Church of Nativity is absolutely breathtaking.  After that we returned back to the hotel for dinner and our class.  Now it is the start of the second week…lots of hard work ahead…

~Julia

the dig

July 24, 2009

Today we finished our first week of digging.  It was a fun time.  Really hard work but the results you get are amazing.  We complain, but ultimately we have fun.  The rest of the day today is relaxation time!!  By the way John Black is awesome!!  Many things to come.  Tours Saturday and Sunday.  Three more weeks to go…

❤ Julia