The Tel el -Far'ah newsletter
is blessed with an enthusiastic, diverse staff who will share
the digging experience from the perspective of the volunteers.
Weekly updates will share every detail of sleep deprivation,
scorpion bites, cool finds and fun travel experiences as they
occur so that readers will feel like they are here in the heat
Edgar Martin del Campo will soon begin his second year at the
Claremont School of Theology. He will be writing articles for
the newsletter and assisting with digital photography. His favorite
movie is Dune, which is particularly appropriate to the
scorching Israeli heat.
she will only be a senior at Kearns High School in Utah next
year, this is already Felina Rocha's second season of excavation.
She attributes the reason for her return to the immense amount
of fun to be had "slaving in the hot days". Felina's
extended time on the tel makes her the perfect insider to
dish the dirt on the dig staff.
knew that the best way to put her communications degree (newly
acquired from CSU Sacramento) to good use would be as a contributor
to the newsletter. She joined the dig to "have stories
to tell [her] kids", so hopefully she will have some
good ones to share with us along the way.
lists and the mantle of Tureah (as in Tidbits) will be assumed
by Alexis Di Stefano and Bevan Talbott, both seniors next
fall at Trinity College. Alexis is the self-proclaimed "smoothie
queen" and loves ripe fruit, while Bevan's obsession
with the color blue has led to the popular creation of the
shade "Bevan Blue". Look forward to a new brand
of tel humor from these two.
of pulling the articles together and making the newsletter
family-friendly falls to editor Alexis Boutin and editor-in-chief
Kim Maeyama. All complaints should be directed to them, and
all praise to the awesome writing staff. Happy reading!
Dummy's Guide to Slacking Off on Excavations*
||Get stung by a scorpion
||Sabotage the shade poles to fall down
every couple of hours
"Forget" an item and meander to the
storage bin to retrieve it
||Ask the director a question
and fake engrossment in the response
||Get locked in the porta-potty
||Ask for further demonstration
on using the pick-axe
||Take up smoking
||Offer tools you are using
to other squares: "You need this turreah, don't
||Stage scorpion fights
||Be extremely interested
in other people's finds
||Dump the wheelbarrow -
along with the dirt - over the edge of the dumping
||Make a find and bask in
the celebrity status
cucumbers and tomatoes
||The square could always
use more sweeping
||Stop drinking water to
induce dehydration sickness
course, none of us would ever actually use
There A Right Way To 'Do' Archaeology?
By: William Krieger
Behind every excavation
lies a single tricky question that occupies much of our time,
both at Tel Farah and in philosophical and archaeological
realms. Is there or has there ever been some theory behind
our work, or are we simply playing in the dirt, albeit with
much cooler toys than we had as kids?
Pre-1950, theory seems
to have been pretty low on archaeologists' priority lists.
This group of statesmen (or stateswomen), military officers,
treasure hunters, or in one case, an emperor's mother, went
to a site to find proofs of (or against) Israel's longevity,
to 'discover' holy sites, or to improve their own collections
of relics. A few 'well intentioned' archaeologists excavated
with fewer preconceptions, but many of them died without publishing
In 1950, a new archaeology was born, built on the idea that
archaeology should be treated as a science, and not merely
as a scavenger hunt. Its proponents urged that archaeology
must seek an objective, testable foundation. Unfortunately,
this theory was unable to fulfil its promises. Archaeologists
were unable to connect this new theory to field practices.
Also, the requirement of testability forced archaeologists
to abandon many important sources of data (including texts)
which could not live up to that standard.
Now that we realize that both pre-critical and new archaeology
are inadequate for our present needs. We are taking steps
to merge theory and practice in a number of interesting ways.
On one side, there is a growing dialog between archaeologists
and philosophers. These groups are now trying to understand
their own needs and limitations, as well as those endemic
to their partner's fields. Also, technology has provided some
new tools for archaeologists to work with. Computers have
been taken into the field, making it easier to measure and
record data, and new statistical models are being used to
make a number of useful predictions about pottery distribution.
So, have we finished our work, either in the field or behind
the scenes? Absolutely not. Whether we are collecting data
or deciding what that data means, we have a large task ahead
of us. However, I do believe that our continuing quest for
these answers is leading us in the right direction.
By: Edgar Martin
Before I had even learned of the local coral reefs,
what best convinced me to visit Eilat was its proximity
to several borders: Jordan to the east, the Red Sea
to the south, and Egypt to the west. From high up in
the Eilat streets, I could see two of these very well;
the Jordanian city of Aqaba stood across the Red Sea,
and still more vividly at night when all its lights
came on. But Egypt was an invisible presence throughout.
I knew it was a few miles away, but it was behind the
mountains, far from the scope of the hostel I stayed
at. However, I could not turn down the opportunity to
set foot in Egypt at least once, and so six of us agreed
to make a short trip.
By "short trip" I mean barely half an hour. This was
the last day of the Eilat weekend, and we had expected
to reach the bus by noon. At the very least, we needed
photos and we needed souvenirs, and we needed them quickly.
Sure, my single experience of Egypt was mostly a half-hour
at the borderside gift shop. Still, as soon as I stepped
past the "Welcome to Egypt" sign I was on sacred land.
This is the lands of the pharaohs and the pyramids.
It is the land of Horus and Ra, the Egyptian Book of
the Dead and the Nag Hammadi library. On reflection,
a single half-hour in this place cannot do justice to
millennia of history, not to mention one of our earliest
and longest-lived civilizations. Some day I hope to
come back and finish the tour of Egypt I started last