Journey to the Bottom of a Square

     During our first full day at the archaeological site of Omrit we were given our squares and the names of who we would be digging with. I had come out to Israel with three other students, but I assumed I would not be placed with any of them since the directors would want the students from different schools to get to know each other and what better place to get to know each other than in a trench. This made me somewhat anxious but, of course, I went along with it.

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     My square, like every other square on site, had a total of five people that would be digging in it. For my square this included a supervisor named Kevin, an assistant supervisor Richard, and three undergraduates named Melody, Amanda, and Rafael (myself). Our square was called J22 and it was the farthest point on the site. The hope was that digging here would give answers to what this area was used for as well as its relation with the square next to it. Unlike other squares we would not be digging in a 5×5 meter trench since we had architectural walls on all four sides so we conformed to the area that the walls set out. After getting some explanation of these things we began our dig.

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     The process of digging a square is fairly simple. We need to dig downward until we reach bedrock, which in this Israel tends to be Basalt. Along the way we keep an eye out for changes in dirt which includes things like varying amounts of sand, silt, and clay as well as the amount of rocks, pebbles, and boulders that make-up the dirt. A change in color should also be looked out for in addition to things lying hidden in the dirt that came from ancient civilizations. With all this in mind my group journeyed to the bottom of the square.

     This journey to the bottom was filled with a lot of sarcasm and good humor towards the fact that our square had signs that it was either a rubble or tumble pile at some point in history. This theory came from the fact that there was a layer of large rocks and boulders we struck with pickaxes and removed with muscle and sweat. Because of that we got to know each other very well. We began to joke around with each other in the same way that old friends do. We spoke with bad French accents some afternoons, made-fun of each other non-stop, and made never ending rock puns. This good humor made it possible for us to dig to the Basalt in about a week and a half.  After this we were given another square, L18. This new square is closer to the center of the site and I am looking forward to working on this trench with my group. They as well as my directors have made this a wonderful learning experience that I would recommend to all students.

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