The idea of getting up at 03.45 seemed preposterous before going to sleep last night and, after becoming a reality this morning, it appeared also to be unethical. Still, if that's what it took to be an archaeologist then I was up for it - and being up for it was what it was all about at that time of the morning. On board the coach at 04.30, we set off for Tel Beth-Shemesh when most sensible people were still fast asleep in their beds.
|The sun rising (long after we|
had done the same)
|The site as we found it, overlooking the Sorek Valley|
The process of cleaning up also revealed a number of pottery sherds which were later washed and briefly examined before being discarded. As these were all coming from the debris being cleaned up from the past two winters - the 'winter wash' - they were of little value to the archaeological process. For pieces to have significance, they must generally be found within the context in which they have lain undisturbed throughout the centuries.
At around half past the hour of eight, everyone stopped work and made their way back up to the breakfast shade where we were to eat ... breakfast. Technically speaking my fast had already been broken by the two slices of bread and Marmite I had consumed along with a cup of tea before leaving the kibbutz four hours earlier. The idea of a second breakfast seems as obsolete as the notion of secondary first aid, but it was more welcome.
|The Iron Age I seal|
At about one o'clock, eight hours after arriving on site, we departed to the kibbutz, in the same manner whence we had come, and to luncheon. If I had had concerns about the quality or quantity of food to be provided during our stay, all fears were allayed. Both were more than ample and a real treat to consume. The afternoon was relatively quiet, though I was warned that this would not be the norm from the morrow on.
|A light supper|
Supper followed - a more simple spread than we had earlier, but quite sufficient - and was served outside in the pleasant evening sun. As unaccustomed as I am to retiring for night before midnight, it did seem appropriate to do so in light of the impending alarm!